In Defense of Procrastination - EP 017

pleasure & profits podcast May 23, 2024

Join me in this episode as we take a fresh look at procrastination. I'll share my own stories about how putting things off actually helped me get back on track. I know it sounds strange, but sometimes slowing down can really speed things up!

We often think we have to be busy all the time, but I've discovered that taking a break can be just as important. In this episode, we’ll chat about the importance of listening to our internal cues for alignment, readiness, and safety. It's about recognizing when to push forward and when to step back, allowing ourselves to grow in the most supportive environment possible.

I invite you to look at procrastination in a whole new light. Let's learn how to make those moments of "I'll do it later" work for us, not against us.



  • Procrastination can be a signal that you are not ready, something feels unsafe, or you are out of alignment with your goals.
  • Society often equates rest, inconsistency, and procrastination with laziness and inadequacy, but it is important to challenge these beliefs.
  • It is crucial to discern what is in alignment for you and to create a safe and supportive environment for personal growth.
  • Pushing beyond your comfort zone can be beneficial, but it is essential to ensure that you are prepared and in alignment before taking that step.


Episode Chapters

00:00 Introduction and Personal Experience with Procrastination

04:01 Challenging Societal Beliefs: Rest, Inconsistency, and Procrastination

06:03 Discerning Alignment: What Feels Right for You

13:40 Creating a Safe and Supportive Environment for Personal Growth

15:36 Procrastination as a Tool for Self-Discovery

27:47 Conclusion and Invitation to Reflect


Curious about how waiting until later can actually be a good thing? Tune in to find out!


If you’re ready to have a deeper conversation about how to maximize impact, profit and pleasure in your business and life, you can schedule a time to connect with me right here >>> 

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Episode Transcript

Hello and welcome to Pleasure and Profits. I'm your host Rachel Anzalone. And last week in episode 16, I shared that I had been procrastinating recording these solo episodes. And the reason I was procrastinating was because the perfectionist in me had created this whole thing that it had to be like so well written and so well crafted and perfectly recorded yada yada yada all that stuff. And so that perfectionist part of me had created something that felt overwhelming and unenjoyable. And so I didn't put out an episode for about six weeks because I just couldn't bring myself to sit down and do the work to write and edit the writing and review it again and then record and practice record and then edit. All the steps that I had created for myself that I felt like it was what I had to do in order to put out a really good solo episode. 

And so during those six weeks, I recorded a number of guest episodes that are going to drop over the next couple months. I was the guest on several other people's podcasts. So I was doing this. I was in front of the mic, in front of the camera. talking about the things I love to talk about. And all of that felt really easy and fun and joyful. And yet for these solo episodes, I was procrastinating in a big, big way. And so what kept happening is I would say, ‘I'm gonna record it Tuesday night.’ And then I would occupy myself with something busy, busy work on Tuesday. And then I would get to Thursday and be like, okay, I'm gonna record it on Thursday. And then it would be, well, ‘I'm gonna record it over the weekend.’ And then I would spend the day, I don't doing I don't even know what laundry, grocery shopping, just stuff around the house that of course needs to be done, but certainly isn't the highest and best use of my time. And, and definitely you asked me what my priorities were. The laundry wouldn't be at the top of the list. It could get done anytime. Right? So I kept procrastinating and then that weekend would go by, get into the next week. 

Suddenly weeks were going by and I wasn't getting it done. And so, I was feeling a lot of intense feelings about that. A - feeling super shitty that I want to do this podcast, that I have, my dog is scratching at the door right now. ‘Squeaks, you coming in? Aw, hi pup. You want to come say hi? Nope, she's gonna creep over into her little bed spot.’

Okay, and so, I was having all these feelings about that I was letting myself down, that I had made a commitment that I was gonna do this and it wasn't happening. And also feeling this really overwhelming sense of, and yet I still can't make myself do it. And so what is the problem?

And so some people might say that consistency is critical for success. And maybe that's true for some people and maybe that's a choice. What I will say is that if I hadn't procrastinated, if I hadn't been procrastinating for that time period, I would have just kept pushing myself and pushing myself to do this thing in a way that didn't feel good, that felt really out of alignment that I wasn't enjoying.  And so what I can say the plus side of that moment, that season, that period of procrastination was that it caused me to slow down, to stop, to assess what was going on, why I was behaving the way that I was behaving. 

Now, when I say that I have a goal, I have a thing that I want to produce in the world, I have something that I want to accomplish, and yet I'm not doing the actions that I believe I need to do to get there. I'm sure that that is something that is probably pretty relatable. So if I hadn't procrastinated, I would have just kept pushing and pushing and forcing myself to do this thing that felt really time consuming, overwhelming, and really unenjoyable. And so what slowing down forced me to do, the procrastination forced me to do, was to look at ‘Why was I doing this? What are my goals, my objectives? Is consistency really the most important thing in this moment?’ And in fact, it was not. I realized that what's more important to me is being in alignment and doing what feels good. And I would not have taken the time to assess that if I hadn't allowed myself to listen to that procrastination intuition that was telling me to just slow down. It was telling me to not do the thing that I had said I was gonna do. 

