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How to deal with self-sabotage and procrastination

Today I had one of those days where I was stuck firmly at procrastination station and the only route out seemed to be the express train direct to self-sabotage!! I'm sure I'm not the only one who has days like these; one day you're ticking along nicely making some progress in whatever you want to do and then all of a sudden you become stuck! Indecision, distraction and a good old dollop of imposter syndrome hit you like a tonne of bricks and you become unable to take action!

So, would you like to know what I do on days like these? Here are my top tips learnt from falling into this same trap over and over again!

1. First and foremost, have compassion for yourself

Imagine you've just met up with your bestie for a glass of vino and she tells you she's had a rubbish day - got nothing done, kept getting distracted, was so unproductive! Are you going to say to her "Well what a waste of a day, why did you do that? You should have just given yourself a kick up the bum and got on with what you needed to do!!"?? Of course you're not going to say that, you'll treat her with kindness and compassion, sympathise how frustrating that must have been, top up her glass and then maybe give her some suggestions on what might help. So why don't we treat ourselves this same way? Why do we beat ourselves up about rubbish we are! As a repeat offender of stuff like this I am no getting better at spotting this behaviour so I am able to have a bit more patience with myself. When you find yourself beating yourself up about something, stop and ask yourself "is that how I would treat my best friend?" and I bet the answer is hell, no!! So give yourself a break - we all have crappy days. Acknowledge it and remember, tomorrow is another day!

2. Question why

When we get stuck procrastinating and finding anything and everything to distract us, it's time to ask why! Now this point follows on somewhat from this week's coffee catch-up podcast episode where I talk about how our body and sub-conscious mind don't really want us to change, they would much rather we stick in the comfort of the known, so this is where the self-sabotage sneaks in! So, after this type of thing happening in my life a lot I have now become aware of the pattern this takes in my life! When I am starting to make progress with something that is going to expand or develop me in some way, for example I'm planning on taking some bold action in my business or do something outside of my comfort zone, all of a sudden I'll find something completely unrelated to distract me and I'll become completely obsessed by this other thing to the point where I couldn't possibly do anything else because I'm totally consumed by this other, completely unrelated, issue! My subconscious enjoys this because all my energy will be focused on this other thing therefore preventing me from expanding and developing. So really this procrastination and distraction is a defence mechanism!

3. Change your scene

So you've recognised that you've gone into this unhelpful state, you've shown compassion for yourself and you've thought about what your brain might be trying to protect you from. Now you can accept it but you don't have to wallow in it! The first part of this process is so key to be kind to yourself and accept this but the danger is to throw your hands up and think "oh well, this is what it is, nothing I can do about it" but think about what I said in the 'can a leopard really change its spots?' podcast episode: you have to be prepared to move through the discomfort in order to really change!

So the thing I would do now is move myself out of whatever environment I'm currently in. You body needs a complete shift so you can change your state. You're not going to be able to move out of this state of procrastination or distraction if you stay sitting in the same place, staring at the same four walls! Now I appreciate that this is sometimes tricky! If you are in the middle of your day at work, you may not be able to suddenly head out for a day on the beach or if you're at home taking care of young kids you can't simply swan off and take yourself out to lunch! But think what can you do to change your scene? Maybe you can take your lunch break early and go for a brisk walk to the local cafe or perhaps you could scoop the baby up into the buggy and go for a stroll in the park. Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, I find if I can make the biggest change in my environment I can start to shift my mindset!

Let's take today for example - I was sat at my desk pressing refresh on my email inbox every 30 seconds waiting to try and sort out something for my daughter's birthday that I had decided was going to be a big problem so I was completely incapable of completing any of the actions that I wanted to take to move my business forward! So I simply shut down my computer, got into my car, put on an interesting podcast to listen to and headed off on the school run 30 mins before I actually had to be there! So by the time I had collected my kids from school I had recognised why I was allowing myself to get so distracted and I had planned this blog post and an Instagram reel all around this subject.

So what started off as a completely unproductive day, in the end led to me being able to get out of my own head, see this situation from the outside and write this post all about it! If this ends up helping someone who has also found themselves falling into these kinds of patterns then it has all been completely worth it!! And even if it doesn't, the simple act of writing this has allowed me to completely shift mindset so that I know tomorrow will be a totally different day!!

I'd love to know if any of this resonated with you. Please let me know in the comments. Or share this with a fellow procrastinator!!

Until next time,

Rachel x

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