Episode 328 – [PROCRASTINATION SERIES] Why Zero Procrastination Is Not The Goal

Episode 328: [PROCRASTINATION SERIES] Why Zero Procrastination Is Not The Goal

You don’t need to completely stop procrastinating in order to hit your money goals and enjoy the process of doing it. In the second episode in my procrastination series I share 7 reasons why zero procrastination is not the goal…
Procrastination is not a problem. And it’s safe to let procrastination be ok (the less shame you have about procrastinating, the less desire you’ll have to procrastinate). Tune into this episode to learn why.

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • How aiming for zero procrastination puts perfectionists in the all-or-nothing mindset
  • Why you don’t have to completely stop procrastinating in order to hit your goals
  • How NOT aiming for zero procrastination is part of becoming a non-procrastinator

PGSD is opening to new students on 27 April 2022:
The PGSD Process will get you out of your own way in your business and have you making more money more easily. The doors to Perfectionists Getting Shit Done will be opening at 6am New York time on 27 April and closing at 11:59pm New York time on 3 May 2022. To find out more about the program and be the first to know when the doors open, join the waitlist here: samlaurabrown.com/pgsd.

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As part 2 in my series on how to become a non-procrastinator, this episode is all about why zero procrastination is not the goal and what to focus on doing instead.


Hi, and welcome to another episode of The Perfectionism Project. A podcast full of perfectionism advice for entrepreneurs. My name is Sam Laura Brown, I help entrepreneurs release their perfectionism handbrake, so they can get out of their own way and build a fulfilling and profitable business. I’m the founder of the perfectionist getting shit done group coaching program, which is otherwise known as PGSD. And for even more perfectionism advice to help you with your business, you can follow me on Instagram @perfectionismproject.

In this episode, I am sharing seven reasons why zero procrastination is not the goal. So this episode is the second part in a five part series on procrastination and we are specifically talking about procrasti-working. This is when you were doing busy work when you are under working. When you’re moving on from a needle mover before it’s complete. When you are overworking, which is spending more time on a needle mover than you need to you are staying on it after it’s complete. So we are talking about how to stop doing that.

The process for that just to quickly recap what we talked about in the first episode. The process for that is to plan properly as a perfectionist, follow through with your plans 80% of the time, rest without guilt and repeat. This is the process that you will get mastery over inside PGSD. The doors to be PGSD are opening again on the 27th of April at 6am New York time, and they are closing to new students at 11:59pm on the 3rd of May. So you can go to samlaurabrown.com/pgsd to join the waitlist. Or you can go to that URL, which will be for you in the show notes. When the doors to Perfectionist Getting Shit Done open, that’s where you’ll be able to sign up.

So in the first episode, we talked about the three types of procrasti-working. And in this episode, we’re going to be talking about why zero procrastination is not the goal. When you have more awareness around procrasti-working, and how that might be one of the ways that your perfectionism handbrake has been on and you’ve been getting in your own way. It is easy for us perfectionist to get in a bit of a shame spiral about that, to feel bad to feel like we’re not doing business right, that we should know better than to procrasti-working.

And this episode is going to debunk all of that. And to really just help you feel at ease with your journey with procrasti-working. And to help you really understand why we’re not focused on never procrastinating and zero procrastination. So when it comes to procrastination, it is not a problem. It is not a problem. Procrastination is not a problem. It’s human to procrastinate. And it’s a sign that your brain is working as it should.

If you are procrastinating, your brain is doing what it needs to do, which is to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and be efficient, conserve energy, in case there’s danger. And it takes a lot of mental calories, or it takes a lot of calories for our brain to think. And so it just wants to do what’s easy. It wants to take the path of least resistance, even though we don’t like procrastinating. And we know that procrastinating isn’t helping us, we still do it because our brains are working properly. And there’s a lot of hidden benefits to procrastination.

There are dozens of conscious and subconscious reasons perfectionist procrastinate, and you don’t need to know all of them ever. It’s so easy when my interpersonal development to really get focused on I just need to get to the root of this issue and why I do this and why I’m the way I am. And I prefer instead and it’s what we’re doing so PGSD to take the approach of it’s not actually a deeply rooted belief.

