Episode 69: Go To Beast Mode and Conquer Procrastination!

Do you procrastinate on important and vital projects only to feel regret? Do you miss opportunities that could move your career or increase your quality life because you fear failure? In this episode, Jimmy shares three simple hacks he utilizes to conquer procrastination and continually improve his quality of life.

Episode Keys

  • Understanding and controlling your fear of failure to become more proactive in capturing your opportunities in life.
  • How a system of conative instincts can be used to grow your wealth, build a team around you and understand your functions when faced with challenges.
  • Using an accountability partner to keep you from procrastinating on vital and important projects that may move your life in a more abundant measure!
  • Why remaining keenly aware of your short- and long-term goals while communicating the role of each of your team in the success plan for your future.

Podcast Transcript

Good morning! What another beautiful day here in the great United States of America. I will tell you this has been a very, very crazy year. I hope you’re feeling it too, cause I don’t want to be the only one on this island of Covid-19 out here that is just continuing to wreak havoc and cause disruption in our lives. But you know we don’t allow external factors to dictate our internal feelings. I’m Jimmy Williams with Live a Life by Design your Monday morning motivation host, to give you the most for this week.

I’m the only one today on a podcast with a PhD in positivity and a Master’s degree in motivation. And I’ll tell you, you’re gonna have a fun topic today as we share one of the biggest hurdles in life. One of these hurdles is what keeps you from realizing your ultimate goals in life. We’re gonna talk about how you can conquer some of these hurdles, overcome them and how you can live the life you design. The whole purpose of life is to enjoy it. Too many people are walking around, unfinished projects. Responsibilities hanging over their head, and they blame it all on Covid-19. Well that’s not you. And I’ve got news for you. Today is the last day we’re gonna blame any type of disruption, any type of inefficiency, a failure to complete a project. We are not going to allow this virus to continue to disrupt your lives. 

And what we’re going to do today is share three simple hacks of how I overcome and conquer procrastination in my life. You know, procrastination is nothing more than the fear of failure. Or it could be on the other side of that coin, perfectionism. Let’s talk about it for just a few moments. If you think about procrastination and its impact on the efficiency of your life or your organization if you’re a leader. It can have enormous negative impact on the success of your life or your company. One of those things that you never want to do is be so mindful of perfection that you never complete a project. You never do what you say you’re going to do. 

Now I’ve got a confession to make. I’m gonna talk a little bit more detail about it later in the podcast episode, but I am one of these people that have an issue with finishing a project. Believe it or not, I know what you’re thinking as one of our long term listeners. You’re wondering how did this guy get to where he is in life and he can’t complete a project? I’m gonna share with you my secret to that success and how to overcome that situation in just a few moments. But one of the things I want you to focus on today is, what is failure? What is perfectionism? There’s a rock band out, one of my favorite bands that came through this, the late say mid 80s, late 80s. And the name of the band was Boston. Many great hits, I’ve seen them in person, in concert and they put on a great show. Very, very talented musicians. But an engineer, and I’m not blaming all engineers, but and engineer is the leader and primary songwriter for the band. He’s the guitar player, keyboard player, I mean this guy’s just so talented he does everything. And one of the biggest hurdles they have to overcome is that he has a perfectionist attitude toward recording. 

The reason they were a band for now 40 years, and I think have only maybe published about four albums in that time, maybe five at the most, is because of the perfectionism in his mind. The seeking of the perfect sound, or the perfect cord for this particular bar of the song. Or the vocals weren’t exactly as he wished, or you can understand every little facet of the production process through the editing and overdubbing and so forth. He had a hand in. His name was Tom Scholz and Tom is a fantastic, fantastic musician. The problem of it is, is he may not get all of his songs out of his body that he has within him because of perfectionism. In other words he may be “procrastinating” on getting the album out quicker to his audience, thereby keeping their attention on his brand, the band Boston, by failing to release albums in a more timely manner. 

