Your job as a yoga teacher is more than just teaching a class. You put a lot of thought into the preparation such as writing your sequences and scripts, creating playlists and collecting mantras, quotes and affirmations to make your classes meaningful. Online and in person you promote your classes, make an effort to inform your (future) students or clients of where they can find you, what you offer, and how this improves their lives. Chances are that you also write a weekly email, entertain your social media following, spend time bookkeeping, and try hard to stay informed about your yogic studies. At least, that’s what you would like to do, but procrastination keeps creeping up on you. In this blog, I’m looking at why you postpone your yoga teacher tasks and procrastinate. I’m going to explain how this stops your growth.
What actually is procrastination?
Procrastination is often described as having the intention of doing something, yet postponing completing it. When you procrastinate, you delay your responsibilities, tasks, wishes or goals. It might be because you overthink or overcomplicate them. But, it could also be because of a type of fear, resistance and even a lack of understanding of procrastination. Almost always, procrastination results in more stress.
People that procrastinate a lot often refer to the term ‘impostor syndrome’. Impostor syndrome is an emotional circumstance in which you believe your achievements are not real or that you don’t deserve praise or success for them. You also don’t think you are capable of achieving what you want to or what others expect of you. You might feel you’re not experienced, knowledgeable, or skillful enough to have been or be responsible for success. It could well be one of the reasons why you postpone your yoga teacher tasks and procrastinate.
The pros of procrastination
In our society, procrastination often gets judged or is labeled as something negative. But, procrastination also has positive qualities.
For example: You want to organise a workshop for new mums. It’s your first time and you don’t really know how to organise yourself and what content to include. But, you know you need to make it happen at some point.
When we procrastinate, we put off important tasks and decisions. Often we postpone making the essential foundational decisions such as securing venue deposits and confirming dates. Those official things seem like big commitments we might not feel ready for, so we delay. Our brains prefer the smaller things that we can change later.
So, you catch yourself thinking about all the details: we find ourselves playing with flyer designs, what essential oils to bring, and pondering the workshop details like worksheet activities. Maybe these things shouldn’t be a priority now, but they do need to be thought about properly at some point!
Procrastination can be good because we overthink smaller things ahead of time, meaning we don’t forget them or leave them until the last minute. It can help you to build on your ideas, allow yourself to become more creative and consider new options, aims, or designs. They help you to connect with your audience and think through the details earlier. It means you make better considered decisions throughout the process.
Think of it as brainstorming to really offer the best you can. It’s likely your clients will notice those details and add to the overall good impression you need to give.
The cons of procrastination
Procrastination in moderation can have pros, and putting something off once in a while shouldn’t be a big deal. However, overthinking and procrastination can soon become long-term (chronic). Chronic procrastination often happens due to lack of confidence, clarity or fears (I’ll explain these fears in the free webinar: Overcoming Procrastination By Using Your Yoga Teacher Toolbox). It can cause stress, anxiety and fatigue. Some other common symptoms are feeling stuck, trapped or caught in a pattern. It’ll not surprise you that procrastination limits your growth and potential and really could have a negative effect on your self-worth and overall well-being.
Chronic procrastination could also be a sign of a condition such as depression, ADD, ADHD or anxiety. But, for most of us, procrastination is often an emotional reaction to something that you don’t feel ready to do. The idea of performing or carrying out the task is so unpleasant that you would rather sabotage yourself or the situation. You feel that you either don’t have the ability or the willingness to confront it. Overthinking and procrastination are obstacles that stop you from being who you are and who you could be. Let’s find out why you postpone your yoga teacher tasks and procrastinate!
Why you postpone your yoga teacher tasks and procrastinate
Being an all-round yoga teacher is a diverse job and requires a lot more than you might have imagined when you first obtained your Yoga Teacher Certificate. It could be that you’re working multiple jobs or teaching many, many classes. Over the years, with technology and online yoga becoming more popular, the yoga teaching market and teachers’ responsibilities have changed dramatically. Staying up-to-date can feel overwhelming.
Have a look at the following statements – do you recognise yourself in one of them?
- How do I continue? I feel stuck, lost, or don’t know what to do next
- Where do I start? or I don’t know how to start
- I don’t have time, or I have too much on my plate
These are some very common thoughts and beliefs among procrastinators. When you’re in the middle of it, it might feel that that really is the case. But as a yoga teacher, you know best, that there’s always a deeper problem: the root problem.
The root problem of procrastination comes down to self-doubt, lack of confidence, unrealistic goals or lack of clarity. The good news is that you don’t need to gain self-confidence before you can continue with your plans. Do the exercise below to take your first step into learning to beat procrastination so that you can do the things you keep postponing. As you finally complete these tasks, your self-confidence will grow!
In our next blog, I’ll speak about productivity for yoga teachers and help you reduce procrastination by learning how to trust yourself and improve confidence. But, for today, I want you to do some introspection and practise Svadhyaya: self-study.
Reflect and meditate on your root problem
Sit down and write or reflect on the following questions:
- In your yoga teaching career, what do you delay doing when you procrastinate? (e.g. writing a sequence, starting your online yoga business, shooting yoga classes for YouTube).
- Listen to your emotions when you think about the thing you’re neglecting when procrastinating. (e.g. I feel a fear of failure, I feel useless or unprepared, I’m bored and can’t be bothered).
- Examine and write down the root of these thoughts and emotions (e.g. I feel scared that others are better than me, I don’t feel I have the skills or knowledge or I can’t be bothered because my goals are unrealistic).
- Look at the reasons ‘why’ you came up with in question 3. Now turn your reasons for procrastination into the opposite of your problem (e.g. ‘I’m afraid I don’t have the skills or knowledge’ = make an effort to pick up your studies; do research and obtain the skills and knowledge you need. ‘My goals are unrealistic’ = set smaller goals or make a step-by-step plan; you’re not in a rush.)
AND MAKE IT WORK!
- Be realistic and decide how much time you really need to get through your tasks, goals and to-do list. Plan it in your diary and stick to your plan. Turn off all distractions and take your procrastination seriously! The more often you actually follow up on your plans and do the things you need to do, the more you’ll learn to trust yourself.
- Finished your task(s)? Celebrate! Treat yourself for every little win! This doesn’t only make you feel better about the little achievements you make – it also helps your mind to see what you are capable of. You deserve to be rewarded for your efforts!
On the 1st of September 2021, I’m hosting a live webinar for Overcoming Procrastination By Using Your Yoga Teacher Toolbox. Register for the webinar below.