It might be a belief that you’ve thought a lot of times over and over again that you started thinking when you were a child. But if you are procrasti-working today, it’s because of the thoughts you’re having today. And usually, they’re very obvious thoughts. They’re the ones we think a lot like I don’t know what to say, I don’t have enough time like all these different thoughts that are constantly running through our mind and we might say them to others. They’re not these hidden secret deeply rooted beliefs. They are instead these beliefs that we can easily spot and when you have the right tool you’re following advice that actually works for perfectionist you’re planning properly, you are able to dramatically reduce your procrasti-working.

So you don’t need to spend all this time trying to pinpoint exactly why it is to just really understand that it’s human to procrastinate. Your brain likes doing it. That’s why it keeps doing it, even though you consciously don’t want to. And in the next episode, in part three of this series, I’m going to be sharing what to do when you catch yourself procrasti-working, a really simple three step process that you can use regardless of what kind of procrasti-working it is, regardless of whether it’s busy work, whether it’s under working, whether it’s overworking, this is a process that you will be able to turn to, to help you get out of your own way. And to help you get back into a needle mover, or to identify what needle movers you may need to be focusing on in the next week.

So let’s talk about seven reasons why our goal isn’t zero procrastination. So first of all, if we are focused on absolutely no procrastination whatsoever, and if that’s this goal we’re trying to get to the that’s the ideal outcome. It really puts us into an all or nothing mindset. And if you’re familiar with how I teach perfectionism and getting out of your own way, there are five signs of perfectionism, overwhelm, procrastination, burnout, the all or nothing mindset, or, and fear of judgment.

So we perfectionists are in this all or nothing mindset quite a bit. And that manifests in a lot of different ways. And we spend a lot of time in the nothing side of the all or nothing mindset. This is why there are so many misconceptions around perfectionism that we think perfectionist people who do everything perfectly, actually perfectionist, or people who feel ashamed. They’re not perfect, and we do a lot of avoiding imperfection more than we do things perfectly.

So, for example, with health and fitness, I think most of us have been there, that you are following a workout program to a tee for three weeks, and then you completely fall off the wagon and do no workouts at all. That is an example of the all or nothing mindset. So when it comes to zero procrastination, as a goal, that is a goal that would put us in the all or nothing mindset, first of all without action. So if we think, okay, my goal this week is not to procrastinate at all, then it means that it’s very, very, very easy to ruin our plans to ruin the week, and to say things like, Oh, well, I’ve procrastinated. So fuck it, I’m just gonna let myself go ahead and do all the procrastination I want.

And then on Monday, I will start over again, and just try and be more focused and be more productive and follow through with my plans. So you can see why focusing on zero procrastination, that is actually going to turn our perfectionism handbrake on even more than it already is. We also believe if we’re in this all or nothing mindset, am I focus on zero procrastination, that if we procrastinate even a little bit, then we won’t be able to achieve our growth goal.

And this unnecessarily destroys belief in ourself, and belief in our goals. There are so many other ways that this manifests as well that we are putting ourselves in this all or nothing mindset and setting ourselves up for a whole lot of shame, which I’m going to talk about now that is the second reason why we are not focusing on zero procrastination, why it’s not the goal is because zero procrastination sets us up for a shame spiral.

So we perfectionist in the habit of shaming ourselves for doing things wrong. So as we know, perfectionism is a strategy to avoid shame. The irony being that we shame ourselves so often. And part of the reason we do this too, is it feels so comfortable to beat ourselves up and to feel behind and all these different things like we kind of just get used to those feelings and overwhelm it has become this emotional home.

And so we shame ourselves quite a lot. And if we are aiming for zero procrastination, it’s very easy to give ourselves an opportunity to beat ourselves up. And then to spend this time in a shame cycle in a shame spiral that often puts us into the nothing inside of the all or nothing mindset. So we stop taking action. Sometimes when we are feeling ashamed about it. This is when we might set a super unrealistic, tight deadline for ourselves and then beat ourselves up for not getting there, when we might over plan and put way too much on our plate and then try and live up to that and fail like sometimes, when we’re in this shame spiral around procrastinating and productivity, it can end in hustling.

And other times, it can end in us doing nothing at all. Most likely, if you’re anything like our PGSDers it is going to be a bit of both. So if you feel ashamed about procrastinating, you’re going to procrastinate more as a way to avoid those feelings, your perfectionism handbrake is going to be on even more because perfectionism is a strategy to avoid shame, including self shaming. So your procrastination habit that you have been in is only going to get harder to break.

