Lots of you who have been reading my recent blogs already have a clear picture of the goal you want to work towards. However, avoidance, not ability, can be the biggest stumbling block to achieving this success! Well… not anymore. Today I want to give you some handy tricks to help you move outta your avoidance funk.
So firstly what drives procrastination?
First and foremost, procrastination is merely a habit, not a life sentence. Often people will describe themselves as lazy or unmotivated. They can sometimes use this as a get outta jail card for any goal or task. Often we use ‘avoidance’ as a strategy to self-soothe ourselves and keep ourselves ‘safe’ and ‘secure’. And although you may have created this strong belief internally as part of your self-identity, I do think it can be challenged and adapted. Let’s take a moment. How would you describe your work ethic, organisation skills and commitment to the things and people you love? Maybe it’s your pet, your family or your love of plants or cooking. You see when we are taking care of a passion and we create positive beliefs around it, the motivation just seems to flow.
So how do we tap into that state of flow with big life decisions when we feel our procrastination habit kick in?
Some of you reading this will know deep deep down that you need to leave your relationship or change your job or move somewhere else, but you are stalling!! This is a totally natural response. Remember, our mind doesn’t welcome the thought of change at first. Let’s get behind these decisions with this short activity.
What’s the vibe: excitement and fear OR dread and fear?
Let’s be very frank; every big life decision brings up fear. This is our natural human response to change. HOWEVER, I believe that you can categorise your life decisions into two groups; decisions that make you excited and fearful (but in a good way) or decisions that fill you with dread and fear.
- To start make a list of some of the life decisions that are going around in your mind at the moment. It could be your health, career, money, family, friendships, or your intimate partner- the list is endless. Try to be as specific as you can.
- Now read back through the list. All of these may stir up some level of fear but which ones fill you with excitement and which ones fill you with dread? Beside each situation, write the word excited or dread.
- Take a moment to consider how you spent these last 7 days. Where did your energy go- was it to the exciting list or the dreaded list? Often we tend to let the dreaded list get all our attention. This means we have no energy left over for the exciting dream, let alone procrastinate on any task connected to this list.
- Your challenge this week is to bring a little more focus to this exciting list. When we are in good energy, we are more likely to action things and often that dreaded list gets completed by default or no longer seems important.
So how do I ACTUALLY get things done in my day to day life?
- Just start and tell yourself ‘I’m just going to do this for 5 minutes’. All the research shows that if you give just 5 minutes to the task you are putting off, you are 80% more likely to keep going and keep working on it.
- Make it achievable. I will often make a list at the start of my day and it often ends up being a LONG list. Then I circle the 3 things that are a priority. So even if I don’t get through everything, I make sure I do those 3 things
- Make it desirable. So much of our life can feel mundane, especially doing life admin. Whenever I notice myself feeling particularly allergic to doing a task, I change it up. I find a new place to sit/work. I make myself a nice drink or snack. I put on some relaxing music in the background and I set my timer. Sometimes we just have to romanticise our life a little more!
- Outsource- you don’t have to do everything or know everything. If certain things in your life are weighing you down, just think who can I ask for help? For example, I am not good at Maths or taxes, so I pay someone to do it. It might mean I get less money in my account because I have to pay the accountant fee but I have no motivation to learn how to do it. It would also take a lot of my time to learn and I value my time too much.
How do I decipher between honouring my need to rest, and also getting things done?
This is a common question when it comes to procrastination, especially if you have been a go-getter in the past or burnt out from doing too much. The hustle culture and the pressure to be in a state of doing ALL the time is massive, something I am actively working to change in myself. However, I sometimes notice that I am putting off things and perhaps using this idea of ‘rest’ as an excuse. So this is my handy list that I use.
Think of the task at hand:
- Who am I doing this for? Is it me or is it because I feel I should?
- Do I feel excitement or dread when I think about this?
- Am I being put off this little task today because I am worried about future stories?
This last question is a crucial one because often our mind can run so far into the future. It starts thinking of all the possible outcomes from doing this one task and then the next thing you know we are procrastinating and dumping the task in the ‘too hard’ basket.
So if you have stayed me with this long, you know what is coming next: YOUR CALL TO ACTION!! To all my fellow procrastinators out there; what is one thing you could do right now that you have been putting off? Instead of scrolling to the next thing on social media, close this tab and go and do that one task- even if it’s just for 5 minutes.
You will feel all the better for it.