What’s holding you back, slowing you down, or getting you off track?
Leaders of all kinds experience setbacks. It could be stagnation or refusal to grow. Fear of failure and not taking risks. It’s easy to get distracted and even detoured along the way.
We’ve all been there! Just about every leader has to face these challenges on their journey.
On today’s show, we’ll take a look at one of these adversaries, it’s called procrastination. And it might not be exactly what you think! It’s something that we do voluntarily to ourselves.
When we purposefully delay things that are helpful, advantageous, and even necessary, we are procrastinating. Psychologists say that this is to be considered a form of self-harm.
We’re not talking about delaying gratification for a future benefit. It’s just the opposite. Delaying something needful and helpful to your future for a perceived benefit or pleasure in the present.
This kind of thinking is twisted, and yet so easy to fall prey to. We’ve got to come to see procrastination as an enemy and not as a friend. That’s today’s show!
Grace and peace,
Chris LoCurto 0:00
What's holding you back and slowing you down? Or getting you off track, there are adversaries that get in the way of every leader's progress. Today we'll take a look at one of them, procrastination, and might just not be exactly what you think it is. That is coming up next.
Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are. Welcome to the show, folks. I hope you're having a fabulous day, wherever you are. Today we're talking about something that a lot of people don't realize they experience and a lot of people do. A lot of people actually do know that they procrastinate. And we know that this is something that can absolutely set us back. We know it's something that can slow us down. And we know it's something that can get us off track. And the truth is, it's no different when it comes to the life of a leader once leadership can experience significant setbacks or even stay dormant way too long. Or even maybe even detoured. Because of procrastination, we've all been there. Here's the thing. A lot of leaders want to go to the next level. They know they want to go to the next level. And a lot of them don't know what's holding them back. So if we were to ask them, what's keeping them from breaking through that next barrier, they might have to sit and really think for a minute, some may not even be able to put their finger on it.
So on today's episode, we're going to start examining some of those obstacles, let's call them adversaries that slow progress. And today's topic is an especially stubborn one, procrastination. Now, one of the top adversaries that paralyze leaders today is putting things off until tomorrow. Let me ask you a question. Is procrastination keeping you from moving forward? Now we're about to find that out. But here's what I want you to think about if immediately you say in your mind, no, of course not. I'm constantly moving forward. You may be moving forward with every day. But do you have things that are not moving forward that are on your plate? Are there things in your leadership that are not getting accomplished that are getting delayed? If you do, then we need to dig into this a little bit more. So let's set the stage a bit. Here we are. We're talking about procrastination an old philosopher once said, while we are postponing life speeds by and that was Seneca, the modern philosopher Ferris Bueller pushed back on this idea of it.
And he said Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while you could miss it. Well, both would agree that life moves fast and it keeps going with or without you. And that's a fact. But how should we try to deal with this fact? Should we keep up with life ie stop postponing and stay current with the flow? Or should we try to slow down and enjoy it? Which approach is correct? Well, let me add one more perspective. The real-life modern philosopher Donmar Key hints at a solution with his observation. Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday. You know, the type right? The leader who was always behind on their work, delaying the inevitable, putting off important tasks. It's as if they were living and working yesterday. To sum it up, life does move fast. And like it or not, you've got to move with it. You've got to live today, not yesterday, and not put things off to tomorrow. Now with that having been said, you know, I'm a man of caveats. If you've listened to this show long enough, I have plenty of caveats. Here's the thing I want us to understand as we get into this, and we're about to dive even further into this concept of procrastination. What I am talking about or what I'm referring to, is putting off the things that you need to get to the things that you should get to now, I will tell you that I am somebody who absolutely believes that slowing down in life is a good thing. I'm not talking about procrastinating in life. I'm not talking about becoming lazy. I'm talking about not keeping up with the hustle. If you've listened to me long enough, you've heard me say that I am against this theory that your life needs has to be the hustle that you need to be running 24/7 Because there are so many important things for you to obtain in life. Now, with that being said, you've also heard me say, there are plenty of times that you do have to hustle. There are plenty of times when the ox is in the ditch, go get the ox out of the ditch, but it goes make it happen. I think if you're working, you should be busting it during your time at work. Do I think you should be working 14-hour days? No, not regularly. Do I think that there are times that that does happen? Yes, but they should be few and far between. Sometimes it's with a startup.
