Procrastination is a modern-day luxury. Two hundred years ago, if you had to do something and didn’t do it, it likely meant that you or your children would freeze or go hungry. This one sentence is the key to understanding procrastination. If you’ve been procrastinating something, consider these two things.

It’s not Important

If it’s been on your to-do list for weeks, months, or years, it is not life-or-death. If it were that important, you would have already done it, or you wouldn’t be reading this. If you acknowledge that it is not essential, you may just decide to drop it off your list forever and focus on the things that deserve your attention.

You Don’t Want to Do It

If it’s been on your to-do list for weeks, months, or years and you haven’t done it, it’s because you don’t want to. If you’re telling yourself, “Yes, I do want to lose weight!” or “Yes, I do want to get a better job!” think again. Peoples’ capacity for resisting something they want is meager. Just think of that last food craving you had; odds are, you ate the pizza. If you say you want something, but aren’t doing it, find out your real motivation by asking yourself, “why?” three times. Here’s an example of how that might go:

Ex: I want to hire a consultant.

Why? Because I want to make more money.

Why? So I can give my children a better life.

Why? Because they deserve the absolute best.

Once you know the underlying motivation, it will be more clear if you need to keep that item on your list and hire a consultant like Eyal Gutentag, or if there’s another path to achieving your core motivation.

If it’s not important and you don’t want to do it, then don’t! Otherwise, figure out what you want by understanding your real motivation.