Machen MacDonald: Procrastination breakthrough |

Machen MacDonald: Procrastination breakthrough

If it were not for the last minute, nothing great would ever get done. Time exists so you don’t have to do it all at once.

There is always going to be more to do than you can do.

Do these cliches help? They may bend the frown up a bit as you ponder them, but do they really help you get things done?

Let me share three key questions that, if you can learn to answer these effectively on a regular basis, will eliminate your proclivity for procrastination. Yes, even though you may resent wallowing in procrastination, you like it compared to the alternative … being out of control.

A primary human condition is the avoidance of the sense of being out of control. When we find ourselves doing everything but what we know we should be doing, it is only because those other activities we find ourselves engaged in provide us a sense of being in control.

The moment we hit the point of not having a data point we feel we need to maintain control, we get into a mental and emotional high speed wobble.

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So, to settle down we will disengage with the project and go seek an activity to get us back in that warm womb of feeling as if we have a handle on the situation.

You know what it looks like: surfing the Web, checking Facebook, eating when you are not hungry, etc.

Keep in mind the avoidance behavior may not always be a negative. It may be that you exercise, journal, or call friends and family.

Regardless of what it is, be aware it is avoidance behavior from feeling out of control.

So, how do you get back to feeling like you are in control? Everybody has a different level of uncertainty they can tolerate. Become aware of what that is for you.

If you cannot answer these three questions at the beginning, through the process and across the finish line of a project or situation, guess what creeps in? You guessed it – procrastination.

We run a loop of these three questions thousands of times a day. We are good at asking them either consciously or unconsciously.

However, we may not be proficient at answering them in a way that will keep us progressing forward.

1. What is it?

2. What does it mean to me?

3. What do I do with it?

To breakthrough procrastination, you must be able to answer these three questions on an ongoing basis whenever something comes at you or you move along the process of getting a project done.

In order to do this effectively, you must know your values, your roles and responsibilities, and your priorities.

When you are clear on these, your decisions become much easier to best answer the three questions to keep you moving forward to completion.

Make it up, make it fun and make it happen.

Machen P. MacDonald is a certified business coach and life coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley. He can be reached at (530) 273-8000 or visit

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