And with that to say, it’s not hard to break now, it’s simple. There’s a process for it. That’s what this is all about. But if you are shaming yourself or judging yourself for procrastinating, it’s going to make you want to procrastinate more, and then you’re going to have more procrastination to contend with.

The next reason why zero procrastination isn’t the goal is because it stops us from creating the self image of a non-procrastinator. So in part five of this series, I’m going to be going into the three steps to become a non-procrastinator. But I want you to know now that your self image, which is a story you tell about yourself to yourself, it’s a kind of sentence that starts with I’m the kind of person who I always I never, that’s just the kind of person that I am. Those kinds of statements create a self fulfilling prophecy, and are magnetic, they pull us into acting consistently with those statements.

They feel like an observation. So if you say I’m a procrastinator, I’m really bad at procrastinating. Like I procrastinate all the time. If you’re saying those things, you have currently the self image of a procrastinator. And it means that when you stop procrastinating, here’s a great sign that you’re doing this and you’re in this and is totally okay, if that’s the case. It’s not a problem. But if you are feeling like when you’re following through with your plans, like you don’t know how long it will last before you’re not following through before you fall off the wagon, that it feels kind of weird. And you’re like, oh, I don’t know, I feel so motivated. And this isn’t normal for me, and I’m being really productive. And how long will this last and I really need to capitalize on this now.

So another sign you’re doing this is if you’re having a productive day, that you add more to your plate, because you can’t trust that you’re gonna have a productive day later on. So you’re really trying to capitalize on any motivation you have. Capitalize on any focused energy that you have. These things reinforce procrastination and procrasti-working. Because it feels so abnormal to not be procrastinating that you’re going to go back to procrastinating just so that you can be right about who you are.

That’s how we operate as humans, we always act in accordance with who we believe we are. And that’s why in the PGSD process, part of what you’ll be doing is creating a new self image for yourself. So that you can normalize being a non procrastinator. So once your actions are in alignment with being a non procrastinator, you won’t self sabotage and go back to procrastinating just so you can keep believing that you’re a procrastinator.

So, the next reason why zero procrastination is not the goal is because it stops us from seeing the progress that we have made with procrastination. This is so important I have definitely been in this experience a lot myself, is that at times when I have been focused on not procrastinating at all, especially as a teacher on this topic, it’s very easy if we had taken your topic to think I need to be perfect at that thing. So I have been at times, and thankfully not recently, but at times in periods of thinking that I need to not ever procrastinate.

And that had stopped me from seeing how much progress I had made with procrastination, and particularly how much progress I hadn’t made with following through. So I’ll be talking about that more in a second. Why we want to focus on more follow through instead of less procrastination. But when I was in this all or nothing mindset around procrastination, and I either need to do none or it’s okay. However much I do. Like it’s this idea of, well, I can ruin a week with procrastination. And if I ruin it, well, it’s already ruined. So I may as well just watch all the YouTube videos that I want to when I was in that I really didn’t get to experience annex and celebrate the progress that I had made and that when I started my business, it’s like it’s so it’s day and night, what procrastination used to look like for me and what it does now.

And I wasn’t able to celebrate that it used to take me probably 15 hours to write a blog post because I was doing so much overworking and also a lot of under working I was working on it for a little bit and then getting distracted with something, going back to it for a little bit, and then all of those things that I’ve been talking about in this series I was doing. And now yes, I will be procrastinating at times, but I’m able to identify it quickly. I’m able to get myself back into doing needle movers, I’m able to really experience showing up fully for my business, and celebrating that and celebrating what I’ve achieved and what our team has achieved and our PGSDers have achieved.

Instead of just being so focused on “Well, I’m still procrastinating”, so I haven’t made any progress at all. Again, it’s an all or nothing mindset. So we really want to be focused on following through, rather than procrastination. So this is the next reason why zero procrastination is not the goal. Zero procrastination really puts a focus on procrastination rather than following through. And we don’t want to do that because it’s much easier to stop procrastinating. When you are focusing on the things you need to do with your time. Rather than the things you shouldn’t be doing we need to avoid doing with your time.