And so what I believe is that that procrastination was giving me a message and that message was slow down, take a look at what you're doing, why you're doing it. I had to ask myself, is the purpose of this podcast for me to deliver something every single week all the time, no matter what? Or is the purpose of the podcast for me to deliver something of value that is in alignment, that I'm enjoying putting out in the world? And it was 100 % the second one. And so I decided to just let it go for a couple of weeks. And in those couple of weeks, I A - listened to a number of other podcasts. I spent some time processing, how do I wanna go about doing this? How am I gonna do this? I allowed to come in a different way to go about doing it, which includes these cards that are in my hand right here, instead of a script. 

And I say script, I mean, I was carefully, meticulously writing as if I was trying to get an A on a term paper, guys. And so one of the podcasts I listened to during that time period was the We Can Do Hard Things podcast, which I listened to from time to time. And there was an episode that came out, episode 303 with Devon Price, PhD. Devon is a social psychologist, a professor, and an author. And this particular episode was entitled and also it's the title of Devon's book, most recent book, Laziness Does Not Exist. And so I was listening to that episode and reflecting on laziness and procrastination. And Amanda, one of the hosts of the podcast, read something from the book. And this is what she said, what she read from the book. “Under our current system, there's so much pressure to let all of your life be leached out of you in the service of making money and satisfying other people.” And so it really got me thinking about that question of like, what is the objective of this podcast? And, you know, anybody who's going to tell you to how to be successful at something, most people are going to tell you that consistency is the most important thing. 

And I've said it myself that consistency is really important that people can expect to hear from you, expect for you to show up in a certain way, right? And it also reminded me, thinking about this question of consistency, it reminded me of a training that I was on a little over a year ago with a leader in the digital marketing world, somebody who's incredibly successful. I have no doubt that there were hundreds if not thousands of women on this training call and and the call was about lead generation and on the call the woman facilitating it was talking about social media and showing up consistently on social media and on the platform like on all the platforms and the way to do it all the things that go with that right and somebody raised her hand and asked the question: ‘If I start doing this social media stuff the way you're talking about it, what happens if I need a break?’ And this woman, this leader who no doubt has a social media manager or two, a videographer, a copywriter or two or three, an assistant, an operations manager, all the people to operate what I have no doubt is a multi-million dollar if not you know, 10 plus million dollar business. No question about that, right? Her response to this question, what if I need to take a break, was, ‘you can't.’ And my heart just broke. I just thought about all of these women listening to this call who are solopreneurs, who do everything themselves, who maybe have an assistant, they're trying to get to their first six figures even if they're trying to, they're well past that and they're, you know, hitting a million dollars in their business that most people don't have the team to support never taking a break. And because they're doing everything themselves. 

And so this idea that we would teach women and teach entrepreneurs that you cannot take a break, to me is really, really misguided and really unfortunate that that would be a message that someone who's a leader in any industry would share, particularly in an industry that is about supporting women entrepreneurs who are, you know, a lot of women who are really purpose driven, really want to have big hearts and want to do things in the world. And so many of us that are high performers, right? That we want to do the best we can possibly do. 

And so back to this kind of thought, in business under our current system, our culture equates taking a break with quitting and our culture equates rest with laziness. There's an author, her name is Deborah Eden Tall, she wrote a book called Relational Mindfulness and a handful of years ago, I was at a retreat that she was co-hosting and she was talking about our ego that tells us that we have to go and drive and push and be productive. And that ego is fed and trained by our culture and capitalism and a system that was designed to use our human capital to make money for a small group of people, right?

And so we have been trained that rest is laziness and that if we are not being supremely productive all the time, that we will literally just turn into a blob. And she said that. She said, our ego will tell us that if we're not being productive, that we're not creating things, that we will just turn into a blob, we’ll become irrelevant, right? We will lose traction. We will lose our path. We will just be nothing. And that I believe to be true, that our culture tells us that and trains us that. I feel that, I have felt that so many times, that sense of like, I can't slow down, I can't stop, right? Our culture equates inconsistency with inadequacy. That if you are not consistent and you're not showing up the same way all the time, 100 % of the time, that you're not good enough, that there's somebody else who's gonna be more productive, more consistent, and that you're going to lose out to them because it's a zero-sum game and there's only so much to go around. Our culture equates procrastination with a moral failing and a character flaw that we have to repair. 

