So, there I was sitting at my desk, staring at the blank computer screen.
Waiting patiently (well, maybe not so patiently!) for the words to come.
Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.
So I began to think of all the other important things I “could” be doing…
I’ll do laundry…
I’ll do the dishes…
I’ll hit the internet for more research (yeah, right!)…
I’ll take a nap…
Or take the dog for a walk…
I’ll check my email (even though I’d done that 5 minutes before)…
I’ll schedule a root canal. Yes, that’s it! Even that will be better than the excruciating pain of my blank screen.
And, yes, while all of those things may have needed to be done (well, maybe not the root canal), what they really reflected were my go-to procrastination saboteurs.
We all have them. Those activities that steer us away from what we know we ought to be doing in the present moment. They are particularly powerful when we’re scared, frustrated, confused, insecure about what we’re supposed to do. Rather than face those feelings, all we want to do is run…and run fast.
But that’s not productive. It doesn’t serve our higher purpose, our vision, our goals. It only takes us further away.
So what do you do when all you want to do is run?
While there is no single technique to help you overcome procrastination, here are some tips to try:
Connect with your big WHY?
Your big WHY is the reason you do what you do. It might be your purpose, your vision, or a goal you’ve set for yourself. Your big why connects you emotionally to what you want to achieve, it gets to the heart of the matter. Knowing your big WHY helps you hang in there when life gets in the way.
WHY do you want to lose weight?
WHY do you own your own business?
WHY do you teach?
WHY do you write?
WHY do you coach?
What is ONE thing you could do to progress?
Oftentimes we procrastinate when a goal or task seems just too big. It’s helpful to break it down. Ask yourself, “what is ONE thing I could do to get closer to my goal/ finish my project/write this paper?” Do that. Then ask yourself the question again.
Action (even small actions) inspires momentum. You’ll surprise yourself how much you can accomplish taking one small step after another.
Don’t forget to reward yourself for a job well done. Rewards can be a powerful motivator to complete a task or project. Maybe you reward yourself with a massage, manicure, walk in nature, lunch with a friend.
Do the most important thing first.
Have a difficult task? Tackle it first thing in the day when you are refreshed and have the energy. You’ll gain the satisfaction of completing a difficult task, which in turn creates energy and momentum to tackle the other task on your list.
The idea of perfection is probably the single most influential factor I see in my clients who procrastinate. Yep. The need to be perfect drives us (even though we know, deep down, that perfection isn’t possible). And, when we fear imperfection, we stall. How would your life, your work, your relationships, your family, be transformed if you embraced the idea of imperfection? Taking the perfection gremlin off the table will give you more freedom, creativity, energy. Go ahead, give it a try.
Procrastination happens. And it doesn’t just happen to the “slackers”, unmotivated or lazy. Some of the most successful people I know fall prey to procrastination. The key is that they don’t let procrastination win. They use the tools they know to get back in action.
Don’t let procrastination win. You have the tools.
Have a great week and enjoy your learnings.
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