Now granted, when he did send an album and finally get it published by the band, it was always a big hit. I’ll grant you that. But what he lacked is the opportunity to attract newer fans and much younger ages because no one knew who they were. It’d take five to ten years to get an album out. And so, I don’t want you to be a perfectionist. I believe that you can be a high quality producer of whatever service or goods you produce and not be perfect at it. But be very exceptional. Now there’s a thin line, I understand between exceptional and perfectionism. But my point I’m making today is that I think, in my mind, you will have more success in being exceptional than you’ll ever obtain being a perfectionist. 

The opposite though of procrastination is perseverance. Boy have we not used this word, and maybe utilized it so much during the last six months that it’s probably worn out of the dictionary. You might turn your Websters over to perseverance and see if it’s still in there. But when you persevere on a project, you simply don’t quit until you are done with at least your phase of that project. And the issue boils down to, when you’re persevering through something you’re growing as a person. You’re growing as a professional. But when you procrastinate on something you never get started. The project has zero percent chance of success if we procrastinate. Perseverance is another tool in our toolbox of traits that really helps us become more successful. There are times you’ll feel like you are slogging through the mud up to your waist trying to get a project done. It just does not efficiently flow. 

There are other times where it doesn’t take a whole lot of perseverance, but you will have the project completed. It’ll be done to your expectations. It’s out the door and it’s in the hands of the expected party, whoever that might be. This is just life. Anyone that tells you, ‘Well, life is just not fair’ is giving you some good advice. My father, a great wise man, is suffering through some illness now, and I will tell you, I lean on a lot of his words of wisdom during this Covid-19. What he lacked in formal education he certainly made up for in what I call just the education of life. He just went to the school of hard knocks. Learned it the hard way. Tried not to make the same mistake twice, and moved forward, right? And so dad raised us children as to believe that the government owes you nothing. The world owes you nothing. So instead of expecting someone to be the safety net for your life you must be sustainable in your own mind and in your own life. Your work ethic, your beliefs, your attitude are all the tools you need to be successful in this life by not depending on anyone but yourself. 

Now that almost sounds like rugged individualism which is a term we entrepreneurs use when we first started out in our businesses. You know, it may have just been you and one other person, but that’s not what he’s saying. What he’s really saying is that by trying to think that as we go through life we can just do anything we wish to do and not worry about consequences, such as if the business is not as successful as I hoped, then the government will bail me out. This seems to be some of the thought with some of the largest companies in our country because of the jobs that they provide. And I’m not here to say that that’s wrong or right. I’m just saying to you as a individual, as an entrepreneurs, as a leader, you need to have the mindset that I will persevere through whatever difficulties come my way, I will pivot from the areas that are not working to find a new solution, or a new method of performing this task so it will get done. You are the person that will be responsible for you. So not the government. Not the way that a lot of the world thinks. You’re gonna be different.

So, when does procrastination raise its ugly head? You know for me it is when I need to complete a project that I am just not passionate about doing. I’m just not. There are certain things in our world that you just simply must do that is just not going to excite you. It’s just not going to, and at the end of the day I don’t care for those types of projects very much. And I will say that I delegate all of those that I’m not passionate about to someone on my team that has much more capability. But sometimes there’s something that I alone have to do. So these are vital and important projects. And their activities. Sometimes it can not be delegated. So I need to jump in and perform the task. So to overcome the humongous barriers of indifference, lack of interest. I pull out my trusty Montblanc writing instrument. Yeah, some people call them ink pens. I call them writing instruments. You know, they’re German engineered, very precise. 

I pull out that Montblanc writing instrument and some paper and I simply list the steps necessary to complete the task properly. Now you’re gonna laugh, this may be something not that big of a task in terms of size. But I may break it down into 10 simple steps so that instead of thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, I’ve got to do x…’ I may just work on the first little step of that and then the next little step until I get it done. That is my way of coping or overcoming the procrastination that’s caused by working on something of which I’m not passionate. Now you may have a different approach. You may work on everything that in your career that is passionate. You may not have anything that you don’t really dislike. You would be the first person I’ve met. I don’t care if you’re a professional golfer and you love to play golf. There are gonna be days on the golf course that are going to be tasks that you don’t want to have to perform. And that’s why you have caddies. You have coaches. You have greenskeepers. You have all this support team to help you do some of those tasks, even in the golf course that you don’t enjoy. 