Sometimes again, the ox is in the ditch, and we got to go do something to get the ox out of the ditch. But do I think that shouldn't be your life? No, I do not think that should be your life. I think you should bust your butt. During your work time. I think you should do things to make work happen. And then I think you should enjoy life. I think you should love your family. I think that you should spend time, you know getting to read or, or do things that are benefiting your mind, I think you should be focusing heavily on your spiritual life. I think that should be a big part of what you do. I think your kids should actually know that you remember their names because you're around. You know, if you're one of those people who are doing the hustle, then guess what, you don't spend a lot of time with the most important people in your life. You spend time because there are people telling you that you have to go chase and rundown this, this elusive dream of this empire that you're going to build. And I'm going to tell you, if you're focusing on an empire, you're definitely not focusing on the kingdom of God. You're fighting for one or the other. You're either living for the kingdom of God, or you're living for your own empire. But you cannot No ifs ands or buts. Focus on both.
So when you hear these people that are still out there screaming about how you need to hustle, hustle, hustle, you need to be working from three o'clock in the morning until you know 12 o'clock at night. It's stupid. It's ridiculous. That is not what you need to be doing. I'm not saying again, I'm not saying there aren't times to bust it. I think every day you go to work, you should bust it. Right No matter what it is you do. Whether it is working in your job, or if there's stuff that you have to do, you know, at home or something, go bust it, why not? But if you're not enjoying and living life then what the world is at all for? So please understand, that's my caveat. That's a different thing. And truth is, we're probably going to be bringing more of that information, maybe on another podcast in the future. Another show that we may do talking about kind of living a rich life. That is not what we're talking about today. What we're talking about today is the thing you need to do the thing you're supposed to do, the thing that has to get done, and you're choosing not to do it.
So let's kind of talk about what procrastination is not to be clear. This isn't really about laziness. Well, not necessarily. It really isn't. But procrastination is a learned behavior. And it's an adversary that we can all contend with, it doesn't necessarily mean that you lack character or lack courage or lack consistency. Sometimes it's anxiety or fear. It could be mismanaging priorities, it could be a lot of different things, our approach our strategy, our habits, it could be, it could be anything. It could be not putting the big rocks in the jar. First, you've all heard that phrase of not slaying your giants early in the morning or not doing the most important tasks before the others. No matter what phrase you want to use, or what metaphor you want to use. The concept is that we're not getting to the important things we need to get to so procrastination is the action of unnecessarily and yet voluntarily delaying or postponing something despite knowing that there will be negative consequences for doing so. Yes, you heard me correctly. This is something that's unnecessary. We're not forced into it, we choose it. It's a voluntary action. And unfortunately, unfortunately, listen to me here, it becomes a habit. Now, the word procrastination originated from the Latin word procrastinate is sort is made up of the prefix Pro which means forward and crustiness meaning of tomorrow so in other words, pushing things off until tomorrow while we live in the now that today, right we're still living it doesn't mean that we stopped living it's not like by procrastinating our world came to an end. No, we are life continues. But we've pushed things off. Now it's often a learned and then habitual behavior. And this isn't just a modern problem humans have been procrastinating for millennia, right? The problem is so timeless that in fact, Greek philosophers like Socrates or Aristotle invented a word that to describe this behavior, and it is a cross via a cross it is the state of acting against your better judgment. Let that sink in for a minute. It's when you do one thing while knowing you should do something else across the aisle that manifests as procrastination, lack of self-discipline, and mismanagement of priorities and obligations. So if you haven't felt the throat punch head, because, you know, if you're listening to this show, we've all procrastinated in some way, shape, or form. And unfortunately, there's a large population out there that doesn't as a habit, I know I used to be one of them. That used to be me in my younger life. I used to procrastinate, for many, many reasons, hoping that, you know, by procrastinating, the thing would go away, or it would solve itself, or you know, it would just slowly dissipate. We've all been there. The problem is, is that there's a lot of distress that comes from procrastination, mental distress, dis ease anguish.
