Procrastination is a Symptom, Not a Problem.

Do you have days when you work 14 hours at a stretch and then days when you can barely do the minimum? Are you dissatisfied with the time you allocate to your business, yourself, and relationships how you want to? If your answer is “Yes,” you might want to read this – procrastination or poor scheduling is almost never the problem; it is just the symptom of a deeper issue. 

Read this post to find out how you can discover these issues and work on resolving them – much like one of our most successful clients did!

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

  1. You are either working 14-hour days or barely meeting the minimum requirements to call it to work. 
  2. You have a tough time balancing between your business, your performance, and your relationships – the areas of your life where you find meaning. 
  3. You have hit a performance slump. Things are not bad. You might even be doing great on several metrics compared to your peers. But – you have no idea how to grow from here. 

There is good news – you are not alone. Every high performer who later found a poetic balance between her performance and business once stood exactly where you are. Generally, these are the typical steps people take after realizing they have a problem:

  1. Read books like Ikigai, Deep Work, and Atomic Habits (shout out to the authors – they have done an excellent service to humanity. If you haven’t had a chance to read any of these books, you should take a moment and schedule a reading them sometime soon.)
  2. Attend organizing and productivity courses and workshops. 
  3. Use one or more applications to organize their days, weeks, and months. 

Now – the bad news. Books, courses, and apps are excellent tools that do a great job of delivering information or organizing thoughts/tasks. But they cannot save you from yourself. 

Try out this test that will take less than 30 seconds. Do you see a face in this toast?

Source: Face in the Toast

Don’t worry if you see one. Most people who look at the image will see that face. And that is normal. But – the toast was not designed to make that face. So, you are looking at a random pattern your brain wants you to believe is a face on a toast.

Much like this slight delusion, our healthy brains can find patterns when there are none. We tell ourselves stories that sound reasonable but are nowhere accurate. One such story we tell ourselves is that I procrastinate or am bad at scheduling.

Procrastination and lousy scheduling are not the problems. They are the symptoms of much deeper problems, as one of our most successful clients realized during his performance sessions with Hassan. 

What Can an Industry Expert Learn from a Performance Coach?

Let’s digress for a minute. We will return to why procrastination is a symptom, not the cause of your problems. 

Suppose you were someone with 10+ years of experience in your industry, a very successful venture builder, and had a reasonably healthy life. What could a performance coach teach you that you do not already know?

With that kind of success, it would be fair to assume that you are motivated and must have read the books, attended the courses, and assembled the toolkits necessary to address your challenges. One of our most successful clients – who happens to be a digital strategist with 10+ years of experience in the industry and runs his own business – had this profile. 

But – he was finding the very problems we are trying to solve here – inconsistent energy levels, sudden spurts of intense work followed by a slump in performance, and a great disbalance in allocating time to his business, personal performance, and relationships. 

He wanted to scale his business and be more deliberate when investing in his matters. And that was when he started understanding – procrastination just kept happening here and there. It was not the root cause. 

He joined Hassan to focus on his performance needs. He discovered that he had to focus on his energy and clarity. And things started changing. 

Here is What Changed Everything: 3 Principles, 60 Minutes, and 90 Days

He brought all his honesty and vulnerability to his weekly sessions with Hassan. Every week, he and Hassan would go over his wins & perceived losses from the week. Pretty straightforward, right?

This is where the magic happens. Most of these sessions were scheduled for 60 minutes. The first 20-30 minutes would go into summarizing the last week. 

Once they got past those early minutes, AIR would take over – Accountability, Incremental Progress, and Reflections. 

Accountability

When you have to talk to someone about what you plan to do in the next week and then report what you did, you have to carry the weight of accountability. This weight ensures you do not deviate from your schedule. This is precisely what books, courses, and apps are missing for organizing your schedules. 

Incremental Growth

Accountability is a significant force, but it is not everything. When you work with a performance coach who has run a business and brings technical expertise in sharpening personal performance – you also get insights and frameworks that help you understand how to bring home small wins every week. Something like – having enough water, sleeping at a predictable hour, and focusing on priorities tied to your goals. 

Hassan went beyond the basics and helped him understand how to find recurring clients with a systematic approach. This paired his predictability in his schedule with predictability in the growth of his business. 

Many people have a misconception that chaos breeds creativity. The reality is this – chaos breeds impulsiveness. Predictability of schedule enables creativity – once you know you have taken care of your daily responsibilities, you can channel your energy into other areas to be fearlessly creative. 

Reflections

The final piece of the puzzle was – reflection. Taking an inventory of the progress you have made builds positive momentum, and this momentum helps you find energy when you do not “feel like doing things.” At the end of each week, Hassan and the client bookmarked the most common pitfalls, designed strategies to tackle them, and worked on personalized insights to break through these pitfalls. 

The reflections work like anchors. When you have to consider everything you have been doing over the last week, document it, and review it weeks later – you can see where you started and where you stand. This is the most compelling account of the progress you have made. 

People facing the slump often become their own harshest critics. Weekly reflections enable them to become their biggest cheerleaders. 

 

The Results

If you want to and can work 14 hours a day – please go ahead. But – you do not need that kind of exhaustion. It narrows your focus on work and does not let you eliminate unnecessary “busyness.” Other areas of your life support your mental well-being. Your business can only be as healthy as your mental well-being and relationships. 

So, while 14-hour working days seem impressive in theory, they are not a badge of honor. The client discovered this insight during one of the early weekly sessions with Hassan.

At the end of the 90 days, after countless weekly calls and hundreds of pages of exchanged notes along with a personalized library of insights – the client found consistency in his energy, momentum in his productivity, and clarity of thought. 

Actionable Summary

For industry experts who have attended the program with Hassan for 90 days, this period has been the most transformative experience of their personal & professional journey.

 

Before you decide whether this is for you or not, take this actionable summary: 

You might not consider your current work habits as inhibitive problems. But – if you feel the pain of not making progress, being inconsistent with your energy levels, and being unable to invest time in areas of life that matter to you – your current work habits are not sustainable. Acknowledge it and then focus on the next step. 

Stop blaming your procrastination or poor scheduling. They are the symptoms, not the problem itself. The root cause of your inconsistent energy, a slump in growth, or lack of clarity is always seven levels beneath whatever you are pinning as the current problem.

Read the books. Take the courses. Download the apps. They will help you create a good foundation of best practices. But do not expect them to solve the real problem for you. 

Accountability: You need someone who can sit down with you, document your progress, understand the factors very personal to your challenges, and – using a scientific approach – help you create a strategy to tackle these challenges. More accountability leaves less room for error in following your weekly plans.

Incremental Growth: Even if you work with industry-leading coaches & consultants like Hassan – your life will not take a 180-degree turn in 90 days. And – in theory, it should not take such a rapid turn in such as short span. Quick changes, even if they are large, are not sustainable. You need the momentum of incremental wins – every week. 

Reflections: Your wins, losses, progress, and insights – all of them have to come in handy in your weekly reflections. This will make you objective and ensure you are not too harsh on yourself. 

The AIR system is just one of the many frameworks that helped this client take control of his energy, clarity, and growth. Hassan delivered many other systems, tools, and frameworks to help him grow his business and find great satisfaction in how he invested time in his personal life – all without adding more time to his calendar.

Want to learn how you can achieve the same results without taking another course or reading another book? Click here and book a free call with Hassan Bash. 

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