And so what I do when I complete those first two or three steps of this project that I’m not passionate about. I suddenly find myself with a different mindset toward the project. See, your mind fills itself with confidence. When you start achieving some of these steps, your mind creates confidence in you. With confidence, then comes another big word momentum. You with confidence and a little momentum move forward throughout the project til you see a completion. And then what happens, when you can see the end result before you, and you say, ‘Gosh, here it is. I can just finish this the next hour’. That momentum carries you through until the project is completed. You know, what this does for me is two fold. One, I gain instant progress on the task creating some forward momentum in my mind. As I said. This is a big part of my success. And two, I created urgency in my brain by assigning a date of completion for each of these steps. 

So I may take a project that needs to be done in 10 days, and I have 10 steps, and I may just complete one of those steps per day. If it’s a task I just abhor, I just hate the thing, I’m going to tackle it one step per day for the next 10 days. The key to this is assigning yourself that deadline. You need to create the urgency in your mind. Now I’ll give you another step. There’s certain things I don’t enjoy doing around my home. Don’t tell my wife. I don’t enjoy doing certain tasks around the home. I will tell you, I have delegated everything I don’t enjoy around the home so I can spend time on those things that I do enjoy doing. Such as playing golf. Such as maybe going to sporting events, hiking, whatever it is. I just enjoy being outside doing some of those things versus being outside perhaps, working in flower beds, mowing the yard, trimming the hedges, cleaning the gutters. There’s a thousand things that need to be done. And they’re all important. But there is someone else perhaps that has the passion to do those things and not me. That’s my point. 

So before you establish this process of setting up an action a day for 10 days perhaps, or whatever’s necessary for you to overcome that procrastination. You need to ask yourself two questions. First, is this task absolutely necessary for the company or me to move forward in achieving success? The second question, is there someone on our team whose talents are better suited for this task than me? These two questions, if both are answered with yes, then delegate the project to the other talented individual and you do not need to deal with it. So, now I’ve overcome procrastination cause now it’s not even on my project list, right? However, if you answered yes on question one, that it is absolutely necessary that this project be done for success purposes. And you answered no on question two. Then implement the processes I mentioned. In other words, if there’s no one on your team that can do it, but it’s vital to the success of the company or to you personally then sit down, look at what the end result needs to be. Look at the time frame you should do it, and then sit down and write out the simple tasks per day that need to be performed so that you can achieve the project. 

By taking this brief moment to think about the project and the approach to initiating these steps, you’ll have triggered your decision making capabilities to complete the project. You are already by doing this small step, telling your mind, ‘I will get this done’. One of the greatest thinkers of the past 200 years probably would be Albert Einstein. When asked one time what he would do and how does he determine what’s most vital of projects on his list things to do, which were enormous lists. And he had one hour, he said, to take a life threatening decision that needed to be made that would have the effect of changing the entire world. He only had 60 minutes to do so. He stated very clearly that he would take the first 55 minutes to analyze, think about, structure and then write out a solution and then he would take the 5 minutes to implement it. 

See the importance of overcoming procrastination, it’s all in our minds. So the importance of this is to think beyond that final step and let’s set up some series of things that need to be done. But hey, let’s tackle the elephant in the room right quick. The elephant in the room, when it comes to procrastination, too many of us are fearful. Just afraid of failing that we don’t even attempt the completion of the project. Why do you think we all believe this? Has a past failure contributed to your current mindset you possess, for example. Get over it. Yesterday’s in the past. You can’t change one minute of it. Are there some things I wished I’d have done differently in the past? You bet. I don’t get hung up on the fact, though, that those are in the past. There’s an old saying out there, “Do not spend too much of your today worrying about yesterday”. 