And this is something that I have struggled with for a long, long time personally because I'm a procrastinator. And we're going to get into the reasons why we might procrastinate. And one of those reasons for me, and I think for a lot of people, and a lot of people who are entrepreneurs, because entrepreneurs very often have some level of neurodivergency, have some level of what might be called the hunter brain or the driven brain, or might be diagnosed as ADHD, which I have a lot of feelings about, because it's not a disorder. It is the way that brains work that go pursue opportunities and take risks and create things that have never been created before. And brains that function that way need a certain level of stimulation in order to push and to go and to get the thing done. And so it's something that I've struggled with my whole life is like waiting until the very last minute, needing some level of pressure of intensity in order to push something through and to get something done. 

And so all of this then reminded me of an episode of a podcast that I listened to some years ago. I think it was in like 2019 or 2020. This episode, this podcast is called Jesse. It's created by a coach that I worked with a couple years after this. I had heard the podcast a couple years later, ended up coaching with him. His name's Jesse Elder and the podcast is on Apple. I don't know if it's anywhere else. It's called Jesse. And the episode is episode number 26, and it's called The Truth About Procrastination. And it's only six minutes. I highly recommend that you go check it out and listen to it. And this is what Jesse said in that episode. And it was the first time I ever heard this framed this way. And it really gave me a lot to think about. And there's some layers to this that I want to dig into. 

So what he said is, ‘procrastination is a spiritual self-defense. If you're not feeling inspired to do the thing that you set out to do, then forcing yourself to do the thing isn't always the right answer. If there's something you know you should do to get to where you wanna go and yet you're not absolutely inspired to go do it, there's a reason for that. And the reason is quite simply that you're not ready.’ 

And that really hit home with me because since becoming an entrepreneur, I have been surrounded at this point for 15 years by some really impressive, high performing people and have felt a sense for a lot of it of feeling like I need to keep up with this. I need to be doing what everybody's doing and listening to what, you know, there are some, I've worked with some brilliant coaches and been in some circles of people who are going places fast and furious. And many times I have felt like, I should go do that thing where somebody's telling me you need to go do this, you need to go do that, you need to, why don't you go do a Ted talk? Why don't you like… the list is long. And, and for many of those things, I felt like I just wasn't ready. And, and so one of the reasons as Jesse said, is that you're just not ready. 

And when I look back at my own procrastination,I can see how and delays things that at the time I perceived as delays or forks in the path where maybe I took the less direct route or whatever it was, that I can see that my inner being, myself, the part of me that knows what's best for me was holding me back for very specific reasons. And so I wanna talk about what those reasons are. So number one is, often that we're just not ready, right? And so maybe you're not ready to do the thing. Maybe you're not in that place yet. And if you're holding yourself to the standards of other people's time and someone else's timeline, someone else's schedule, you're looking at what other people are doing and you think you need to be there too, then it can be easy to fall into that trap of trying to push yourself to do things that you're not actually ready to do yet. 

And, the second reason is that maybe it doesn't feel safe. And this is an experience, I think, that many of us, especially in recent years, are starting to have an understanding of how our nervous systems work. And that often when we are triggered by something, it's because there are some experiences that we've had previously in our lives where we learned, our bodies learned, maybe our brain doesn't remember that those certain circumstances or those certain triggers are evidence of something being unsafe. And so often, you know, we will procrastinate because something truly our body is resisting doing it because it feels unsafe to us. It feels unsafe in our bodies. It feels unsafe in ourselves and forcing ourselves to go do those things that feel unsafe just puts a level of stress and strain on our nervous system that actually isn't healthy or good for us. 

The third reason is because it's out of alignment. And so I think this is a really, really huge one. This question of being out of alignment, that we can procrastinate doing things because it's just not the right thing for us to be doing. And so there's many times when I look back over my years of being behind the scenes supporting other people, creating some pretty epic stuff in their businesses that I would think, I know how to do this, I should go do it too, right? And I would start down the path of creating something or start down the path of moving in a particular direction that I would see a lot of other people moving in. And I would think, like, yeah, I should be doing this because this is what people are saying, this is what sells right now. People are saying, this is what works right now.

And then every cell in my body would just like put on the brakes and say, this is not for you. You just have to stop. And then I would go back to what I was doing before. And often I would feel really defeated and have that inner monologue that there's something wrong with me because I can't just go do this thing that other people are doing. But the truth is maybe that thing was aligned for them and that thing's not aligned for me. 

And what I've seen over all the years and the hundreds of businesses that I've, you know, been in behind the scenes working to support people is that no matter what the market says, no matter what the trends say, when somebody tries to do something that's out of alignment for them, it does not perform in the same way as it does for someone for whom that particular technique or tactic or strategy is in alignment for. I have seen it over and over and over again. I have seen people do “everything right” and have it not work. And I have seen people do “everything wrong” and have it produce killer results. And when I say wrong, I mean following, you know, what the trends are, what the best guidance is, you know, what the experts are saying. 