And, for example, it’s better to focus on following through your plans 80% of the time than it is to focus on never procrastinating, it’s better to focus on as an example journaling everyday for 30 minutes, rather than focusing on avoiding having any kind of negative thought. It’s better to focus on eating healthy food, then is to focus on avoiding all junk food. Like we want to focus our energy on the positive thing that we can really have control over. It’s not that we don’t have control over whether we’re procrastinating or not. But when we’re focused on avoiding as being the goal, it’s very challenging, because it’s like, well, what do I do with my time instead? Well how do I focus my energy on avoiding, so instead, what we’re gonna focus on is the habit that we do want, which is following through with our plans 80% of the time.

So in PGSD, you’ll be planning propely as a perfectionist, again, that’s your growth goal, power planning each week, which is the Power Hour little tweaks and your weekly review. And as part of that, you’ll be getting a lot of clean rest, it’s very important that you plan your clean rest in your power hour, we have the specific steps that you go through during your power hour, so that you are really getting your perfectionist mindset on your side. If you will focusing on those things, rather than focusing on not procrastinating, it’s going to be so much easier to reduce your desire to procrastinate.

And this comes back to the self image piece, that if you are in your mind a procrastinator, you are going to have the desire to procrastinate. And you are going to need to spend a lot of time and energy managing your desire to procrastinate. So when it comes to this, this is where strategies like installing internet blockers, deleting the Instagram app of your phone, changing your environment. All of these different things are things that a procrastinator would need to do in order to focus because the procrastinator by identifying ourselves that way, our language is so powerful.

And if we think of ourselves as a procrastinator, that’s what we’re going to experience like our brain is going to dismiss every time we didn’t procrastinate and make up some kind of reason as to why that was different. And we are going to have to constantly manage this desire, rather than doing the work on our self image so that that desire is significantly reduced. And then we don’t need to block the internet. We don’t need to delete the Instagram app, because that desire isn’t there.

I love thinking about this in terms of a smoker because it’s so much. It’s so clear. When we think about if someone is a smoker, that is their identity, and you put a pack of cigarettes next to them on the table, they will be thinking about should I smoke, shouldn’t I smoke, should I smoke now, should I smoke later, this whole conversation is going on. But for me, for example, I’m a nonsmoker. If there’s a packet of cigarettes here, I’m not thinking about it. I’m not having to manage my desire. Whereas if there’s a smoker who’s trying to quit, they’re having to manage that desire but a nonsmoker isn’t.

And I know that you might think with smoking those chemicals and all those things going on that it creating the urges and whatever but all of that aside, if you identify yourself as a non procrastinator, you are not going to have to manage all of these urges and desires to procrastinate. So you’re not going to need all those quick fix strategies. You’re going to be able to focus on following through 80% of the time, resting without guilt and rinsing and repeating that over and over again. And knowing that every time that you do that you will be procrastinating less and less and less.

And so you don’t have to focus on not procrastinating. Instead, it’s much better to focus on planning properly, and then following through with those plans 80% of the time, it also just allows for the fact that we’re a human. So for example, if someone is a runner, and they don’t go running for a month, that doesn’t make them a non runner. It doesn’t make them someone who now needs to force themselves to run again, if they believe they’re a runner, then they will be pulled back to running. And I know this from experience, because I used to believe I’m not a runner. And then I did this work on running. Now I believe I’m a runner. And I find myself just saying, Okay, I’m just gonna go for a run this afternoon, without having to force myself to do it without any drama around it. If I don’t go running for a month, it’s not a problem, because I’m a runner, so I’m just pulled back into running.

Whereas when I was a non runner, in my mind, I was still doing the same things like going out and running. But I thought and I’m not a runner, I wasn’t fasted running in school, I didn’t do well in cross country and all that whole story. And so I had to force myself to go running. And then once I was running consistently, I would fall off the wagon, because that wasn’t consistent with who I believed I was.

So we want to make sure that when we’re thinking about creating the identity of a non procrastinator, which I’m gonna go into, again, in part five, that it’s not this idea that a non procrastinater is someone who never procrastinate, as I said, you can be a runner and not run for a month, that doesn’t mean you’re not a runner. So you can be a non procrastinator and then still procrastinate, but you’re following through with your plans 80% of the time, and you are staying in the self image and identity of being a non procrastinator. So because of that you won’t have to spend all this time managing your desire to procrastinate.

