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Overcoming Fear and Procrastination

Overcoming Fear and Procrastination

john mccain

So many of us truly desire to achieve some pretty special goals, but it can be really difficult to get started. A lot of times we blame it on time, but we'd argue it's something else. After all, the Magna Planner is supposed to help you with time! Here are two of the most common reasons we procrastinate.


Perfectionism can be the root of procrastination, anxiety, or burnout. For me, it usually manifests itself in research. When I'm afraid I won't do something just right, I can spend hours and hours researching every possible angle. But truly, I will never know enough, and usually, learn better and quicker if I just start. Remember, most of the time, done is better than perfect.


If you haven't started something, it's likely fear is holding you back in some way. Fear of failure is a common one, but a lot of times it can be a fear of the unknown. When Cassandra and I are worried about making a decision, we actually answer the "What ifs?" "What would we do if X, Y, or Z happened?" Then, we work out a quick little plan. When we really examine our fears, we often find that they are unfounded, not as bad we think they are, or totally conquerable. We discover that we actually have the tools, grit, and resources to combat them. Another question you can ask yourself is, "What could go right?"  

What to do instead: 

Make plans for your fears.

The next time you're worried about something, make a list of all of your fears. Then, make a plan to address each one. 

Example: I'm worried I won't get the job and won't be able to pay my mortgage this month. 

Plan: I will apply to drive for Lyft in the meantime. 


Further Reading: Why We Procrastinate When We Have Long Deadlines by Meng Zhu with Harvard Business Review

Key Takeaways: 

  • The longer the deadline, the more difficult you may think the project really is. 
  • Short deadlines on urgent tasks elicit attention. Tasks with time constraints are more likely to get done, and you are less likely to procrastinate. 
  • For longer and more complex projects, remind yourself of the final payoff of following through will mean. 

Key Quotes:

  • Parkinson’s law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” 
  • When faced with multiple deadlines for tasks that vary in importance, people regularly pursue less-important assignments with shorter deadlines than more-important assignments with longer deadlines. Read more –>

    Further Listening: Derek Sivers Podcast.

    Derek SiversThis is the newest podcast on the block that I have begun to enjoy. There are close to 50 episodes, but you could actually listen to all of them in a couple of hours because each episode is usually only 1-4 minutes long. Despite being short, each word comes laced with meaning and value.

    I encourage you to listen to what this a one-time circus clown, entrepreneur, TED speaker, and now a full-time writer has to say. 

    Favorite Episodes:


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