We get so hung up on concepts (concept words) and how other people talk about them that we don’t reason through what they mean to us. And too often, we buy into a “standardized” opinion of how these concepts need to be lived. Concepts (words) are anything from love to success to productivity. They are not tangible things. They are ideas.
One such concept is a thing called Procrastination. Every blog or book you read has you think of, feel about and see it as the enemy. It is something you have to struggle with, wrestle to the ground and tell off since it is persistent and comes back to knock you down when you aren’t vigilant. You believe you have to be careful since it is strong and can get the best of you.
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You are such a naughty thing, Procrastination!
My personal “battle” with procrastination ended when I stopped fighting it. I stopped how I treated “it” and shifted my relationship with it. So here are my suggestions how you too can put down your arms, release all that tension and get back to putting positive energy into your day.
First step: Stop fighting Procrastination as if it were the enemy.
The day you tell yourself the real truth, the real “why” you put things off, the better. The big why’s can include - I could care less about doing that, it absolutely does not interest me, I don’t have the resources (skills, understanding, strength, money, help) to do it well right now.
My big one is: “I don’t have the creative flow to do it in the little time it requires so I will wait until I am in the mood.” You’ll find out more about this one later.
But since your Procrastination can also influence other people, then it is important to get real with them too. If you say you want to do it, then do it. If you say you want to do it, but you don’t really want to, then say that. Stop feeding the fear that that person will fight you too... if not you will have 2 battles going on at the same time.
Second step: Shift how you judge yourself (or the task) when you do that “terrible” thing called Procrastinate.
The day you give yourself a break and relax about things, get some perspective, mature and calm down then all across the board your life gets better.
Here are the Habits to Shift
You might have the “habit” of judging yourself or feeling guilty about doing things “tomorrow” (latin: pro: forward + crastinus: tomorrow) and so you keep going over and over in your head “Oh I didn’t do that, I am late, I am terrible, what are others going to think of me....” and so on.
Realize that this mental not-so-merry-go-round is such a massive waste of your mental and emotional energy. Look back and evaluate what else you could have done with that time. Make it hurt for the last time. Then move on.
And please create something better to do with your time than beating yourself up or continuing with the same chatter. Life is about evolving not going around in circles!
Or you might have the habit of judging a task (like taking out the garbage) and thinking that it is something not “worthy” of your time or valuable to you. Get off your pedistal, life also includes tricking yourself into doing some of the menial labor. Think more about the advantages of getting it done.
Or possibly, maybe, just a bit, you might have the habit of judging the task and the person who asked you to do it. Hmm, we’ve got some power stuggle issues there. Let’s call it for what it is.
In a non conflictual manner, please, kindly, with sugar on top, ask that person why that task is important for them. Accept what they say, even though you might feel it is a big pile of manuer. They might not be ready to be real so let it go!
The overall goal with “stopping” and “shifting” is to put down your arms and move forward. It really is such a waste of your life, time and energy to battle with an “idea”.
Another Possible Habit associated with Procrastination
This does not mean you need to be a passive wall flower who accepts to do anything for anyone to avoid the fight.
If you are a “yes yes yes I do anything for anyone at anytime person”, then maybe you are overcommitted so “naughty” Procrastination is not the issue. Your inability to say no is.
But don’t fight that either. Just practice saying no more often, one step at a time, especially when you really don’t have the time to do something or don’t want to.
Reality check: sure, I have paid some bills late. I put off going on line to get them out of the way, because I felt other things were more worthy of my time. And I had to “pay” the consequence of an overdue charge.
There are some things that if you do them “tomorrow” have “penalties”. In that case, ask yourself if you can handle the “punishment”. But don’t punish yourself by exaggerating the emotions. So many things belong in the “just do it” in one minute category to get them out of the way.
Chunk these together in a one hour session a week and feel the relief you get! You will never again be taken by surprise when Procrastination creeps up.
Another Reality Check just to Make Sure
If you live with someone who has a love affair with procrastination, let it go. You might be a neat freak and tidy up everyday and they might only do it once a week. If you become so “small” and picky about these “little issues” what are you going to do when the really big, life changing, majorly emotionally upheavaling ones come along? Perspective! Gain perspective. Learn to love people more for their flaws than for their qualities.
Third Step, last but not least, start your own love affair with the concept of Time.
What I experienced with this “new beginning” was that “time” was always on my side. He (Greek God Cronus) and Mr. Procrastination were not partners in crime trying to steal me of satisfaction!
I actually proved to myself that I could trust them both. This started an amazing relationship. They didn’t change. I did.
I began to “feel time” as an energy and began trusting myself in how to flow with it. I started to do things when they felt energetically great - when I was energetically on top of my game.
This energy could be perceived in my body, and I trusted the knowing that I had never been aware of before. And I started telling Mr Time that he was perfect and that I am always in the right place at the right time with the right people.
This affirmation became so empowering. I didn’t have to put so much effort into things. Issues resolved themselves because even others came into my life.
“Perfect” or “right” for me meant that the task became so easy to do whereas when I tried to force myself, it drained my energy. I nourished this intention so I would know, and feel when to act to get things gone with the best of my mental concentration, intuition, emotional energy and stamina.
And with this, I put my trust in Procrastination and made it fine to put on hold the things that I could get done when my energy was in tune with the energy of the task allowing me to optimize the outcome.
A simple, silly, daily household recent example was a 2 week clean out an over stuffed closet ordeal. My teenagers and I, since it contained things from each of us, had emptied it successfully, and even thrown and given things away. But when it came to putting it all back in an orderly manner, well that took 2 weeks of having the boxes messily in the middle of my daughter’s room.
Then unexpectedly, one Sunday morning, Mr. Time and Procrastination whispered to me a fantastic solution to freeing up her room and perfectly placing the items back in the closet. The whole thing took 5 minutes. Until that moment, it seemed that the contents were too much and the door would have to be left open. It was causing us three to argue and get huffy puffy.
Having fun with Procrastination
To finish off this fun loving, playing around with Procrastination, remember, that these 3 Steps can apply to pretty much any “concept” (words like love, success and productivity) there is when you are wanting to live them in a positive way.
The real key to having a great life, more fun, less fight, more free time, less left over stuff to do... is knowing yourself. When you invest time into knowing who you are, getting in touch with your talents, living by your core values in harmony with others, then all these “issues” you have with time will disappear.
So when you choose the things to do with your time, they are things that energize and fulfill you from the inside out. Your days will become so amazingly exciting that you will be happy to get the things done that you used to procrastinate on so there is more room for more amazing.
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