Powering Through Projects – Overcoming Procrastination

3 Jan
Please Note: This post was written in 2012. With 20/20 hindsight and all, my views and opinions may have changed since, so please keep that in mind as you read!

When I was younger, I used to tell myself that “I could never be self-employed. I need to be told what to do and be held accountable.”

Well, I am glad that has changed over the years. Today I could not see myself working for someone else – especially if they tried telling me what to do.

Not that having a job is bad. I know a lot of fine people who have jobs – doing what they love – and I respect that. I just know that I would not feel “free” if I wasn’t my own boss.

In other words, I have come to really love and enjoy the freedom my internet marketing business is giving me and if I had to, I would do just about anything to protect it. My lifestyle depends on it – and I’d hate to give that up.

It Can Get Challenging

There are times though when I struggle – struggle with getting things done; where I have no clear vision, motivation, or focus. This is when I start to procrastinate. I will have a number of things on my to-do list and to avoid the first thing on the list, I half-heartedly work on one from the bottom. Can you relate?

Perfect example: Recently, I had a new WordPress plugin created and everything is done for it (script, graphics, etc). I am practically ready to launch it and sell it. Before I can do that though, I need to sit down for 15 minutes and finish up a half written guide I put together and create a short 8 minute screen capture video that will walk customers through the plugin. So all in all, it might take me at most an hour to do, but I haven’t touched it for days.

In fact, the guide has been running in the background of my desktop for over a week – waiting for me to finish it.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I didn’t do anything this last week. I have been crazy busy but wasn’t focused the way I should have been to get the project done.

Negative Mental Programming

As I’m writing this, I have to think of some projects I put on my to-do list 9 months ago – and still haven’t done. I’m realizing that if I had sat down for just one week and powered through them back then, today I would be earning an extra $1500 – $2000 paychecks (no exaggeration) – every two weeks – despite me never touching those projects again.

Crazy, right? I know!

Want to know what I blame this procrastination on? Mental programming.

Here is a quick example: When I was a kid, I could not wait to start reading. When I was able to read, I read through every book we had in the house – including through my Bible a time or two. I LOVED reading – I could not read enough!

The same thing happened when I was able to put sentences together. I started writing stories, poems, etc. I loved every minute of it.

However, things changed when I was in high-school. I had to read so much trash I did not care for JUST so I would not fail the class and have to redo it the following semester. The urge to “want” to read got replaced by “I HAVE to read”.

“I often buy books because I think I will enjoy reading them, but when it comes down to it, I hate the very thought of having to read them.”

It was no different with my love for writing. Boy, I had to analyze so many poems and write so many essays with the traumatizing thought “if the teacher disagrees with my opinion, I am failing this class!” that I started to hate writing.

The System Failed Me

Maybe I am exaggerating everything a bit but I truly believe, traditional educational systems are making their students think a certain way or see things from a specific angle.

In my opinion, they box in the imagination. They are really good at preparing students to get and keep a job, but no good at teaching how to think outside the box or “how to run a business”.

Which is probably why, statistically speaking, honor students who go on to get degrees in their respective fields, tend to end up working for high-school and college dropouts. I’m not saying this to be mean or to talk down on anyone – it is just a simple statistical observation I have made over the years.

The Solution

What I am trying to get at is: subconsciously I still look at my business (occasionally) as a job – something I don’t want to do, but have to. Which is why every so often I fall into procrastination.

The interesting thing though is, once I force myself to focus on a task for 15 minutes, it all starts to come together again. From my experience and as Nike keeps reminding us, the key is to “just do it”. Once the creative juices start flowing again, don’t stop until you’re done.

It’s like an old motorbike that doesn’t want to start. Once you get the engine running, don’t let it shut off – keep it running – at least until you reach your destination.

Recovering from a long weekend? Just can’t get into the groove of things? Force yourself to concentrate. Take a couple small steps in the task at hand and before you know it you are on a roll.

If that doesn’t want to work, try the following:
Close your eyes and visualize yourself working on the dreaded project, from beginning to end. While doing so, you make sure to think positive thoughts about the project (ex: how much you enjoy working on it, etc).

If you reprogram your mind to look positively upon the project and your subconscious mind sees you completing it, you should have no problem getting started on it and seeing it through.

This may be a little deep but something to think about: Your subconscious mind does not know the difference between facts and lies. It simply responds to the information you feed it. Keep feeding it positive and empowering information and you will be amazed at what you are actually capable of accomplishing with your time.

This whole exercise might sound like a bunch of hogwash to you, but if push comes to shove, try it. It can’t hurt, can it?

How does this all tie in to procrastination? Simple. Procrastination is what happens when the subconscious mind is constantly told what it does not want to do, what it can not do, and what it should not do. By simply changing the information you are putting into your subconscious mind, you are changing the output as well.

In my case, I have started to remind myself more often that I love what I do for a living (I really do), and that I don’t have to do a single thing listed on the to-do list. Instead, I get to. I am not failing if I hold off – but I will get a lot closer to where I want to be the sooner I get them done.

When positively reinforcing my mind this way, I have no problem locking myself in a room for a week and power through a big project. I can do it – not because I have to, but because there is nothing I would rather do.

My Resolution

I have made a resolution for myself that I will be more positive about everything I do from this point forward. I have decided that once I set my mind on a project, I will power through and bring it to fruition as quickly as possible.

By delaying tasks, I give room for second thoughts – those generally do me little good. I am no procrastinator. I am the early bird who gets the worm.

In 2012, phrases like “you can’t do this” or “you have to do that” will no longer be something my mind will respond to. I am in complete control of everything I do.

It’s going to be my best year yet, and I’m hoping the same for you!

Happy New Year!

5 thoughts on “Powering Through Projects – Overcoming Procrastination

  1. Been a along time follower and customer (super products)…Just had a bout of that myself…Thanks for sharing your insightful thoughts bro…Continued Blessings in your journey!

  2. Hi Konrad,

    Excellent article.

    All this sound very familiar to me 😉 I have come to the same conclusions as you: It’s necessary to think in a positive way, specially regarding our own projects. In fact, I have stopped working for clients to concentrate on the things I think I must do to live the life I want to live. After all, we have chosen what we want to do so it’s important to organize our time AND prioritize tasks.


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