And so what am I up to, number six. The sixth reason I’ve kind of talked to this why procrastination, zero procrastination is not the goal is because it ignores the reality that you’re human procrastination is normal. There’s nothing wrong with you for procrastinating. And there’s so like, so many people demonize procrastination, and that if we’re doing it, we should know about it, there’s something wrong with us. And when we can just really recognize that it’s something that as humans we’re going to do. And that a lot of times when people are talking about that as well, they’re talking about those more blatant forms of procrastination, such as scrolling or watching Netflix, and then not talking about the productive procrastination, that procrasti-working, that is the kind of procrastination that most perfectionist entrepreneurs do.

It’s totally normal to have some degree of that. And as soon as we can remove any shame around that and just let it be normal, it can be kind of scary because we think if I let it be okay, that I procrasti-work, then I will want to do more of it. But the beautiful thing about it is that when you have compassion with yourself for being a human, and when you are actually allowing yourself to do that sometimes like for it to be okay not to be this big problem. You will do it less because as I said, when we’re procrastinating, we’re trying to avoid something. And when you are procrasti-working as a way to avoid doing a needle moving task or moving on to the next needle moving task.

It’s because we’re trying to avoid shame. And if we’re shaming ourselves for procrastinating, we’re going to have our perfectionism handbrake on even harder. We are going to be wanting to procrastinate so that we don’t feel the shame of being a procrastinator. And it’s just so interesting that it works like that. But if we can just let it be okay that there is going to be some procrastination, then the desire for it decreases, because we no longer need it as a coping mechanism to deal with the shame of being a procrastinator.

So the final reason I want to talk to you about in this episode is that zero procrastination, this is such an important one goes back to the all or nothing mindset I was talking about earlier. Zero procrastination isn’t necessary to achieve your goals. So going back to the PGSD process and what you need to focus on to stop procrasti-working and procrastinating. Plan properly, follow through 80% of the time, rest without guilt and repeat.

Nowhere in that is that anything about zero procrastination, it’s just not even necessary. So it’s not just that it’s okay to do it and it’s human to do it and it’s going to be along for the ride. It’s that it’s not even necessary to get to zero procrastination. Especially when it comes to procrasti-working. As you get further and further along in your business, your brain at every new level is going to think this is safe. What the fuck are we doing, we need to slow this down. And it will convince you that this new idea is something you should be focusing on. Or you have this new project, or actually, you’re hungry right now. And you don’t need to go and eat instead of finishing off this email that you are writing.

That’s all normal, your brain is going to do that at every level. That’s why when you join PGSD, you get lifetime access, because there’s going to be times where you really are focusing intently on releasing your perfectionism handbrake, and there are going to be other times where you’re not focused on that. And then you’ll go to a new level in your business, and you will have a new layer of perfectionism work to do. And during that you can be achieving your goals. And you can be enjoying your business and making really good money and having a lot of impact.

And it’s just not necessary to get to zero procrastination in order to achieve your goals. So considering that it’s going to put you in an all or nothing mindset, it’s going to set you up for a shame spiral. It’s going to create the self image of a non procrastinator if that was the goal. It’s going to stop you from seeing the progress you’ve made with procrastination. It’s going to make it harder to stop procrastination because you’re focused on not procrastinating. Rather than being focused on following through. It’s going to ignore the reality that you’re human.

If it’s not necessary to even have zero procrastination be something that we do in order to achieve our goals, then why would we focus on it? And again, I think like part of the reason we focus, we have this goal on zero procrastination is so that we have an excuse to beat ourselves up about procrastinating is so that we have an excuse to kind of go back into the procrasti-working, because while I ruin the week, and I’ve already been procrastinating, I’m already behind. So I’ll just wait till Monday. It’s so much more empowering though, to really be focused on it. I’ve said it once. 10 times I’ll say it again, to be focused on planning properly as a perfectionist, following through 80% of the time, resting without guilt, and repeating. Zero procrastination is not the goal.