So here check this out. Procrastination is self-harm. That is from Dr. Pierce Steele, an author, and professor of motivational psychology at the University of Calgary his book is called the procrastination equation. When we procrastinate, we're not only aware that we're avoiding the task in question but also that doing so is probably a bad idea. And yet we do it anyways. The level of self-awareness is a key part of why procrastination makes us feel so bad. Goodness, gracious. This is why we say that procrastination is essentially irrational, says the professor of psychology at the University of Sheffield, Dr. Fuchsia, Sir Wah. Dr. Fish, I'm sorry if that is not correct. But I think that's how you say your last name. It doesn't make sense to do something you know is going to have negative consequences. The rabbit hole goes a lot deeper as well. But I'll leave you with just one more tidbit before we look at some possible solutions. According to a New York Times article, behavioral psychology research has revealed a phenomenon called time inconsistency, which helps explain why procrastination seems to pull us in despite our good intentions, time, inconsistency refers to the tendency of the human brain to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards. Now there's the distance right there, we have a tendency to believe that by pushing off the thing that's more difficult or tough, or, you know, the conversation we don't want to have or the thing that seems like we don't have enough energy to tackle it today. then our brain tells us that we have a greater reward right now, right now, immediately. Then having to deal with a future reward of having it done, and not having to worry about it. Now, I will also say this. There are a lot of folks that are believable Yeah, but if I get it done now, that just means that there's going to be something else I understand, I hear you, maybe we need to prioritize better. But understand that procrastination, with the understanding that you may have to fill that time in the future with something else, is a bad reason to procrastinate. It may mean that you need to prioritize much better. But just because you did the tough thing right now does not mean that there are going to be seven more tough things immediately after you get it done. The truth is, and I think we all know this, from one of the times that we do not procrastinate we actually knock something out, we actually feel more at ease. The reward is great on the other side of knocking something out. But our brain tells us that the immediate reward is going to be way greater. If we just push this off for a while we're going to feel much better about ourselves right now, instead. And the truth is, that's not the truth. Now, I'm not saying it's always that way.
Sometimes, you know, there are many times I have got a ton of things going on in my life right now. And sometimes I have to prioritize not doing something right now because I'm dealing with something else. Or there are other times I come off of dealing with something and I'm just white, and it's the last time for me to do something. Right. In fact, as I speak right now, I'm recording this at 5 am o'clock in the morning because I had some family issues, some family emergencies that one of my family members is dealing with, that I had to be a part of, that I had to go take care of. And it was way more important than cutting this specific episode. However, this is still very important for me to do, this is still something I need to get done. This is something that helps you help us all to understand how to grow. So it still needs to be done. So I find the time and I put it in and I get it done. I knock it out. But what if I just procrastinated cutting episodes period?
What if I didn't just do the show, and I just, you know, waited and waited and waited, then we wouldn't have a show. And we wouldn't have followers. And we wouldn't have people growing. And we wouldn't have people telling us that they've been able to grow a business just by listening to the show. We wouldn't be helping people with their lives, right? So I'm not talking, I'm not saying that there aren't things in your life, that can be more important at the moment, I completely understand I get it, make sure that you're making the right decisions. What we're talking about again, today is the choice of pushing off something today or right now. Because we feel like we'll feel better about it at the moment. And our brain tells us that that is more important right now. So we procrastinate as a form of short-term mood repair. It's self-medication, man, it is a fix. So what do we do about it? Well, procrastination is habitual. So we've got to address the habit. Number one, it starts with acknowledgment and self-awareness. If we can't be honest with ourselves and others, that were stuck in a rut, then we'll never get out of said rut, right? It's just normal. It's what we want. It feels good for the moment. So we'll keep doing it. That's a bad idea. We've got to self-examine here. Where am I avoiding things that are daunting or difficult to do? Where am I refusing to deal with the inevitable? This is something we have to be very aware of, we have got to really evaluate ourselves. We've got to really ask this question. I would say, you know, after this episode, find some time to sit down and ask yourself, Where do you procrastinate? Right now we're just focusing on leadership. But my goodness, take a look at your whole life. Where are there things that you put off, and don't get done, because you're convinced that not doing so is more important than you're convinced that not doing so is actually going to make you feel better about yourself?
