How To Stop and Overcome Procrastination?

Jonathan Doyle Catholic Speaker

Welcome to today’s podcast with Jonathan Doyle, where we delve into the timeless challenge of overcoming procrastination. Whether it’s that looming task at work or a personal goal you’ve been putting off, Jonathan shares insights and strategies to help you break free from the grips of procrastination. Join us as we uncover the keys to igniting action and propelling yourself towards success.

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    Welcome Aboard: Daily Podcast Journey

    Jonathan Doyle - Founder of an Influential Education and Media Business
    Jonathan Doyle - Founder of an Influential Education and Media Business

    Hello there. My friend, Jonathan Doyle, is with you once again. Welcome aboard to the daily podcast. It is good to be with you. I hope you’re doing well. Wherever you are listening in the world, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m back in the studio. I may or may not have just had a very good espresso. I can live without a lot of things in this world. I’ve let go of a lot of things over the years. But a really good espresso machine has a pretty significant place in my life. So I’m in the studio and I had a lot of training today. I’m riding the wave until sometimes this little energizer bunny is going to run out of energy.

    I’ve got a great message for you today that I hope will be really helpful. As always, as of our regular listeners, this must get tedious, but housekeeping, please make sure you have subscribed. If you like what you hear today, hit the subscribe button. Whether you listen to it every day or not, hitting that button simply pushes it up the rankings, wherever you’re listening. And leaving a review is also a huge blessing. So please feel free to do that.

    Imposter Syndrome Series Announcement

    And if you’re not aware, I just did a two-part series on Imposter Syndrome. I did a two-part written blog series. That’s on the website at So if you’re listening, you might think, Hang on, do I have imposter syndrome? What does that mean? It’s a very human experience. It simply means that you’ve been somewhere in your life at some point where you’re unsure if you’re up to the task that you don’t know if you can do what’s being asked of you usually leads to anxiety, then procrastination and avoidance, and even self-sabotage by undermining yourself. We all do it. It’s very human, and I’ve done a great two-part series on that.

    There are a couple of ways to find it. You can go to my Instagram bio at @jdoylespeaks, and there’s a Linktree link there, and that’ll take you through to the Linktree, and there’s a big picture of the imposter syndrome post. You can hit that. And you can read it on your phone. Otherwise, just go to the website, And I’m hoping this should be. Otherwise, somebody’s going to lose their job. There’s a search bar, and you can just type in imposter, and it should bring up the post for you. So go check that out. All right. That’s it for the intro. Let’s jump in. 

    Identifying Procrastination: Understanding the Phenomenon

    Clock With Procrastination

    I want to talk to you about a theme that has come up here for many years. It’s a topic I talk about frequently. And I want to talk about it again today because it’s just something that I keep experiencing in life. So it’s something that I can speak to with a lot of experience and confidence.

    So we want to talk about the ability to get yourself to do the things that you don’t want to do—he’d call it procrastination—how to overcome procrastination. It comes up in a whole bunch of different ways for us at different points in life. Can we not agree, my friend? That we usually know what it is that we need to do?

    I don’t think many of us, if somebody were to say to us, okay, what’s one or two things right now that are really significant for you that if you changed them, would really move you forward? On my run this morning, I was listening to an interesting insight from a speaker who was saying, sit on your bed and ask yourself the question,

    "What stupid things are you doing right now? What's the stupidest thing that you're doing in your life? That if you stopped doing it, would move you forward quickly."

    And he made the point that, usually, you’ll get an answer really fast. It’s very intuitive. Isn’t it? Oh yeah, I know exactly what it is. And once you get rid of the first big, stupid thing you’ll find, you have gradations, you have this strata of things that we do to undermine ourselves, and you slowly knock them off. But is it not true that most of the time we know what we shouldn’t be doing, and we often know what we should be doing. So let’s just say you want to change your career. Then what do you need to do? You need to start looking at LinkedIn.

    You need to start really taking some time to think, to pray, to journal, and to talk to people about where you want to go and what you might want to try. Then you need to get familiar with what’s on offer and where you have to be for the kind of job you want to do. So you know all the steps, it’s not as if it’s a profound mystery, right?

    Paradox of Procrastination: Why Simple Goals Become Complex Challenges

    Procrastination Transforms Simple Tasks into Daunting Complex Challenges

    Let’s take another example: say you want to lose 5 kilos, 10 kilos, or 10 pounds, 20 pounds, whatever it is, wherever you are listening. You don’t; it’s not as if it’s a great mystery, right? It’s not as if you’re sitting there thinking to yourself. If only. If only I could unlock the secret of how to lose this weight.

    It’s interesting because I do an enormous amount of training, which I have done for many years, and I take a diet—a serious thing, all that sort of stuff. And it’s fascinating that you can get as complex as you want. and our bodies are complex systems. But at the end of the day, it really is calories in, calories out. Whatever you consume. If it’s not used, it will be stored. What I’m getting at is that it’s not a complex idea, but we find it hard to do right. Or you need to take up exercise, increase your spiritual disciplines, or spend more time with your spouse, your kids, or your friends.

