How Musicians Can Take Charge Of Their Procrastination Problem

procrastination problemIf you have ever procrastinated in your life, please raise your hand.

All hands go up. 

(Yep, I am guilty too.)

Why do we delay making decisions, put off tasks that need to get done, and avoid doing the things that need our attention?


Somewhere, deep down in the darkest corners of our minds, there is fear holding us back through the use of lies.

Once we start believing them, we then begin coming up with excuses for why we can’t do what needs to get done…….and the delay begins.

Procrastination Excuses

In our heads, we start thinking “I’ll wait” because:

  1. The situation might change on its own.
  2. The problem may just miraculously go away.
  3. Somebody else might come up with a better solution or, better yet, do it for me.
  4. I might win the lottery or become a musical sensation overnight!
  5. A tornado might blow us away and I won’t have to practice.

Do you see how creative these excuses can get?  That’s the power of our brilliant imaginations.

We can do this to ourselves for so long that we don’t even realize how much of a mess we are creating just because we are afraid of moving forward.

Procrastination is Paralysis by Fear

Fear can be very paralyzing and that is the underlying cause of our procrastination.

It makes us believe these things:

  • We are going to make a mistake.
  • The activity is going to be a painful and uncomfortable experience.
  • I might conquer the activity before I’m truly ready.

Has this thought ever run through your mind?  “That sounds like a lot of work.”

Yep, it’s popped into my mind a time or two also.

We suddenly start delaying because the activity appears to look like work.  Think about it, what do people complain about the most?  Work!

We have learned in our world that work is just plain no fun.

But, is it really work?  Nope.  It’s just exerting effort.

News Flash:  Putting forth effort means we will grow and take steps towards success.

Hey, it’s important to think through decisions, plan out your practice session, or decide what your next step is in learning how to read music.

The problem is when you spend all your time doing only this without taking action.

Stop Creating a Mess

Procrastination is self-sabotage.  You are putting obstacles in your own path (excuses) which do a good job of helping you avoid personal musical achievement.

For many, choosing paths that will hurt your performance is nothing but a habit.  It’s become a lifestyle and a part of everyday living.

How to Get Rid of It Once and For All

1) Don’t act according to your feelings.

Telling yourself, “I’ll feel more like practicing tomorrow” is not going to change things.  You probably won’t feel like doing it tomorrow either.

2) Recognize that extra pressure will not help.

The person that says, “I work best under pressure,” is really asking for a heart attack to happen.  The stress of a time constraint does a tremendous amount of damage to your health.

Also, keep in mind that waiting until the last minute is not going to make you any more creative.  In fact, it may cause exactly the opposite to happen.

3) Stop looking for distractions.

Yep, you know what I’m talking about.  When you are aware of needing to do something, you suddenly find all kinds of reasons why checking email, surfing the internet, or even doing the dishes is more important.

This is easy to do since all of those other non-important things require no commitment. (Ouch!)

4) Try.

You will be surprised how much you can accomplish once you get yourself started.

5) Realize you’re not going to fail.

Any amount of effort you put into something will not result in failure.  Not doing anything at all will.  If you make a mistake, so what!  Take note of the experience and use it to keep guiding you towards the right path.

6) Get over your fear of success.

Learning how to do something well is worth celebrating!  It’s not going to change who you are unless you allow it.  Very few people have ever become an overnight sensation.

Most folks have to work really hard in order to accomplish anything.  You are probably not the exception to the rule either.

Becoming truly triumphant is a slow process and that’s for a reason.  It allows you to grow into your new status and get comfortable before moving on to the next level.

The Hard Work is Worth It

Look, this isn’t going to be easy, but you can conquer procrastination one step at a time.  It’s going to feel uncomfortable and even scary at times, but let me just tell you this…it will all be worth it.

The rewards are much greater than the risk.

What are the fears that have been holding you back?  What can you do to change those thought patterns?

photo credit: gothick_matt via photopin cc

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