How to Stop Procrastination: The Sibling to Self Doubt

how to stop procrastination

Little Miss Procrastinator

I am a recovering procrastinator. A day wouldn’t go by that I didn’t need a moment of procrastination. I got to the point where I would procrastination if I should procrastinate.

I called it being effective. After all I was weighing up the pros and cons of whether to wake up at 8 or 9 am on a Saturday. It was what savvy people did, surely? And so on it went, I would start writing a book mostly in my head then debate over whether now was the right time for its completion. Often these debates led to me deciding now was not the time and putting it to one side. I have been writing like this in my head or on scraps of paper never successfully debating my mind down to completing any of it in the last ten years.

Until in the last year, through self-work of examining the narratives, I kept replaying. I realized what my procrastination was- self-doubt.

Procrastination 1: It is not the perfect time to write my book

Self-doubt: I am afraid this book will not be good enough.

For the past decade, I have come up with every excuse in the book to not pursue my writing. A calling I have felt within me to the point that my dad banned me from borrowing more books at the age of 12. I read with such ferocity always finding a way to get my hands on a book. I would get lost in those worlds for hours and then I would create mine. At the time I just thought this was what all little girls did, they read ten books a week and had an overactive imagination! I never thought about writing, never connected any of the dots.

My English teacher in secondary school held my doubts. When I spoke to her about wanting to expand my English and maybe consider English A levels. She told me that as English was not my first language she wasn’t confident I could score more than a pass at GCSEs. So she would not be supporting my desire to do A-Level English. So I agreed and I took a seat at the back of the classroom. Focusing on trying to catch up, presumably to my white classmates.

I ended up having one of the highest GCSEs in the school and even had an interview on the local radio.  

Procrastination 2: I am a Doctor right now not a writer

Self-doubt: I will get judged for dedicating the majority of my time to writing

When you discuss with ‘laypersons’ about your frustrations at the inadequate support and underpay of Doctors within the NHS. You sense anger or a stance which accuses you of wishing to be paid for what is a vocation and thus should be done for free. For most of us being a doctor is often our lives but we also have to treat it like a job because just like everyone else we pay bills and raise families. Priests for instance do not.

And just like others I too have dreams of continuing to serve to my fullest capacity. That is my calling, it also includes reaching children who like me were told your colour or your place of birth will ultimately limit your achievements. To do this I must be true to where my greatest strengths and passions lie. They are in writing, motivating, and counseling.

I have accomplished so much already as a Doctor for which I am humbled.  I also know I must step into my creative side to reach my fullest potential. I am no longer afraid that this means a sacrifice of being a Doctor. It just may mean an adjustment in how I practice or how much physical time I give to sitting in my clinic.

The tangled cobwebs manifested

Procrastination does a funny thing, it creates more procrastinations. From one uncertainty you spiral into a cobweb of more doubt. Before realizing that you have tangled yourself in your web of deceit.

To start my business I need to have financial abundance and my life needs to look perfect.

 For me to be rich I would have to pause starting my business but continue working and saving with no end date in mind.

And to achieve a perfect life, I had to have the perfect house, husband and kids, body oh and perfect life stories to go with that.

So hmm now is not the time to start my business! Right?

What started as harmless procrastination to not write a painful poem, that came to my heart following a trigger within a conversation. Was leading down a path to not fulfilling my dreams. Possibly robbing the world of a beautiful gift meant to be shared.

How to Stop Procrastination

Firstly acknowledge your procrastination for what they are; possible self-doubt or fear.

Only by owning this truth can you begin to break its hold on you. Then can you start to engage with your inner self that knows that now is the right time to start on that dream.

  1. Start by trusting yourself and the universe

The universe wants you to succeed. It does, it benefits it when we bring beauty and creativity into the world. So trust when you take that bold step that everything will be alright. No matter the falls, get up and try again tomorrow.

At times we have to jump and trust that we will land exactly where we need to.

  1. There are no failures only trials and errors.

I recently started to consciously articulate my model of success. Within it I realized I was most successful when I trialed and subsequently discarded what didn’t work.

Thus there are no failures, just trials that didn’t work so now it was simply time to trial the next methodology or change the hypothesis.

  1. My happiness comes first

If it makes me miserable I have no intention to continue doing it. Period. I have made this promise to myself not only with dating but also in all aspects of my life. I am responsible for how my life plays out, I am the co-writer and director. So I have only myself to blame for my misery. So I choose happiness. I am happiest when I have the autonomy, over my work, my environment, and whom I work with if possible. So I have set out to co-create the life I want. The happiness that when I look back at my life, hopefully when I am old and not so grey I will say as the great Sinatra said “I did it my way”.

  1. The antidote to procrastination is action

I recently realized a magic trick. Whenever I had an instinct to do something and procrastination set in acting upon that instinct removed the underlying fear.

Ideas that lived in my head were just that, my fantasy, and I could talk of them till I was blue but that was all it would be- talk.

So I act more now and doubtless. Not actions of an over impulsive or reckless being but rather a careful deliberation founded in excitement, faith, and an inner self compass. Which can take minutes to a few weeks at most but never one hopes, a decade!

I encourage you to action that long envisioned dream. Hunger, and yearn for it that the desire to manifest it outweighs the procrastinatory induced fear screaming we are not ready!

Act with confidence in your abilities and knowledge. Trust that tagging dream, which perhaps is the purpose you were created to achieve.

Share your procrastinations.

Or how you overcame self-doubt and fear!

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Hi! I'm Dr Jessica

I share my expertise as a Family Physician to provide you with the support and tools to a holistic lifestyle.

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