There are many reasons we procrastinate and many tasks we do that are actually distractions keeping us from the work at hand. Procrastination turns into the thoughts that keep us awake at night. Below, I’ve highlighted some of the culprits and made suggestions to address them.
“I’m not in the mood”: Do you find yourself waiting to be in the mood before you get around to ‘x’? We
make the assumption that if we don’t feel like it
right now, we will later. If you want to be
motivated then get to it, the act of doing
can most times create motivation. Think
Newton’s law. Motivation, especially when
we’re attending to things we find challenging,
doesn’t come easy and needs a hand. As Nike
said so well, “Just Do It”.
“If it doesn’t come easy, maybe I shouldn’t be
doing it?”: So you’ve decided to take on the task but you’re running up against road blocks. Adopting an all or nothing attitude will surely lead to failure. Successful people persist; they don’t always feel confident or effortlessly complete their goals. Life can be arduous and frustrating but your best road to completion is to push through.
Fear of Failure (or success): This one can put us on the couch for weeks on end. When we’re afraid to fail we are hesitant to start. Breaking this cycle means accepting that mistakes and setbacks are a part of getting there. The bumpy road sometimes leads to new discovery and better solutions. Newton didn’t invent the light bulb the first time he set out.
Perfectionism: Lowering your standards is not often advice that people like to hear but the level of stress and stagnation that perfectionism demands is debilitating. Society highlights the perfect but if you look at life it’s often the imperfect that moves us. A healthy pursuit of excellence will get you further every day. Relax, you don’t have to compare yourself to the unattainable.
You Said Yes: It’s stressful to agree to things
we don’t want to do and we tend to put these
things off. Sometimes you have to take a ‘do
it and be done’ approach. Your best bet is
the next time someone asks you to do
something, remember - you have a choice.
Realize you have the option to say ‘no’. I
could write a book on “no”, the toughest
two letter word in the dictionary.
By now you’ve got the message that putting if
off til tomorrow just doesn’t work. Your best bet is to identify your goal and be clear about the ‘why’, recognize the benefit it will bring (this is a great big picture motivator), make a very specific plan (right down to when you’ll start), and make sure that the goals you set are realistic. We all suffer from taking on too much. I believe in approaching any task in bite sized bits. Remind yourself that it’s not always going to be enjoyable or easy but if you’re clear around why you’re doing it, you can push through the hurdles that are bound to show up, and ‘perfect’ just doesn’t exist. If you take a step in a positive direction today, you’re more likely to do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.