    Anything that you want to change, you can pretty much find a strategy for it. So strategy is rarely going to be our problem. Sometimes when I’m coaching or consulting, I can obviously help people with strategy, but a lot of the time that comes at the end of the process. So what I want to talk about is: What is this thing that stops us?

    I want to take you into a personal example as often as I do, I’ve got an ultra marathon coming up. It’s racing towards me, it’s not even racing, it’s hurtling towards me. Think of a meteoric approach and I’ve got to run about 70 kilometers, right? So, as you probably know, the Olympic marathon is 42 km, and I’ve got around 70. I knew this morning I was on the bike yesterday, but I knew today I had to get some Ks in. I wanted to get 30 Ks done this morning, but I have to get it done before the kids go to school.

    So I get up at four, and have some time for Bible study and prayer and then I’m on the run at five. And off I go, but actually no, Jonathan, stop yourself. Before I went off, something else happened, which is the same thing that happens to you.

    Decoding Internal Resistance: A Battle Within

    Inner Self and Inner Voice as Internal Resistance Resulting to Procrastination
    The resistance and inner voice that seek to hold us back result in procrastination

    What is it? It’s resistance, it’s procrastination. We procrastinate, we know what we need to do. I need to go do the run. Now it’s relative, you might be listening to me go, 30K like I’ve never; some of you have ridden a bike that far, that’s a long way in a car. I get it. But for me, I’ve adapted, and it’s just that I have to get it done, but I feel exactly what you feel, whether it comes to career, diet, weight, relationships. I feel this resistance.

    I can promise you that at 5:00 a.m. this morning, there was a strong part of me. And what happens is this inner dialogue, right? This voice in my head says, ‘Oh, you could do this. You could do some really productive work for a couple of hours. And you could have some more time for this, you are really tired, you could do this or that.’

    And what I want to say to you in this message today is that voice has been there for as long as I can remember. It’s been there so long that I’m probably beginning to become aware of the truth. That voice is never going to go away.

    The purpose of this episode around procrastination and overcoming procrastination is really a discussion for us about how we overcome that voice that wants to hold us back. And as I’ve said in many episodes, there are very strong evolutionary reasons why it does that ultimately, what our mind always wants to do is one main thing. Keep us alive. And running 30K like my brain, my limbic system, and my ancient animal brain is basically going, why would you run 30 K, the only reason to run 30 K is if a very fit bear is chasing you, or a saber-tooth tiger is walking after you for all of that 30 K. It’s stalking you, Jonathan. 

    Because we evolved you might have to walk a long way to forage for food, but we didn’t; we conserved energy. So doing physically demanding things was something we tried to avoid. This really had to do it. I’ve got this evolutionary process working against me and yet I still want to get it done.

    Overcoming Limitations and Taking Action

    So what’s the big reveal as we talk about procrastination? What is the big reveal? As always, I’d love to give you some earth-shaking insights so that you go home today to people at your home and you’re like, I heard this incredible idea today about overcoming procrastination and limitations. It’s absolutely earth-shattering. Unfortunately, I don’t have that one.

    What I do have is, I guess, the kind of thing that Mel Robbins used to talk about, which is her five-second rule, or what’s also known as Activation Energy. Which simply means this is the only thing: I’m going to say it’s two things. You can do: one, is to develop a deep suspicion of that inner voice. Every time it’s trying to stop you from doing something that is going to make you really grow.

    Now there’s going to be times in your life when that inner voice is going to tell you to stop something because it’s got your best interests at heart. Let’s say you have an addiction or something, and you’ll have this nagging sense that whatever it is that you’re putting into your body, your mind, or your life is destructive. But conversely, when you’re doing something difficult and challenging, sometimes that inner voice will be driving hard towards comfort and self-preservation.

    When it’s driving towards comfort and self-preservation, I would say to ignore it. It’s not going to help you see the goal. If I could, I would very rarely use colorful language. In fact, almost never on the daily podcast, but can I do it because there’s like a cool meme on the internet you can see it on Instagram. Once in a while. It just says, Do epic sh*t; let’s change that; if that’s offensive, Do epic stuff; when you get to the end of your life you want to be able to look back, you know what I did some pretty big stuff.

    Finding Inspiration in Epic Endeavors

    When tackling a tough task, ignore the inner voice pushing for comfort and self-preservation
    When tackling a tough task, ignore the inner voice pushing for comfort and self-preservation

    One of the others, a guy I follow on Instagram, I really like, and I read his books years ago. He’s about to do a run kind of similar to that—46 miles across the rim-to-rim race in the Grand Canyon. He’s currently in Africa and this morning I was looking at his feed. He is staying at this lodge in Africa, but you can’t really go outside the lodge area because all the animals will eat you. So he’s running up and down these stairs with a backpack. He went and found a whole bunch of heavy books and put the books in his backpack and then in the next scene, one of the guides has driven him out to the airstrip out in the jungle and he’s just running back and forth for 20 miles on this strip, and it’s that epic.

