Most of us are familiar with the fine art of procrastination.
It’s a definition we know well; procrastination is all about putting things off or delaying…
Until another day…
Until another time…
Until you finish watching five more YouTube videos about sloths crossing the road or quintuplet babies giggling their adorable little faces off.
(You’ve seen those, right?)
Some of us do the whole procrastination thing with such finesse. That’s why I like to think of it as an art form.
Kind of elevates procrastination to higher level.
I can also get quite creative when I’m at my procrastinating best. Being creative always makes me feel productive and proud.
In a way, procrastination clears the deck time-wise for the focus necessary to do other things.
Other more creative and worthy things.
In a weird way, my imagination usurps procrastination with the respect warranted by creative goodness.
Look there’s a squirrel.
The other thing I notice about procrastination is that there’s a correlation with mindless house chores. I become aware of dust on the bookshelf. And get caught up on laundry. Funny how this kind of thing moves to the TOP of the list when I’m at my procrastinating best.
Why can’t we just get our shit done?
Such a great question! So simple really, isn’t it? It’s pretty straightforward to understand when you don’t love what you have to do. Makes perfect sense to delay this kind of stuff.
But the question I love to think about is WHY we don’t do the things WE WANT TO DO?
I saw a pretty sad picture on Facebook of my son trying to write a paper in the university library. His friend thought his sullen adorable face was embarassment-worthy. He looked so sad in the first picture. The next day, another photo surfaced. He was literally asleep on the library table, computer open, papers strewn about.
Was he tired? Maybe.
But did he really, really, really want this paper finished?
He had mastered the fine art of procrastination too.
The reason you procrastinate is because of your thinking.
Thoughts create feelings. There are feelings that result in procrastination and feelings that don’t. For example, when you feel motivated, you are less likely to procrastinate.
Thinking things like “I can always do this later” or “I’m confused” are examples of thoughts that don’t create motivation. Another thought that will slow you right down is “I work better under pressure.” Even though this sounds like a simple observation, it’s a thought that basically gets you off the hook until you’re down to the wire. It’s a thought, not a fact.
Thoughts are optional.
Another interesting thought that doesn’t serve you is “I always procrastinate.” This thought typically creates feelings like hopeless and non-confidence. What happens next? You give up and simply accept that procrastination is going to happen. However, this is another optional thought that doesn’t motivate you. It doesn’t make you feel good about yourself. You don’t have to think it, especially after you understand how it makes you feel.
Here are 3 tips to help you procrastinate less.
There are lots of ideas out there to help you with anti-procrastination strategies, like chunking up the work on your “to do” list and rewarding yourself when you accomplish the task. However, mindfulness strategies should not be overlooked! Here are some solid tips for cleaning up your mental hygiene when it comes to procrastinating less.
Decide in advance how you want to FEEL when you’re doing the task at hand. Feelings are one word vibrations in your body. Here are some examples that will help you get things done: happy, motivated, proud, fired up, excited, capable, confident, relieved, determined. Think carefully about what you would have to think to produce the feeling you want. If the thought, “I love knowing that I will get this done quickly” makes you feel relieved, which leads to working on it, then you know you’re on to something.
Practice thinking the thoughts that you know create feelings that help you get your work done. Practice it like anything else in your life that you have to practice. It might feel unnatural at first, but the more you practice it, the more normal it will become. You may have to write down what you need to think to remind yourself. That’s OK. Sticky notes rock. The important thing is to help yourself!
Think about how you will feel it’s done. Allow yourself to feel the relief, the pride, the accomplishment. Quick…what thought did you have that created that feeling? That’s real. That thought is available to you as well. Remember it. Appreciate the fact that you understand what’s going on in your mind. Love that you’re learning how to be a person who procrastinates less.
Want to learn more about what’s going on up there?
Mental hygiene is where it’s at and life coaching is a great way to clean things up. Click here to book a free, no obligation consult and let’s talk! You can also download 10 surprisingly simple steps to bust out of your midlife funk – FREE!