So in the next episode, I’m going to be sharing what to do when you catch yourself procrasti-working. So I’m going to be going through a three step process step by step. So it’s three questions that you can ask yourself, when in the moment you notice your procrasti-working. So maybe you notice, for example, I did this a couple of weeks ago, that I was spending so much time on an email that would normally take me about half an hour to write and I’d spent about 90 minutes on it. And I caught myself doing that overworking, and it was kind of a blend of overworking and under working because I ended up not even being able to finish it and then moving on to another task.

So it was just really interesting to notice that and again, this is another reason why it’s so important not to focus on zero procrastination. It’s humans procrastinate, there’s no problem with doing it. And the less shame we have about it, the better were able to catch it. So when I noticed that I was procrasti-working, and when that was going on, I was able to after the fact during my weekly review, do this evaluation, go through these three questions and create a plan for myself. That meant that the next week when I wrote an email, I wrote the one of the best emails I’ve ever written. And it wasn’t because I was motivated. But because I had done this work to really see what was making me procrastinate, what I needed to be thinking about instead and what my plan was, I was able to really set myself up for success, and do better copywriting than I’ve ever done before and do it in less time.

And so in the next episode, I’m going to be sharing those three questions with you. So that when you notice it in the moment, or when you notice that during your weekly review, so when you’re planning, you do your Power Hour, your little tweaks throughout the week and your weekly review. So when you’re doing that weekly review, you will be reflecting on what you achieved that week, what your week actually looked like. And this is why when we are doing our little tweaks throughout the week to our digital calendar, we are changing the box or you know, the little slots to reflect what we actually did. And I like to add a little checkmark emoji, and it becomes a reflection of what actually happened with the time.

So when I’m doing my power hour I’m planning out the week for my unmotivated sleep deprived since I have a baby, my sleep deprived self. And then as I go making those edits, keeping it workable, and changing it to reflect what I actually do with that time and then any task that I aren’t getting done, I’m moving them to the next week so that when I’m doing my next power hour, I can consider if they need to be done then and work it in. And then in my weekly review, I’m looking back at what actually got done with my time.

And also having a flick back over the previous few weeks as well and seeing if there are any patterns or trends or things like that. And if there might have been procrasti-working that I didn’t notice throughout the week, and that I do notice in my weekly review, I can ask these questions, then. Again, zero, procrastination is not the goal. So it’s not like you have to catch all of the procrasti-working, and especially when you are in your first three months of power planning that it’s really important that if you’re doing this work specifically on procrasti-working, there are lots of different things you can do specific work with when it comes to power planning.

So in your first three months, you will set your growth goal, learn the power planning process, learn about clean rest, and then practice those things. And then each quarter after that you will choose something specific to focus on. So one of those options is procrastination, and other one is self image, self-trust. There are a few different options for you in PGSD that we talk about. But if you are doing this work on procrasti-working, and procrastination, even generally, then you don’t need to catch every time you’re procrasti-working or every time you’re procrastinating.

It’s just focusing on identifying one time. That’s enough, just identifying once in a week when you are procrasti-working and then going through these three questions in this three step process is enough. It’s more than enough. So I’m going to be sharing that in the next episode, then the episode after that is on why you can’t stop procrasti-working without clean rest. And then the fifth part is on how to become a non procrastinator in three simple steps.

So I hope you are enjoying this series so far. If you are take a screenshot and tag me on Instagram, I’m @perfectionismproject. You can sign up for PGSD when the doors open at 6am on the 27th of April at samlaurabrown.com/pgsd. If it is before that dates, or significantly after that day, you can go to that website to sign up for the waitlist. And that was to PGSD we’ll be closing at 11:59pm on the 3rd of May. I really want to invite you into PGSD to do this work with us to really not just intellectually understand how to stop procrasti-working and how to get out of your own way. But to practice that to have the support and the guidance along the way in the community and to be in your business doing all the things you know you need to do.

And really if you are someone who as our PGSDers who values personal development and personal growth. This is such an incredible tool for that and we would love you to join us inside PGSD. So again at samlaurabrown.com/pgsd and I will talk to you in the next episode. Bye.

If you’re ready to get out of your own way in your business, then I invite you to join us inside perfectionist getting shit done. You can find out more about the program at samlaurabrown.com/pgsd. That’s also where you can sign up. The doors will be open from the 27th of April at 6am New York time until 11:59pm New York time on the 3rd of May 2022.

Author: Sam Brown