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How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Living in Messy Action. Ep. 21

What Is Procrastination?

The definition of procrastination is “the action of delaying or postponing something.” Plain and simple. No feelings or emotions attached.

But you wouldn’t just postpone or delay something for no reason, right? If your flight is delayed…there’s a reason. Maybe there aren’t enough pilots, they’re having engine troubles, they need to refuel, there are storms ahead, etc. There’s a reason your flight is delayed. It’s not delayed just for fun because the airline is terrible, right?

Same thing with us as human beings and our procrastination. There’s an underlying reason why we’re postponing or delaying something. It’s not because we’re terrible and can’t get anything done.

The Fear Behind Procrastination

Procrastination is a symptom of a fear or doubt. You’re postponing or delaying something because you’re afraid or in doubt of something.

What is that fear for you? Where is it rooted? Find out the cause of that procrastination.

Are you feeling self doubt, intimidation, self-conscious, etc. Whatever that negative fear or doubt is put a name to it so you can understand it and rationalize it.

Maybe you’re afraid nobody will care what you have to say, people will think you’re stupid, you’re going to fail, you’re going to waste your time (these are all thoughts I have with my podcast).

How Do We Procrastinate?

You procrastinate because the thing you’re avoiding is most likely new and unfamiliar to you. It’s unsafe. Your brain wants to keep you safe, it’s in your best interest to stay safe and alive.

What’s familiar and safe to you?—Is it putting things off till the last minute? Deciding to rearrange your kitchen instead of going on a blind date? Is it playing on your phone?

How you procrastinate doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re procrastinating and need to figure out why. What are you afraid of and is this fear helping or hurting you…

My personal procrastination tactic is doing a TON of research before I take action because I know I’m safe learning more, finding themes, and coming up with ideas. What’s scary is acting on those ideas I come up with. What’s safer is to gather more information to support my ideas because I know how to research and analyze. What I don’t know is if the ideas I come up with based on that research will work out. What if I waste my time, energy, and money on a failed idea?

My fear: looking like a stupid, unprepared, failure

My procrastination tactic: researching and “over-preparing” so I can’t possibly look “stupid.”

This is MY fear. This is MY procrastination tactic. It will be different for you.

Is This Fear Helpful?

Once you identify that fear or doubt that you’re hiding through procrastination, the best way to move forward is to ask yourself “Is this fear helping me move forward or is it keeping me stuck in the familiar?”

Catching that fear for why I’m procrastinating and reframing it is how you’re able to move forward.

My fear of looking like a stupid, unprepared, failure, holds me back. It paralyzes me in the preparation and planning phase when the real momentum is in the action phase.

With my fear, I need to ask myself “Amanda do you need to research for another week on this or did you have enough information last week…?” Chances are yes, I’m well researched enough to begin acting on my idea. Any more research is just procrastination at this point 9 times out of 10.

What if the idea turns out better than I hoped and my fears never came true? I would never know that unless I acted.

Making Messy Action

What we need to do is make the familiar (procrastinating), unfamiliar, and the unfamiliar (action), familiar.

Action over procrastination. Catch yourself in this fear and procrastination loop and stop it in its tracks.

You don’t need to make the procrastination mean anything about you as a person. It’s just how you’re coping with your fear. Everyone is afraid of something. It’s okay to be afraid but do you want to let that stop you from doing what you really want to do?

Does Fear Need to Hold You Back?

You’re safe in procrastinating, for sure. It’s totally normal to be afraid or doubtful when you’re trying something new and unfamiliar to you.

But in order to make a difference in your life and in others you need to wade into unsafe territories for yourself. Push yourself to where you’re uncomfortable because that’s where you grow. That’s where you make movement. Even if you fail, you learn from that failure and take something from it for the next attempt.

I don’t need to let my fear of looking like an unprepared, stupid, failure hold me back from acting on my ideas. If I fail at an idea, so what? Not every idea is a winner but I won’t know that unless I try.

Even “dumb” ideas (like the pet rock…) make millions of dollars…

Lots of people have ideas, few take action—That’s the difference I’m learning for myself. I can’t let this fear hold me back. And you can’t let your fear hold you back with procrastination.

Live in the messy action.


Figure out how you procrastinate. Which tactics do you use?

Then ask yourself “What am I afraid of…why am I putting things off with these tactics…”

THEN turn that fear upside down. Ask “What if what I feared never came true? What if things turned out better than I could’ve hoped…? Would I still procrastinate?”

Cliff Notes 🧗🏻‍♂️

Procrastination is a symptom of fear and doubt. This delaying of action is normal and everyone does it, especially when something is new and uncomfortable. The only cure to procrastination is to start living in messy action to make the uncomfortable, comfortable.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How to identify the fear behind the procrastination

  • How to flip that fear around and turn it into action

  • How to love living in messy action

Mentions in this episode:

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