Number two, we've got to get real by dealing with today. So create present rewards. Now for future goals later, create actions and routines now today that emphasize and even reward, taking control of your present reality in order in order to enjoy your future goal. What does that look like? Well, here are a few examples, simple examples. If I get out of bed now and avoid hitting the snooze button, then I'll be on time for my appointment and won't suffer the stress of running late all day. Hashtag winning. So listen, here's something that a lot of people don't understand. Every time you hit that snooze button, you're actually making yourself more tired. I learned this, jeez, 2530 years ago, probably 30 years ago, when I learned that that snooze button was actually making my day worse. And somebody taught me to put the alarm across the room. So that when I had to get up, I had to hit it. I'm up, stay up, get up, go do stuff, right? For the last almost 20 years, 15 years, probably 15 Plus, I haven't used an alarm clock. I don't use an alarm. I don't need an alarm clock. I get up. I wake up, I get going about my day. I don't have a snooze button that I have to hit. In fact, I don't stay up until crazy late either. I go to bed. Now my wife will contest that I don't go to bed when I should. I will still fight like a little baby because I don't want to go to bed. But I still got a bit of weight earlier than I used to in my younger days. Why? Because I've realized I actually have energy. I do so much better when I get quality sleep. Everybody in the world is screaming. You need better sleep, get better sleep, and yet it's something that we keep fighting. So here's the deal. If I don't get out of bed right now the alarm has gone off. I need to get out of bed if I don't. Then hashtag concert cleanses.
So if I recognize that I can do something about my waking habits, then I can actually create better habits, right? Here's another thing. If I take care of these monster tasks that I've been putting off, then I'll get it over with and be able to focus on other things and or other people who need my time and attention. If I don't tackle this task today, it's gonna keep stressing me out and sucking my energy. We've all experienced that. We all know it's so funny. We tell ourselves that, man, I don't want to do this task right now. Because it's going to be so daunting. And yet, then I still have so much other stuff to do. Man, when you knock that task out, you feel so much better. You feel so much better that you've got it done. And then the truth is, you're usually not bombarded with really difficult stuff right afterward, right? So these may just seem like baby steps, but they are steps and they are in the right direction. You're creating new patterns, courage, commitment, and consistency, these are things you're looking to create. The cool thing about baby steps is they eventually become habitual, with repetition. So learning to tackle the big tasks early on, is a healthy and energy replenishing discipline.
So get it done. Number three, put in healthy metrics and mechanisms. Yes, we need that self-knowledge we talked about in point one, right? We also need healthy rewards and incentives that help us to get unstuck and point number two, but we also need to add the metrics and mechanisms that will keep us healthy. Accountability. We use tools like Asana, team meetings, and mastermind groups, right? What are the tools that you need to put in place to keep you on track? Who are the people who kick you in the butt whenever you're behind? That's a fun place. What are the habits that you'll need to keep your priorities from slipping? The truth is, at the end of the day, you're not fooling anybody by procrastinating by not tackling what you should do today, right? However, it's very possible that you're fooling yourself. The famous physicist Richard Feynman said, the first principle is not to fool yourself, and you're the easiest person to fool. Don't let that be you. Don't put off till tomorrow, what you should be doing today. Make the choice. Get it done. Prioritize, make sure you get the right priorities, find out what the toughest things are, and usually tackle those things first, get those things knocked out. And then everything else is easier. Well, folks, that's all the time we have for today. I really hope this information has helped you. I know that this is something that a mass number of people are dealing with. And definitely, something that was a big part of my younger years. That procrastination problem is a big problem. As always, take this information, change your leadership, change your business, change your life, and join us on the next episode.