Is Procrastination Your Thing Too?

posted in: Mindfulness | 0

Oh! Well hello there Monday! I wasn’t expecting you so soon, yet you continue to arrive right on schedule. You continue to arrive, despite the fact that I am only now writing my Monday morning article (although to be fair I did have one ready last week, but I decided this morning to scrap it). Despite the fact that I have three class assignments due Wednesday that I haven’t yet started. Despite the fact that there are several deadlines looming, and I’m not willing to face the consequences of missing them.

Ah, I see that Monday once again brought her partner, Procrastination, that unwelcome guest I continue to allow in despite the chaos she creates, you know the one.

It wasn’t like I didn’t have time to prepare for Monday’s arrival. Last week was a fairly quiet week, but the woods were calling and I needed a little nature therapy. Was it worth it? Ask me again once I’ve hit all my deadlines and I’ll probably say yes, but at this moment, not so much.

You’d think after keeping a regular (mostly) daily meditation practice, I would have learned to say no to procrastination. Somehow, it hasn’t worked out that way, and I will continue to remind myself that I am a human being, a work in progress.

I like to share my human struggles (maybe not all of them) because I know that you’re human too, and there are other procrastinators out there that can relate to this. In fact, I told my husband what my article was on this morning, and he said I had a good example of a procrastinator in him. I told him, I didn’t need one, as it was my thing too. And then it devolved into a rendition of that 60s hit from the Isley Brothers, “It’s Your Thing.”  I rest my case.

When I was in the corporate world, I managed to wrangle in my procrastinating tendencies, and as I get busier I’m feeling the need to get to that same place. So, if you’re a procrastinator like I am, listen up. There is hope! Here are a few simple habits that worked for me and may help you tame the procrastination beast:

Do the task immediately
The longer you think about something, the more reasons you invent to avoid doing them. Whether it’s researching a topic, making that dreaded phone call you have to make or preparing a business proposal, just do it and do it NOW! Do it before your brain starts getting in your way.

Don’t give in to distractions
Working from home, I have a ton of distractions from the laundry to playing with the cats, so this is an especially important one for me (and maybe you, too!). Try checking your email only two or three times a day at scheduled intervals so you have time to focus. Turn off notifications during your work day. Get everything you want, need or think you need before you start working so you can concentrate.

Make a list
This has always been an especially effective tool for me, and all the apps and other tools that are available to us make it easy. Or maybe you’re someone who prefers a hand written list. What ever works best for you, having a list and checking off items as you complete them helps you to remember and gives you a sense of accomplishment.

Start at the top
Yes, it’s easier to start with the easiest things and get them out of the way. Unfortunately, the longer you put off doing the bigger stuff, the more difficult it is to get started on it. And that same sense of accomplishment is even greater when you’ve completed the bigger stuff.

Set a series of smaller goals
Those big tasks can often feel overwhelming, and that’s why we put it off until we have no choice. Setting smaller, quickly achievable goals can help you avoid procrastinating in the first place. Break that big project in to smaller chunks, and then take a break before you go on to the next step. That is, of course, unless you’ve found flow, then just go with it.

Turn it off
At the end of the day, take a break from work until the next work day. Spend time recharging for the next day. And if you want to schedule in regular breaks from work during the day, that works too, as long as it’s scheduled. For instance, when I do my best work, I’m sure to schedule in an hour for lunch and a walk or sit outside.

Practice self-care
Self-care allows you to avoid burnout and work avoidance. For more information and ideas on self-care, read the article, “Go Ahead, Indulge Yourself.”

Procrastinators unite! We can do this! Not tomorrow, right NOW!

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