What REALLY happens when a person procrastinates? Their dreams, goals, projects and intentions all get pushed aside.

Procrastination and overthinking cause people Jay Shetty interacts with every day to feel frustrated, scared, or too stuck to realize their full potential. There is hope for getting out of the procrastination rut, however. People often focus on fixing the symptoms of procrastination and overthinking instead of dealing with the root of the issue. Shetty is convinced the main cause for procrastination and overthinking is the simple action of putting the cart before the horse. In a recent episode of his podcast, On Purpose, Jay Shetty tackled the root of procrastination and overthinking with a few simple frameworks. This article details these frameworks and shows how to use them to narrow down the focus of what is causing the root of procrastination, address what needs to be addressed, and move forward. 

The Procrastination Myth

Some people claim that procrastination motivates them. Others say they do better work under pressure. Jay Shetty discourages letting procrastination become a habit.

“The interesting thing about overthinking and procrastination is sometimes they can actually evolve into innovation and creativity in the short term,” he explained. “Letting an idea grow in your mind in the short term with a deadline and a plan can actually lead to innovation and creativity.” Procrastination isn’t a long-term solution, however.

“So if you're doing this for like a month, or if you're doing this for like three months, that's cool, But overthinking and procrastination in the long term can actually limit your potential,” Jay Shetty concluded. Shetty went on to describe the stress and burnout that happen when someone is constantly overthinking or coming in just under the wire. While it may seem like a rush at the moment, it is taxing to live with that stress over time. It may seem daunting to take procrastination off the table, but Shetty promises that working at it will improve your health and productivity. Like anything successful, that takes work. Building the skill and mindset to get over the procrastination hurdle will pay off. “If you can build a muscle, you can build a mindset,” he says. Keep reading to learn more about preventing procrastination by building a healthy mindset. It’s time to get to work. 

Spot the Six

The first step to nipping procrastination in the bud is identifying what you’re procrastinating over. Jay Shetty believes that when it comes to putting things off, people tend to procrastinate things that are:

  1. Boring
  2. Annoying
  3. Arduous
  4. Ambiguous
  5. Unstructured
  6. Lacking in purpose

One of these 6 things is the root of each instance of procrastination. Shetty challenged readers to go back to the root when they're having trouble shaking off procrastination. “Ask yourself,” he encouraged, “Do I find this thing boring, annoying, arduous, ambiguous, unstructured, or lacking in purpose?” The answer will help find the root of why you are dragging your feet. 

The F.E.A.R. Hold Up

Jay Shetty believes the root of procrastination and overthinking is fear. He explained four key types of fear that people experience when it comes to procrastination.

  1. Failure
  2. Expectations
  3. Abilities
  4. Regret

“We fear that we will fail,” Jay Shetty said. “We fear that it won't work. We fear that expectations are too high or too low, or we have this expectation in our mind of what it should be, and we're scared that it won't be that. We fear our abilities and doubt we have the actual skills and potential and techniques to reach people. Then we feel regret. We fear that, what if I do this, will I regret it? What if I don't do this, will I regret it?” Shetty encouraged listeners to look honestly at where their fear comes from, then tackle it. Being honest with the fear and the root of it helps confront the deeper issue and come up with a plan for how to tackle it. 

When in Doubt, Don’t Doubt Self

Jay Shetty often encounters people who are still stuck despite knowing which of the six reasons they’re struggling with and doing the work to unpack the cause of their fear. These individuals, he stated, are struggling with self-doubt. “When it comes to procrastination and overthinking, we have to overcome our self-doubt,” Jay Shetty said. “We have to go to the root.” Shetty believes one of the best ways to remove self-doubt is to simply just get started. All the planning in the world cannot totally prepare you for taking the first step, and the first step is the scariest. Shetty urged viewers to plan well, take the first step, and watch the self-doubt melt away.

Often, the best way to move forward is to get out of the way. Tackle self-doubt and watch procrastination leave with it. 

Breaking the Procrastination Pattern

Jay Shetty reminded viewers there are only four steps needed in order to break the procrastination pattern.

  • The Big Thing

“Think of one big thing you are currently procrastinating about,” Shetty prompted. “Whatever that big procrastination overthinking thing is, I want you to dive into it. When I say dive into, I mean, clear your whole weekend and spend your whole weekend thinking about this.” Face the challenge head on and be honest with yourself about it. “If you don't get obsessed about what you're overthinking about, you will keep overthinking about it because you're not facing it,” he claimed. “You're not learning about it. You're not getting personal with it.”

  • The Big Trigger

Now that the issue has been identified, it is time to go back to the first list. In that list of 6, what is the trigger? Shetty told listeners that identifying the trigger turns emotional fear into logical understanding. He provides an example from his own life. In the beginning, Jay Shetty really wrestled with the decision to create content. He knew he had to identify the trigger or he’d stay stuck.

“When I was thinking about starting to make content, why was I overthinking it?” he asked himself. “I was overthinking it because it was unstructured and ambiguous. I didn't know the path and I didn't know much about it.” Acknowledging his trigger motivated Jay to take the next step in the process to move his dream forward.

  • Understand the Trigger

The third step in breaking procrastination is to understand why this is the trigger. Understanding the “why” gives insight into how to tackle it. “Ask yourself, why is that the root?” encouraged Jay Shetty. “Why do I lack purpose with it? Oh, because I haven't found meaning in it because it doesn't make me happy. It doesn't make me excited, right? Why do I find it boring, because I haven't found the insight into it.”

  • Get Moving

The fourth step is to do the opposite of what you’re struggling with. If you struggle with the difficulty of a task, break it up into smaller chunks. If you struggle with ambiguity, educate yourself about the subject at hand.

Jay Shetty isn’t immune to procrastination himself. This was never more apparent than when he was writing his book. Following his own advice, he sat down and ran through all four steps to breaking procrastination.

“Why am I finding this difficult?” He asked himself. “It's because I don't have writing skills. Okay, let me go and get writing skills. Let me go to a writing school. Let me read books about writing.”

Step by step, Jay Shetty worked to solve his procrastination habits by taking action.

This process may not solve all your problems, but it helps narrow down the area of focus and gives a plan of attack for getting over the hump of procrastination. Often, getting started and getting over that self-doubt are the biggest hurdles of all. This can be a lonely process, but don’t get discouraged.

“The biggest mistake you can make is thinking you're the only one to go through this,” Jay Shetty said. “When you think you're the only one to go through it, there is no one who can help you and you can't help yourself.”

In those moments, hear Jay Shetty’s voice in your ear encouraging you to look your fear in the face and tackle your trigger. Work through the process of breaking down that procrastination and celebrate when you accomplish great things.

More from Jay Shetty 

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on, “6 Reasons We Overthink and the 4 Steps to Break Down Your Procrastination Pattern” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.

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