It’s baseball season here in the U.S. and we hope we’re gonna get back some baseball. They’re gonna have a shortened season. I’m a big fan of baseball, and this quote by the great Hank Aaron of the former Atlanta Braves, is appropriate when pertaining to failure. Hank Aaron says, “Failure is a part of success. There is no such thing as a bed of roses all your life. But failure will never stand in the way of success if you learn from it”. You know, that’s the key my dad’s always taught us. Don’t make the same mistakes twice. Learn from the mistakes you make, and even better if you can learn from the mistakes of others. It may appear to you that our, you know, guaranteed success is not going to be there. But I can assure you that if all we focus on is the past, success is never going to materialize. 

It may appear that the ultra wealthy of our country made success look easy. You know, you’ve seen them. The learjets and they have mansions on each coast and somewhere in the Bahamas, and they hang out with Hollywood’s elite and or they’ve got certain aspects of their company that are such forward thinking and controlling of the worlds interests that it just really looks easy for them. I assure you it’s anything but. Many of these billionaires of today were in such precarious financial positions that bankruptcy resulted in their early careers. So where would we be in our lives today if Thomas Edison has given up on the development of the electric lightbulb filament after, I don’t know, say 100 attempts? He persevered through that process cause he had a bigger goal in mind. What he had set before him was a goal that was pulling him to success. 

Would you still be burning candles for light? Nah, I say no way. Someone would have seen the need and being the capitalistic country we are with a tremendous amount of entrepreneurship, someone would have developed this technology. If you haven’t read the biographies of, for example, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Benjamin Franklin, or any of these early entrepreneurs of our country, I highly recommend you do. Quite motivational and inspirational in your life. You can see quickly by reading their biographies that life didn’t just hand them the greatness they finally achieved. It was only through perseverance, hard work, finishing the projects. They did not procrastinate. Some areas that I read through Thomas Edison’s biography was that he actually alienated his own family. He was so passionate about his work, he lived a life of imbalance. Right? I’m not recommending we do that. I am recommending though that we look at their lives and see what good they produced and perhaps we could reproduce something similar in our lives with our goals. 

You know, it’s always good in life to be a student of these people. Don’t be a follower, don’t do exactly what Edison did and live a life out of balance. But be a student of the good things he achieved, and implement what you wish in your life that align with your goals for life. You know, be you. I’ve always said in this podcast no one can do you better than you. So be you today. And one of the best methods of bringing our podcast to the attention of those you believe would benefit from a positive message is to leave a rating and review on iTunes. Chicagomaureen left a five star rating and said, “Jimmy could catch me on the worst possible day and I am instantly transformed into being my best self after hearing his perspective on everyday life. It’s so easy to get caught up in the negative messages in the news, etc. I have found strategies from this podcast to protect my confidence and eliminate the negative noise around me”.  Well, thank you, Chicagomaureen for your five star rating and review. We certainly appreciate all of your input, comments, good or bad on what the podcast has done for you or what we could do better. So please tell your friends about the podcast, and help them regain their confidence during this time of disruption. Now, back to the show.

The importance of making progress is to understand when good enough is good enough. We talked about perfection. How perfectionism can ruin your opportunities to succeed in life. I encourage you to think about when is good enough, good enough? The marketplace that you provide for your products or the company that you provide your products, whatever. Or your services you deliver, you have to determine when is good enough really good enough? I want to talk a little bit about one of those hacks that I use in my life to know that good enough is done for me. Okay? And some of those hacks relate back to what is called my kolbe, K O L B E score. Now this is an online exam you take that tells you how you function by instinct. So it’s your conative way of operating in life. So it’s kind of my Jimmy’s Modes of Operation, if you will. Well, my kolbe score produced a 4 digit number. 0 to 10. I should say 1 to 10. But it tells something about Jimmy and how he literally functions from an instinctive standpoint. So my score, my kolbe is 7463. Now I’m gonna tell you what those four numbers represent in just a moment. But 7463. Now the numbers go from 1 at the lowest to 10 at the highest for each of these characteristics. So the four though represents follow through. That means that if I’m below five on follow through I’m not very good at following through on things. Most of my team will tell you they are my follow through. They add the extra six points I need to get things done. 

