I’ll Do It Tomorrow
Confessions of a recovering procrastinator and the practices that help me get sh#$* done
I’ve been a procrastinator since birth, no joke. My mom was in labor with me for about 26 hours. I waited as long as I could to make my grand entrance into this world. Procrastination is the thief of time; and it all starts with a thought. It can be the very thing that holds you back from being the person you truly are, and going after the life you want.
You don’t want to know the number of lies I've told myself to justify procrastinating. That internal dialog would make me feel like crap - not the best state to be in when I’m trying to crank out a project. Can you relate? There are days when we don't feel like doing a certain task or getting started on that next big project. It's just a feeling and it's ok to feel that way. Give your internal self a high five for just being aware of how you don't like to procrastinate and are open to change.
Here are some practices that help me break the cycle of procrastination:
Rise and Snooze Shine
Regardless of your rise time, when it's time to get up, get up. Mel Robins goes over her thoughts on the 5 Second rule and not hitting snooze. It works! Starting the day off with a subtle lie, which is what you are doing when you hit snooze, is like starting a diet off with eating a doughnut. Well, unless it's a doughnut diet.
Plan Plan Plan
“Failing to plan is planning to fail- Alan Lakein”
A plan is procrastinations’ worst enemy. If you need to make a change; you can't input the same efforts and thoughts and expect new results. When planning, consider - when do you work best? I know for me being a woman, there is a week in the month that I'm usually not myself. I don’t plan high networking days on that week. In the course of a day, I find my most productive time is mornings between 6 -11 am. Be true to you. I'm not going over the details of making a plan - that's another blog - but what I'd like to convey is the mind behind making a plan. How do you know what to change if you don't know where you’re at?
I love journaling. I have gone through many methods of finding a system that works for me. Currently, I have one journal where I do all my entries as well as any to-dos that pop up that are not in my calendar or project manager. When I was starting out and wanted to take control of my time for the better I would jot down everything I accomplished in a day. Not the things I need to do, but the things I actually did on that day. Kind of like a food journal. I remember feeling ashamed. Starting off I'd do great getting everything on my list done, but by day two and three I either stopped altogether or put it off. It can be uncomfortable seeing the patterns we have. Which makes journaling my favorite strategies in helping me get things done.
All In The Name of Love
In my early days of working through my challenges of procrastination, I found myself being really hard on myself. Or on the days where I'd get a lot done on my list, I'd skip out on eating or giving myself breaks, neglecting my self-care. “There just wasn't enough time.”
Do not go down that rabbit hole.
Whatever methods and practices you try, remember it needs to come from a loving place. That voice that tells me I can do it later is the same negative gremlin in my head harping on me for not getting it done in the first place. Nothing positive can come out of that cycle of negative self-talk. So, if you change anything, I'd say start with your self-talk. Just be aware when you start and don't pay any attention to it. Meditation has helped me immensely in being aware and teaching me to not focus on it.
Try, Try Again
It's been a 3-year process of me working with procrastination, and I've had my bumps in the road. I say working with procrastination because it's part of who I am. It's not something that will magically disappear. It takes work. There are many facets to the reasoning of why we hesitate and put things off. It’s ok if we stumble and get off track. It's about what’s next after you realize you’re off track. Regardless of whether you skipped your work out class or still haven't started that art piece, you realize it and that's progress. Awareness is progress. Now try again.
Finally, be grateful that you are aware of the potential that is within you. Believe you are capable of changing behaviors, and you will in time. While only you can start the process of getting unstuck, you don’t have to do it all alone. My experience has been that once I was ready to work on myself, people came into my life that could help me. It’s up to you to make the first move. I say, go for it.
What helps you overcome procrastination? I want to hear your story.