Want to Kick Procrastination to the Curb? Here's How.
The art of putting things off. My oh my, we are GOOD at that, right? If there was an award for it, I’m sure at some point we’ve ALL been inline to give the acceptance speech and hold the heavy gold plated trophy in our hands for procrastination. Think Gwyneth Paltrow, yup, that’s it.
As individuals, we are a powerhouse of possibility. We are capable, driven, passionate beings who want to achieve and taste sweet success. Yet, sometimes we just tread water. We faff, we add to lists to ensure we avoid the glaringly obvious thing we should be doing that will move us forward. We create amazing avoidance tactics. For instance, whilst writing this article? I chose, to get off my bottom and move all of my books upstairs, plus, paint half a bannister. Yup. I sure did. Double jeopardy!
We are ALL seemingly at the hands of both our internal stagnator, procrastinator and saboteur.
So how do we shift from stagnation to movement – the right movement I mean? Well, firstly, its about harnessing positive discomfort, and opting in, to challenge and stretch. A ship in the harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. Their purpose? Their opportunity? Journey, exploration, discovery, the new and unchartered territory.
This resilient powerhouse is not built to be stagnant, and, neither are you, darling.
If you don’t travel outside of your comfort zone you may not travel far. This, in turn, will impact your growth and potential, gifting you only with the ‘bubble wrap’ effect. You are not pottery, you don’t need wrapping, fact.
Putting things off in life, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. Its easy to beat ourselves up about it, but this approach isn’t going to help.
Alfred Adler, the founder of Adlerian Psychology once said “Trust movement, life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement”.
I see this as a visual of pebbles in your shoes. Have you ever been on a beach and got a pebble in your shoe? I imagine so. What did you do? Walk along with it in, hobbling along looking like you’re some kinda fool? Come on….. no, you kicked it out, right? Instinctually you dealt with it. Your movement would be impaired otherwise.
When we shift this metaphor to your current reality, it’s about realising that you need to break the behavioural patterns that block your balance, energy and results.
The key to overcoming the stuck-ness is simply a case of spending a greater proportion of your day on tasks that are within your flow. The degree to which you can do this is the degree to which you will THRIVE.
The first thing we need to do? Define when you are in flow, and when you are stuck.
Here’s a quickfire way that will assist you to adopt a new way of working. Pen and paper at the ready….. dived it into two columns, and let’s begin.
Left, write ‘Things I do when I am procrastinating’, right column ‘Things I do when I am in functioning at my best’.
Think of the times you’ve been stuck, and write down the actual tasks you were doing. Think of all the things you put off or dread doing, free flow write, connect with curiosity, not judgement, and fill that Left column!
Now, do the same for the second ‘functioning at best’ column. Think of all the times you have been in flow, fizzing in the moment. Write down all the tasks you thoroughly enjoy doing, that make your heart sing.
What you basically have in front of you now, is a flow list, and a stuck list and these can really give you insight around your why, because essentially if you don’t connect with something, you won’t want to do it.
Now it’s about understanding why your stuck list brings your inner procrastinator out.
When you look at that list, what are the parts that frustrate you? Is there a skills gap? For me when I walked away and started moving books around the house, I know its because it’s a brand new computer and I didn’t know what the heck I was doing with it. I was frustrated, so I pulled out and did something I’m the queen of. I don’t feel Queen of technology, but by heck I can create a beautiful bookcase!
We gravitate to the things we enjoy: Look at your in-flow list.
What lies behind the actions? What is it that gives you joy? How does this inform you, what does it tell you? For me, it was the fear and frustration of being a tech-fool… I’ve had an iPad forever, and I was frustrated that it was taking too damn long to work out how to navigate Word. Daft, but my truth.
Notice in the flow list, you own it, right? You are probably pretty epic at achieving whilst sitting on the throne of productivity. Connect with those strengths. You can apply yourself to anything, it comes down to choice and self-accountability. Look at the skills you demonstrate when you are achieving. Enthusiasm, creativity, innovation, discipline, patience, determination, dedication and versatility.
Apply these bad boys to your stuck list, I promise you, you will begin to see movement.
There is a sweet delight in prodding your procrastinator by overpowering it with your innate strengths. Pull out four or five of those strengths that you connect with, and in your day, when you feel that pause looming….. sprinkle it generously. Own it, make your choice.
It’s ok to step away from something, but understand why, and step back into the ring.
That feeling you get when you tick that thing off your list that you’ve been putting off? It’s beautiful, powerful and nourishing. It shows you that it is you that holds the key to your movement and success… you. Thank god for THAT!
Read more from Betty, here.
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