So, if you think about it, I am going to need someone around me that has a much higher score on follow through for their kolbe than me. So, let me give you just a moment about how I hire new team members. If I’m a 7463, I look for individuals who have a 7 or higher in follow through and the fourth number is an implementer. Someone who can implement things. Whereas I like to design systems. They implement those. So I look for someone to hire that has numbers opposite of me, for example. So those four numbers, 7463, represent these four areas of function. The first one is a fact finder. So I’m a 7 out of 10. I like to get facts. I love to have all the facts I can gather to make a good decision. The four, as I said, is follow through. I’m not as good at following through on projects, so to complete projects I have team members that have much higher, 7, 8, or 9 perhaps in follow through. Quick start is the third number, and I’m a six. So what this tells you about me is that I gather a lot of facts, or as much as I can, and I start a project quickly. It doesn’t take me long to get out of the starting gates, boom, I’m ready to go and I set the project in place. The last one, number four, is implementer. That’s a 3 for me. Pretty low number. So I create systems the way I wish and then hand them off to someone else to implement. So I create, but I don’t follow through and I don’t implement well. 

So to the layperson it may sound like this is, ‘Hey, Jimmy can get things started, and he gets facts, but never gets anything done’. And I got to be truthful with you, that is true if I didn’t have a team of people that are opposite me in terms of instinctive modes of operation. So the first task is to convince yourself that performing only 80% of the first step of the project is actually good enough for you. I call myself the 80% man. I do not complete projects, but I will have the team give me whatever steps they need of my expertise and I will have 80% of those done before they even get started in most cases. I can get things done, I’m very talented in that area. But they are the ones that carry the ball, if you will, over the finish line. They’re the ones that’s gonna carry the football into the end zone, and I’m gonna be the guy that sits there in mid field going, ‘hey, well I got them to the 20 yard line, right?’ You know, your team will be the one that helps you in these cases. And so the first hack is to convince your mind that you don’t have to do it all. Convince yourself that 80% is great. Move the ball to someone else and let them carry it the rest of the way.

The second hack that helps me alleviate procrastination is the accountability of my actions with my team. This may be tough for some of you if you have an ego. I do not have an ego. I hire people to be candid, honest and have great integrity when it comes to performing in our company and providing our clients the highest degree in quality of services. By meeting consistently with someone to share the importance of projects requiring my attention as well as the due dates, I have set for completion those projects helps me to finish my part. We meet each week to discuss client projects, marketing, administrative matters and other vital areas of our business to communicate with each other. This simple step of the process is vital to keeping each person on the team aware of the project’s importance of overall success as well as their role in that plan. So the second hack is basically this, hold yourself accountable with your team.

You know sometimes we hire someone that’s afraid to be honest with you. When we hire you at our team, I directly implore you to be totally honest and hold me accountable to my portion of the project. Now does that mean that everyone should take the liberty to really set me straight on projects. I wouldn’t say that. I would say, with professionalism, courtesy, but candor each one of us has a role to play in the success of our company, and I’m just one of those team members.

But the third and final hack I perform that helps me conquer procrastination is to stay keenly aware of my short and long term goals. By reviewing my goals daily it creates a sense of forward momentum in my life. This momentum is critical to overcoming procrastination because your mind is thinking of the vital projects needed to live your life on your own terms. When your mind is aware of a project and you stay focused on the topic, you will make progress. Overcoming procrastination is a process. You must place a system in your life that helps you build on your strengths and delegate your weaknesses. Disruption plays a significant role in causing procrastination to creep into our lives. But you are a mighty ship on the ocean. Not an ark. This means you have a rudder. You can control your destiny. So make changes today to make the next 6 months of this year in a much better style of life than perhaps the first 6 months have been. No one asked for Covid-19, but life happens. And I’ve got news for you, if it’s not Covid-19 it’ll be something else disrupting you. You must find a way to find your focus overcome the procrastination of projects and move forward. It is the stronger person who understands the challenges and finds the means of conquering them to continue living life as they wish. 

The challenge this week is to find a project you’ve been procrastinating on and to break it down into several small steps. Complete one or two of the steps and you will find the energy and motivation to complete the remaining steps of the project. Success creates motivation and motivation conquers procrastination. Until next week, go out and live your life by design.

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