And so that factor of alignment is 100%, I believe, the most important thing. And so learning to discern for yourself what's in alignment, what you're ready for, what feels safe, and to start to ask yourself the questions if you feel yourself resisting something, if you feel yourself procrastinating something, asking yourself the question, am I actually ready for this? If I'm not ready for this, what do I need to do to get ready for this?

And so it's not about then just not doing the thing, right? It's asking the question, what do I need to do to get ready for this? What are the circumstances that would have to be in place in order for me to actually feel ready to do this thing? Does it feel unsafe? And if it doesn't, asking yourself, what is it about this that feels unsafe to me? What would I need to do in order to feel safe, in order to do this thing? And maybe it's somatic therapy, maybe it's EMDR. There's all sorts of mechanisms, methodologies out there to help to restore the nervous system. Maybe it is not tapping into your credit card in order to make an investment in something. It's getting yourself in the position that you have that money set aside so that you don't have to put yourself into a nervous system overload and stress in order to reach a thing or get to a thing. 

Whatever it is, what are the circumstances that you need to do and learning to ask yourself the questions like, what do I need to do in order to for this thing that I really want to do to actually feel safe? So that I'm not procrastinating it. I'm not putting myself into a really intense, uncomfortable situation, trying to reach for something that just doesn't feel right to me. 

And then the third is that question. If it feels out of alignment, then asking yourself, why are you doing it? Are you doing it because you think you should? Are you doing it because you think you have to? Are you doing it because all the people around you are doing it? And you're trying to keep up with them or you're trying to, you know, some coach, even if it's somebody that you respect, it's somebody who you really admire, there is nothing wrong with what they're teaching. It just might not be the right thing for you. And so starting to assess what's in alignment for you. And so that's what I, the conclusion that I came to with the podcast was that the way that I was going about doing it really just didn't feel aligned to me. It didn't feel good. And I just didn't want to do it that way. And so I was resisting and resisting.

And by taking that break and allowing myself that pause, I gave myself the opportunity to find the way that actually does feel good and to pick that back up and to move forward with the momentum of that versus just forcing myself to continue to do the thing that didn't feel good to do. And so does that mean, when you find yourself procrastinating, when you find yourself putting something off, and you start to ask yourself these questions. Am I ready for this? Does it feel safe? Is it in alignment for me? Does that mean that you should never, you should never push the edges of your comfort, that you should never stretch yourself to do something that feels like just beyond the grasp? And the answer to that is, of course not. 

Of course not. Of course, part of this whole adventure is pushing our boundaries. It's going a little bit beyond what's comfortable. It's stepping into something maybe before you're 100 % ready for it. But if you ask yourself that question, what do I need to do to get ready for this? And you position yourself so that when you make that step, you're prepared for what comes with it. Or when you ask yourself, does this feel unsafe? And if so, what do I need to do to make it feel safe? And you create those circumstances or you find the way to do it that's in alignment for you instead of a way that's out of alignment, then when you push yourself beyond that place that feels super comfortable, it will feel like a relief and it will feel like an expansion instead of feeling like a collapse, a constraint, an overwhelm. It will feel good when you make that step instead of feeling like you just violated yourself that you just violated your own boundaries, that you just pushed yourself into something that feels completely outrageous and unsafe and terrifying and completely not like yourself, right? 

And so that's my invitation to you is to start to look at procrastination as a tool to help you identify what's in alignment for you, what you're ready for, and if it's not alignment, if it's not if you're not ready for it if it doesn't feel safe to prompt you to ask the right questions in order to get yourself ready, in order to get yourself in a position where it feels safe, in order to find a way to put it in alignment to make it feel in alignment so that you can go do the thing that's perfectly right for you. And instead of looking at procrastination as something that is a moral failing, instead of looking at slowing down, resting, taking breaks, pausing, instead of looking at all of that as something that is a failing on your part, understand that all of that are things that we need to function as humans who listen to our intuition, who are aligning ourselves with the biggest and best opportunities for ourselves, and that is how we grow into all the impact, and that is how we grow to create all the impact that's possible for us. 

And so, my invitation to you is to listen to those moments where you feel like you're procrastinating, where you feel like something's not in alignment, where you feel like you're not ready, and ask yourself the questions, what do I need to do if I really want this? What do I need to do to do it in a way that's in alignment for me? And if I'm not ready or it feels unsafe, what do I need to do to get ready or to make it feel safe for me right now?

Lots of questions to sit with this week. And so until next time, I'm wishing you even more pleasure and profits and I will see you very soon.

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