If you’re anything like me, then life tends to yo-yo between being crazily busy, spinning what feels like hundreds of plates simultaneously in a circus act, or secretly procrastinating, avoiding having to feel so busy.
Sometimes that procrastination is fun – like catching up with friends – but sometimes it’s just ‘wasted’ time. I mean, how many cute animal videos can a girl possibly NEED to watch on Facebook before lunchtime on a Monday?
Either way, that ‘to do’ list turns into a hungry toddler or an un-walked Labrador if you procrastinate. It screams for attention and serves you up a massive dollop of guilt and beating yourself up.
So I’m curious: would you like to know the mindset shift I use to put an end to procrastination, once and for all? It’s a simple 3-part reframe, and it doesn’t even hurt. In fact, it frees me up to do more of what I really want to do.
Yes? Then read on!Listen to today’s podcast:
I have a confession to make:
Hello, my name is Clare, and I am a champion procrastinator.
You too? Fabulous! Lovely to meet you!
So before we dive into the 3 reasons why you need to stop procrastinating now, how about a quick tour of why we put off doing things?
The bottom line is that, sometimes, there’s stuff we really don’t want to do. So we would rather do anything else available to distract ourselves. But there’s more to it than that.
Sometimes the stuff we’re putting off is stuff we’re not really meant to be doing. It’s not your Monkey – its someone else’s. So resentment triggers the procrastination.
Or maybe your body and mind desperately need a rest. Perhaps you’ve spent your energy reserves and the procrastination is a way of unconsciously filling time, while you wait to recharge your battery. But the problem is that your battery is unlikely to recharge while you’re using up your energy with pointless distractions…
Useful fact: If you catch yourself procrastinating, chances are it means you were ‘out of flow’ – not in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.
Then it’s better to stop and look at your options than to continue wasting time.
Three Reasons Why You Need To STOP Procrastinating – NOW:
1. If you’re not looking forward to something, then surely it’s better to have it done, than to keep dreading it?
We build stuff up into mountains. We tell ourselves stories about how bad it will be. [Is your Monkey Mind Telling You The Truth About Stress?] We create drama and feel those emotions, as though the event we were putting off is actually happening to us. In fact, your body triggers those same chemical reactions EVERY time you imagine the event. So you live the physical, mental and emotional stress of it every time you think of it.
If you stopped procrastinating and just DID it, then you only need to feel the stress once.
And experience has taught us that those events or jobs are rarely as bad as we were telling ourselves they might be.
And if you need extra motivation, focus on how good you will feel when it is done. That relief is an excellent motivator.
2. If you ‘have to’ do it at some point, you might as well get it done now and spend longer enjoying it being done.
This one is brilliant for things that actually aren’t so bad, but we just put them off.
For example, if you’re putting off tidying up your office space or kitchen or car, you can either put up with it being a mess for ages, or just get it done and then spend the ‘ages’ enjoying it being clean and tidy.
Which would you prefer? It just takes a little motivation and you get to enjoy your reward for longer.
3. Treat procrastination as your ‘early warning sign’.
Often we procrastinate because we’re out of flow. We’re doing things that no longer resonate with us or don’t feel aligned with our passion. I’m not saying you should feel passionate about cleaning the toilet, though some do. I’m talking about when we’re generally ‘off course’ or doing things that don’t lead us towards our visions or dreams or goals.
In these cases, stop procrastinating and use the time you would otherwise have wasted on Distractify to take a step back and look at what’s missing – what’s out-of-kilter in your life? And which actions could you take today, to turn things around?
In these cases, procrastination is your friend, trying to get your attention, so you take positive action to turn things around.
How to stop procrastinating? You need the 3Ds:
Do. Delegate. Ditch.
If it needs to be done, just do it.
If it’s someone else’s job or not your Zone of Genius, delegate it (yes, I know, asking for help can feel scary!).
If it’s not really important, how about ditching it? Just drop it off your ‘to do’ list and feel the sense of relief.
What kinds of things normally see you procrastinating?
I’d love to hear from you: are you currently stuck procrastinating?
What kinds of things do you love to avoid? Are they really your jobs? Are they a signal that you’re off-track?
And how might you motivate yourself to let go of procrastinating and just get stuff done (or ditched or delegated) today?
Let me know via the comments.
With love, Namaste,