6.15pm on Sunday night. About 30 hours ago I promised myself I’d put pen to paper just to practice my blog writing skills. “If your going to launch a blog Abby, you need to be able to write consistently.” Are you familiar with that ‘voice’?
I’m mean she’s pretty much right, but for me she comes across so demanding! I know, I know…more kindness to yourself, more compassion Abby. I’m working on that too!
With no plans yesterday, my task was not an unreasonable ask. Suddenly however, everything else became so much more important. I needed to clean my bookshelf, my office, my house, clear my inbox and maybe I should study some more too. “I’m just not feeling it.” I’ll read a chapter of my new book, then I’ll feel inspired and I’ll have a cup of tea, I’ll just check Facebook and update my linked in profile. Oh dear…it’s 8pm.
By this stage I had forced myself to sit in front of the computer and about three sentences of dribble came out. They didn’t even make sense? A mess of a mind, a rat race, jumping from one thing to the next. I retired to the fact, that I just don’t have inspiration today. There is no point forcing water out of stone, or in my case, greatness out of the squirrel brain! But I promise I’ll be better tomorrow, I will have this done by the end of tomorrow.
Procrastination, it’s a big one for many people. A block that just stands up in front of you and for whatever reason you struggle to move past it. We all know of procrastination, sometimes it only lasts a few hours and sometimes years. It can be more prominent in certain areas of our lives than others. Quite simply it’s a delay, postponing an action to a later time.
So how is this really effecting you?
- Your making the task seem harder and harder the longer you put it off. The brain is forming patterns to tell you this is dangerous, scary, threatening, destructive and so on. Every time you put it off it’s going make it that little bit harder to find the inspiration to pick it back up.
- Your falling into guilt or shame because your not taking action on something you promised yourself you would. Sometimes this leads to stress, anxiety and negative self talk.
- Your stuck in a ongoing cycle. Your telling yourself it’s ok to hold off, it’s ok to wait for exactly the right time. It’s likely you will employ this tactic with another task that comes up that you just can’t face rather than confronting the action and breaking the bad habit cycle.
- Your wasting time and energy. Every minute you put this off you could have been doing something else, something beyond this task moving you closer to your end goal. Every ounce of brain power that dwells in the thought of prolonging this task is energy wasted that you could have put towards forward momentum or a new task.
Can you see how it lets us down?
Sunday afternoon rolls around. I’m still wasting precious time and energy thinking about how and when this will happen. What would I possibly write? Suddenly the tiniest spark of inspiration flashes in my mind. I can see what I’m doing with this procrastination thing now and I grab on tight to this idea. Yet still, let me just make a cup of tea, check instagram and then I’ll get started!
How can you get to this point?
- Shine light on what it is your procrastinating about. Bring it to life, tell other people. This makes it seem not as bigger deal as your making it out to be.
- Ask yourself why your actually needing to get this task done. What’s the bigger picture? the end result? Why will you be better off once you get this done?
- Don’t make it harder than it is. Stop that negative voice that’s taking things way out of proportion, that’s creating a warped perception of what it is your actually trying to achieve.
- Just do it. Promise yourself you’ll focus on the task for at least 15min or an hour. Just get started, once you jump the initial hurdle you’ll be surprised how the rest will just flow!
6.30pm Sunday night…I’d promised myself once and for all that I’d get this minor task done. I’d been at it for 15 minutes now and yes, the inspiration had started to flow…my phone rings and yes, I answered it and roll my eyes at myself at the same time as it’s just another distraction. After 15 minutes the call drops out. The universe it telling me now…Abby, just do it!
Finally, by busting through your procrastination blocks you will allow many great feelings to flood on in. Accomplished, proud, at ease, empowered, focused and free. Free to move on to the bigger and better things that are calling you.