It's the end of another month!!! Already? Where does time go?
Did you get any Spring cleaning done in this first month of Spring? No... me either - well not as much as I would have like to have done 😉
So why do think that is? I might throw a word out there for you and see if it resonates.... "Procrastination"!
Ah yes, there it is - "Procrastination" = the action of delaying or postponing something.
So why do we do this? Everybody procrastinates at some point, but some people avoid their unwanted obligations so much that it results in a downward spiral of emotions that has a snowball effect.
The three main reasons I see (and know all too well) are:
Perhaps you are worried you might make a mistake in what you need to do and expose a weakness. The fear of making mistakes is a real thing, and it can cause people to put off some of their important obligations for another day.
#2 'Fear of the Unknown'!
So picture this: You notice one day that a new mole has appeared on your skin. You start to get anxious that it may be cancerous, so you avoid getting it checked out and just hope it goes away on its own. Does this sound like you? Sometimes people are afraid of taking action because it may reveal a truth that they do not want to hear.
As it turns out, the old phrase "What you don't know can't hurt you" isn't really true. In almost every case, if you ignore something for a long period of time, hoping it will go away, it will only get worse.
#3 'I'll do it later'!
This common excuse is a reminder that you can work on the pending task later on. You imagine that in just a few hours or a couple of days you will have the perfect opportunity to accomplish your goal. You think you have nothing to do later on and have plenty of time.
However, this creates a strong disconnect between how you will ideally feel in the future and how you will actually feel in the future.
So, ask yourself these few important questions, when you think about procrastination:
So what can be done about it? Well, you could just bite the proverbial bullet and DO IT NOW! Sounds easy enough... and sometimes taking this leap of faith (in oneself) is actually quite gratifying! You will thank yourself later. But note that this action does require you to act quickly... before you give you mind time to start thinking!
The issues with procrastination are that unless it is just due to pure laziness, it is often actually linked to anxiety. Just the thought of having to complete something will trigger the feelings of anxiousness, which immediately delay any action of moving forward. Then the more you think about it, the more anxious you get, and the more procrastination sets in.
So how do you deal with that? How do you stop the feelings of anxiety creeping in that cause your procrastination in the first place? What are a couple of simple techniques that can get you over the hump?
Breathing sounds too easy but it is often something you don't focus on. By focusing on your breath, through deep breath work you are able to trick your mind (or sidetrack it) from the thought at hand.
So when you have a task in mind that you need to tackle, before you start to think about all the reasons why it can wait till later... Stop and focus on your breath, breathe deeply in and out to the count of ten - then immediately start the task you had in mind.
If it is a task that you need to get done (amongst the million other things) but cannot attack it straight away... then writing down a priority list is a simple and pro-active technique.
Take a minute or two to think about what you need to achieve today - the main tasks. Write them down on a piece of paper as they come to mind. Now re-look at your list and re-write a new list putting the most important task at the top and work your way through to the least important. Now you can carry on your day and tick off each item as it is completed.
Not only does the visual act of seeing ticks of completion spur us on to continue our tasks at hand, but we are filled with a feeling of accomplishment, and the power behind that emotion is more positive and stronger than the emotion of anxiety and will often be what keeps you moving forward.
* If for any reason you start thinking about procrastination (why you should put something off), then go back to the 'breathwork' technique, and then continue to tackle your list.
These are only a couple of simple techniques that are tried and tested and have worked greatly for myself and others... try them out, see if they work for you and leave a comment on your experience or any other techniques you have used to overcome 'procrastination'!