Do you have big goals and visions, but easily spiral into overload? Are you doing things that are seemingly productive, only to discover they have little correlation to your priorities? If you can relate to these patterns of self-sabotage, you’re not alone. Most of us struggle, at one time or another, with procrastination. David Kauzlaric is the award-winning cofounder of Agency Elevation, a 100% USA based white label digital marketing company scaling their clients through SEO, Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Here, he shares his personal insights and the pro-tips that have helped him to stay ahead of his task list and to level up his productivity.
It’s not your fault.
The first step out of the procrastination trap is to stop beating yourself up about it. You are neither lazy, broken, nor defective. The human brain is wired to gravitate towards the path of the least resistance. That’s why we’d rather take the elevator than the stairs or scroll through our emails rather than having a meeting with a difficult coworker. Procrastination is our default mode. Overcoming it and achieving high levels of productivity effectively require rewiring our brain. “It’s like reprogramming your own computer,” reflects David Kauzlaric.
Overcoming procrastination did not come easily to Kauzlaric. "A personal struggle is follow- through," he admits. "I have a very creative side that loves to come up with ideas and start them, but had a tendency to give up part-way through. By getting better at avoiding procrastination, the more success I see."
Productivity superheroes recognize that rewiring the brain to overcome procrastination isn’t a one-and-done deal. Although it will get easier over time, the lure of avoiding difficult tasks by soothing oneself with harmless distractions will always be present. “Acceptance of that predicament is key to not becoming discouraged,” he counsels.
Drive the bus.
So how do you ignore the ongoing temptations of distraction and move with speed and purpose toward the direction of what you know you should be doing? David Kauzlaric suggests the following image: You are the bus driver on a crowded city bus heading toward the park. The unruly passengers are clamoring for you to change your route, attempting to distract you from your destination.“Twitter feed,” demands one. “News outlets,” insists another. “Let’s go to voice mails,” yells a third. As the bus driver, you acknowledge the passengers requests, and then firmly insist they all quiet down. The next stop is the park, and that’s that. While they may whine and complain, only you have control of the wheel and gas pedal. Asserting self-discipline by assuming the role of the bus driver is a powerful deterrent to procrastination.
Make the decision once.
Emotional energy is expended in simply making decisions. The physical energy of executing the decision is often less than the emotional energy of making it. For example, working out at the gym isn’t nearly as hard as leaving the sofa to get there. Making the decision to work out every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday is easier than asking yourself on those days, “should I work out?” Emotional energy that clouds our thinking often makes us want to dodge tasks because they feel harder than they actually are. “To avoid procrastination, make the decision once and commit to follow through,” David Kauzlaric advises.
One of the most potent triggers for procrastination are priority tasks that generate self-doubt and uncertainty. If a task invokes enough unease or anxiety, it’s not uncommon to slip back into an unproductive pattern of avoidance. Instead of seeking out distractions to relieve the pressure, David Kauzlaric actually suggests leaning into doubt, reframing it in a positive light. “Self-doubt is a huge opportunity to dig deeper. It’s like a GPS directing me to the exact area I need to focus on to improve.” If you commit to stop procrastinating, uncomfortable tasks that involve doubt and uncertainty provide a custom life curriculum for the additional skills or resources you need to thrive.
Although procrastination is normal, habitual distraction is the enemy of productivity. Success depends on unlocking the brain’s ability to overcome it. Asserting self-discipline, understanding the cost of emotional energy in decision-making, and reframing how to deal with uncertainty are the three top pro-tips from productivity ace David Kauzlaric that will help you take action to crush your to-do list.