One Simple Trick to Help You Beat Procrastination Once and for All

Members of my career mentoring site know that one of my mantras is “procrastination is the physical manifestation of fear.”  The other day I saw an article on line that suggested that many people think they have a procrastination problem while they actually have an impulse problem.  The gist of the article was that we give in to our impulses – to follow a link, to check emails, to answer a phone call – and that causes us to get behind in our work.  You can see the entire article here.

I can’t argue with that.  But – whether we call it procrastination or poor impulse control the result is the same.  We end up waiting until the last minute to complete projects.  Often the quality of our work suffers as a result.

And that brings me to my point about procrastination and fear.  Following links, checking emails, answering phones the minute they ring are a great way to avoid getting things done.  I believe that in many, if not most, cases we do this because we are afraid.  Usually we’re afraid of failing.

Let’s take an example.  You have a big presentation to senior executives in your company.  It is a tremendous opportunity to shine.  However, you are not a great public speaker.  You’re nervous about how well you’ll perform.  You’re afraid of failing.

This fear shows up as you begin to put the presentation together.  You start to gather information for the talk, but find yourself following all sorts of links – even after you have the information you originally set out to find.

Whether you call this poor impulse control or procrastination the result is the same.  You don’t use your time well and you end up in a rush at the end.  This is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  You are afraid that you won’t do well in your presentation, so you act in a manner that undermines your chances of doing well.

All of this is fear driven.  I advise all of my coaching clients to be on the lookout for times when they find themselves procrastinating, or giving in to impulses.  As soon as they realize what they’re doing, I tell them to ask themselves one simple question.  “What am I afraid of here?”

The most frequent answer is failure.  Once you admit that you are afraid of failing, you can take charge of your work and stop procrastinating or giving in to your impulses.  The simple act of admitting your fear has a liberating affect.  It allows you to focus and concentrate – to avoid procrastinating and giving in to your impulses.

Try this simple trick the next time you find yourself not doing what you should be doing to move your career forward.  It works.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve. Now I’m going one step further. I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success. And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free. Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals. I hope to see you there.

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