Procrastinating? Try Answering One Question

Too often, family, friends and even clients phone me to say, “I thought I would talk to you because I have this thing that I need to do but I do not feel like working on it”.

Say What?

Initially, I started wondering…

  • Is this what I am all about?
  • Why would they say this to me?
  • When did this start?

I needed to understand whether I should feel good or bad about this.

  • One family member said that after talking to me, he usually feels motivated to work. Huh??
  • A friend said, “you are very good at making me feel guilty”. Realizing what she said, she quickly added, “in a good way…I am energized to get the job done”.
  • Finally, a client believed that after talking to me she is eager to take on the challenging task.


Reflecting on my conversations with everyone, I primarily thought that this was due to – what everyone tells me – my being a good listener. With a bit more pondering, it was clear that the urge to hustle comes from talking about their reasons for procrastinating.

I narrowed our motivational conversations and brainstorming chats to one question. I use this method to move forward productively all the time. It is obvious that it works with others as well because the requests to chat when needing to beat dawdling keep coming from friends, family and clients.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

One Reflective Question

Here is the one question you need to ask yourself to slay to the dragon of procrastination:

  • Why am I doing this?

Your personal situation will dictate the significance and the meaning of the word “this”.

When I use it, I focus on the task at hand. For example, when I am not eager to write my blog, I ask:

  • Why am I writing blogs?

Such a reflective question reminds me of my personal enjoyment of sharing my knowledge. It also triggers the feeling of accomplishment when I receive feedback from readers and hear their stories of how my blogs helped them move forward in their career.

And finally, the value of my blog in my particular journey to increase career literacy. This doesn’t take long and I get the urge to set the timer for 30 minutes thinking that I will just write for 30 minutes and stop.

Notice how I transitioned from procrastinating to working on the task for minutes?

Here is another example.

You need to start working on a project. You know that it needs a couple of hours at least but you find yourself delaying and finding excuses. In a few minutes quickly changes to later until a few hours go by and you still haven’t started. Depending on your situation, your reflective questions will have a few possibilities:

  • Why are you procrastinating?
  • Why are you doing this project?
  • Why are you writing, designing, working and so on?

Why are YOU Doing THIS?

Take a few minutes to answer the questions and see what happens. Your answer/s should motivate you to start working on the project.

I use a timer if the urge to start working is not that strong. 20 to 30 minutes are usually enough. You can use the timer on your phone like I do but there are many timer apps available that you could use such as, Promofocus

Now it is YOUR turn. Fill in the blank

  • Why am I…?

Stay reflecting and keep moving forward productively!

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