10 Procrastination Traps to Avoid in Your Creative Agency
Read time: 6 minutes
Procrastination is a downhill slope that everyone faces at one time or another. The danger is in delaying a task because you’re not in the mood for it now, while convincing yourself you’ll be in the right mindframe later. Business Coach Roberto explains the blockers that lead to procrastination, and gives advice on what you can do about it.
The Compelling Issue – From Our Client
“Based on your experience, what are the reasons why people do not execute, and keep procrastinating? Obviously, I am one of them… Thanks” Bruno – San Francisco, CA
The Powerful Answer – From Our Coach, Roberto
When you end up not doing what you said you would, or you delay taking action on an item that has been on your to-do list for ages, it’s most likely for one of the following 10 reasons. (Be aware that some of these may be at an unconscious level until you bring attention to them):
1. Lack of Clarity on What Exactly to Do
(ie. “I can’t do it because I’m confused”)
When you have an item or a project on your list of things to do, make sure you clearly identify what the next, simple, actionable steps are. This way you will be able to move your ideas and projects forward smoothly and with more commitment.
2. Lack of Skills to Perform the Task
(ie. “I can’t do it because I’m not capable”)
It depends on the situation, but when you identify this gap, you can hire or delegate the right people for the tasks that need to be done. You can also collaborate with someone who has the necessary skills, or, if the task is not urgent, you can even choose to learn what is necessary to complete the task.
3. Lack of Clarity About the Structure of Execution
(ie. “I can’t do it because I don’t know where to start/what’s next”)
This happens when you are unsure about the exact priority, the right timing, or the deadline of an action, as well as when you’re not sure about the resources you need – like budget required, people to involve, or time needed for proper execution.
4. Benefits (Real or Perceived) Are Not Important Enough
(ie. “I’m not going to do it because I don’t care enough to do it”)
If the benefits of our actions are not valuable enough to us, we simply postpone or avoid doing those things that require our effort.
5. Costs (Real or Perceived) of Inaction Are Not Big Enough
(ie. “I’m not going to do it because nothing bad will happen if I don’t”)
Sometimes there’s no negative impact in the short term, but when you look at the inaction from the perspective of long term results, consequences may arise.
6. High Level of Comfort Where You Currently Are
(ie. “I’m not going to do it because where I am is good enough”)
If you’re always working within familiar boundaries, it prevents you from expanding your opportunities and getting things done. Sometimes you need to make your current situation unpleasant to drive you to action.
7. Lack of Belief That it is Possible
(ie. “I won’t take action because I don’t think it’s actually going to happen”)
You’ve always wanted to create a video with the intention of it going viral, but your inner voice says “forget it”.
8. Lack of Ownership
(ie. “I won’t do it because somebody else will/should do it”)
When we feel that a specific task shouldn’t have been assigned to us in the first place, or that it’s unfair that we’re responsible for it, we don’t feel like we own the task and therefore it doesn’t get done!
9. Lack of Control of the Process or Outcome
(ie. “I won’t do it because what I do won’t matter”)
We don’t want to waste energy on tasks or projects if we think that our effort (or results) will be wiped out by somebody else, or by external factors that we can’t do anything about.
10. Not Wanting to Deal With the Consequences of Succeeding
(ie. “I won’t do it because if I do get the big results I want, then I don’t know how to/don’t want to be responsible for what that will manifest in the future”)
I recently worked with the owners of a company that was not making the necessary expansions because in their mind a bigger company meant too many people to manage, no free time, and too many clients to handle. Until we worked on finding different strategies to handle their concerns about the future, they were stuck feeling a mix of confusion, fear and avoidance. Not surprisingly, the company flourished when they didn’t feel the need to keep their dreams of expansion jammed in a drawer.
Now that you’re aware of the causes of procrastination, here are the next steps:
a. Check your list of pending items that have been laying stagnant for too long
b. Go through the reasons above and identify which ones apply to you
c. Fix it! Eliminate procrastination by addressing what causes the lack of action (eg. add more clarity where it’s missing, find stronger benefits, etc.). You can go through the process by yourself, or ask for help, but make sure that at the end you feel strong about taking action on those items that are important to you.
One more thing: If you find that there are items you can’t do or don’t want to do anything about, then take this opportunity to start simplifying your life and your job: time to toss them and free your mind!
Know a friend who would find this helpful? Let them know and share this article! If you have any additional questions on this topic, or need some agency advice, feel free to email Roberto.
A former executive in the banking industry, Roberto Erario holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a Master in Corporate and Executive Coaching. He’s a Licensed Business and Life NLP Coach, a Certified Master NLP Practitioner, and he’s been training and coaching executives and business owners in Europe and North America for the last 11 years. Major past clients include the following: Accenture, Siemens, Hilton Hotels, Dun & Bradstreet, Dorchester Group and Verind – Durr Group.