I am a personal growth blogger and coach and the number one question I get asked by my readers is, “How do I stop procrastinating?”
Procrastination is defined as the act of putting off more urgent tasks in favor of less important, more pleasurable tasks.
We all do this. I do and so do you.
The key to ending procrastination is to act in the present moment regardless if you feel like it.
I know, this sounds overly simplistic, but it works for me every time.
I don’t like the feeling of having important tasks and projects building up on my to do list. It creates a heavy, stuck feeling which takes away from the natural flow of life.
A lot of people let time become the number one obstacle to getting the things done that need to get done.
Either they believe they have way more time to get things done, or they believe they don’t have the time to do it at all.
Either way, they are using time as an excuse to not get things done.
Procrastination also creates a lack of belief in yourself because it erodes at your self-esteem and self-confidence.
Eventually you will probably balk at any new ideas and opportunities that come your way because you are certain that you will not follow through on them.
Procrastinators are not lazy, in fact, they are extremely motivated people. The challenge is they are motivated to not do the things they really need to do.
Desire or lack thereof is another block to expanding yourself and reaching your goals. Some things we can procrastinate on and not experience any negative consequences immediately. Other things however can have dire consequences if you don’t follow through on them.
I worked in retail many years ago. Every year we had an event called “White Glove.” White glove was basically an inspection from Corporate Headquarters to make sure we are keeping our store clean, neat and well maintained.
Regardless of what department I worked in it was always the same thing.
My department manager knew exactly when White Glove was but always, without fail, they waited until the very last minute to get their department cleaned and ready for inspection.
You may be thinking what is wrong with that?
I’ll tell you.
It created a tremendous amount of stress and panic for everyone in our department and everyone went home that day feeling jaded due to unnecessary pressure.
Had we started preparing for White Glove weeks in advance when the pressure was low the whole experience would have went far more easily without having to experience all the pain and drama.
Could Procrastination be serving you in some way?
In its core essence, procrastination is really saying that I don’t really want to do this. As a matter of fact, I would recommend that you don’t do things you don’t want to do until you want to do them.
More often than not, the things you procrastinate on have to do with other people’s agenda’s and not your own.
Other people’s deadlines are just that — other people’s deadlines. They won’t always mesh with your desires.
Think about it for a second.
Have you ever wanted to do something that you believed would be rewarding to you in some way?
Did you procrastinate on it?
Probably not and that is because of the primary motivating factor in all humans and that is the pain –pleasure principle.
We will always, without fail move towards what we believe will be more pleasurable and move away from (procrastinate) from things that we believe will be painful.
This is how I trained myself to get things done, even the difficult tasks.
I learned how to train my mind to see the pleasure in getting things done that need to get done because I am not a fan of perpetual overwhelm.
Remember, we often procrastinate on things that we aren’t in alignment with to begin with. Like I said, resistance to doing something usually has to do with someone else’s deadline or agenda, so in fact we really aren’t completely interested in doing them to begin with.
Where do you think this resistance derives from? Imagine if this isn’t a failure whatsoever? Suppose your procrastination is really an indication that your priorities are askew?
What if procrastination is a sign that a larger intelligence wants to nudge you in a brand new direction?
Sometimes all it takes is a shift in perspective about procrastination.
The way I view it is like this. I won’t allow myself to procrastinate on things that I signed up for.
Whether it’s my family, my home or my job I make sure I prioritize getting things done that I signed up for.
If it has to do with someone else, I allow myself to either do, or not do those things without guilt.
I’ll give you a few examples.
My house needs some repairs done. It’s my home; I decided to buy it so I make certain the repairs are done as soon as possible.
I get invited to a wedding, a birthday party, or even out to lunch. Since I didn’t consciously choose these things I don’t make them a priority. If I feel like doing them I will, and if I don’t, I won’t.
I see too many people putting too many obligations on their plates these days. The secret is to lighten up and only do those things that are truly yours to begin with and you will see that you procrastinate far less.