    You just do epic stuff. You’re in Africa, but you’re still committed to this process. And then you’re going to run the Grand Canyon, and you’re going to be at the end of your life. God, that was cool. You want a lot of that in your life. I think. You’re not tracing adrenaline for time’s sake, but I think we want to look back and say, We’ve done cool stuff.

    So whenever our goals and our processes are leading us towards cool, epic things, Then ignore that voice that’s trying to stop you. So I can promise you that this morning, everything you meet was dark, it was cold. There’s a thousand other things that would be comfortable to do, and I didn’t do them. So I went out, and you can find it on Instagram. If you’re listening, If you hear this tomorrow, you can probably go to my story at @jdoylespeaks, and you’ll see me doing that run on Instagram. You come back from it, and that’s what was awesome. I got back by eight o’clock in the morning. I’d done 25, almost 30 K. And I felt tired, but it was awesome.

    I want you to have that, because that voice will hold you back. So this is the first part, right? Is to ignore that voice that wants you to stop or seek comfort; literally, just see it for what it is. Tomorrow morning that voice is going to show up for me again. I promise you.

    I’ve done the run today. I set up a heavy pack, Karen and I were having some time together. She likes to walk, and I like to walk, but I like to walk with a sort of 50-pound backpack. So I did the run, and then I did this hike walk with the pack on, and so I’m tired. Then I’ll get through the rest of today and get to bed, but I get up every day at 4:00 AM. So I can promise you at 4:00 AM tomorrow I’m going to feel pretty tired from today. I got a hundred K bike rides in the morning at 5:00 AM.

    Now, I can promise you, I’m going to go through exactly the same process tomorrow. I will wake up tomorrow, and I’ll be like, I’m 50 years old. I just think it’s dark. It’s going to happen again. It happened yesterday, it happened months ago, it happened years ago. 

    Take Charge of Your Life: Procrastination No More

    Simply begin, for once you start, the rest will fall into place on its own.
    Simply begin, for once you start, the rest will fall into place on its own

    So I want you to take from this discussion that we’re having with my friend, this voice that wants to retire us and that wants us to procrastinate is always going to be there. So we got to get good at ignoring you. I know who you are. I know what you’re trying to do. And what’s our filter? Our filter is if it’s trying to stop you from doing epic stuff. That’s when we ignore it. We don’t ignore it when it’s trying to stop us from doing harmful stuff.

    Now, the last thing is simply activation energy, which I credit to Mel Robbins. Who’s got a beautiful term, Activation Energy—the best way to understand it is simply to think of space shuttles taking off or rockets taking off. And even aircraft, right? A lot of time, what is necessary is they expend a great deal of energy to get started. And once they break free of gravity, they start to get very fuel efficient, and they start to cruise. Which simply means that most of the time, when it comes to the habit, you’re trying to build the thing you’re trying to do. All you really need to do is get started, activation energy.

    Once I’m on that run, once I go out of my garage and I’m on the road. I have never, unless I’ve been extremely fatigued, I’ve never gotten five minutes into a run and gun yet. Not doing it and turned around ever. So much of the time, all you need to do is begin. If you want to lose weight, you just have to start, if you want to change your career, just take that first step. And if you want to improve relationships, just do one thing. It’s the activation energy that counts.

    Conclusion: Propel Yourself Forward

    All right. So in summary, let’s put it all together. If you want to overcome procrastination, how to overcome procrastination is a thing for you. Step one. Get very good at recognizing the inner voice, the inner critic wants to stop you. Number two. Just start. Just start. Because if you just start, the rest of it will take care of itself.

    Is that useful to you? I really hope it is. Because you and I, our situations will be different, but not radically different. We’re all facing the same thing, which is what we’re all trying to grow. We’re all trying to get better at things or to become more of who God has created us to be. So let’s do that. And let’s do that with these simple steps: identify the negative voice and then just start; if you do those two things, you’re on your way.

    All right, please make sure you’ve subscribed. Come and check out the website: Because you can book me for keynotes, conference events, staff training, leadership training, consultancy projects, executive coaching. It is all there on the website: Just reach out, send me a message on the website, and we can get in touch. If you are onInstagram, you can find me at @jdoylespeaks. Which will be awesome.

    So God bless you. My friend, I hope that’s useful to you now. Get out there. And do epic stuff. My name’s Jonathan Doyle. This is the Daily Podcast. You and I are going to talk again tomorrow.

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    Jonathan Doyle


    I’m on a mission to liberate the potential of the incredible people that make up your organisation, school, or business.

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