I’ve been working on the article you’re currently reading for the past four weeks. Yet, as I’m writing it I can’t help but feel guilty. Why you ask? Because I’ve put off other important things I had to do to get this done so yet procrastinated again. I can’t help but feel as if I’m in a catch 22 of the procrastination cycle.
I finally had to admit to myself that I’ve been putting this off long enough and it was time to play catch up. Do the same, be honest, and think about what you have been putting off and the distractions you’ve replaced it with today. Whether it be a chore, an unpaid bill, or something that you truly enjoy like writing or yoga. Procrastination is different than what it’s perceived to be and is much more complex than laziness which is its most common misinterpretation. It is manifested as making the unimportant important. Simply put, misguided priorities becoming habit. Luckily all habits, healthy and unhealthy, like procrastination can be unlearned and replaced with healthier ones.
The underlying reasons why we procrastinate are indeed different for everyone but they generally fall into three distinct categories. Take a careful look at the list below, identify your greatest obstacle and decide that you want to do something about it.
3 Typical Procrastination Habits:
1. FEELING TIRED
When we aren’t getting enough sleep or down time we are more prone to prioritizing with less clarity if any at all. There is a tendency when you’re tired to just give it your last shot, or become so overwhelmed you’re paralyzed and can no longer prioritize. If you feel like you just can’t think, take a break, it won’t get better unless you do.
2. FEELING WIRED
Constant low grade anxiety leads to uncertainty and self-doubt. We begin to question everything as our minds become increasingly foggy and more easily distracted. When this happens our choices may not serve our best interests. If this is what you’re feeling take a gentle yoga class, learn to meditate, get a massage, spend time unplugged from technology to give your mind a break to clear.
3. BOREDOM AND FRUSTRATION
I often say when teaching yoga, find enough sensation in a pose that you aren’t bored but also don’t find so much that you get frustrated and give up. Both of these will feed your procrastination addiction. Boredom is the enemy of happiness, it is its energetic opposite. Instead, find ways to challenge yourself, try new things, stoking creativity will help keep this distraction at bay. Equally, if you’ve been setting yourself up to fail with too many things on your daily to do list, it is time to reevaluate your priorities. When feeling overwhelmed break up your bigger goal into smaller bite size pieces so you can celebrate the wins and milestones along the way to your end result. Otherwise, waiting until the final achievement will defeat your energies to stay with it and will lead to procrastination. Here are some ways to remove frustrations and keeps your eyes on the prize:
Get started. Don’t wait until you are ready.
Stay with it. Remain disciplined to continue even when there is no visible progress. Most of the time there are long periods where advancement seems invisible. Accept that it’s natural to go through progress plateaus.
Keep your focus. Set clear intentions, set your internal GPS for where you’re going and check in to make sure you’re still traveling in the right direction.
Get enthusiastic and connect to your passion. Just like the famous book and movie, if you’re just not that into it, you won’t stick with it. If it feels off and lukewarm from the start then pick something, or someone else.
At the end of the day it’s not really as important why you are procrastinating as it is to realize on what you’re missing out on as a result. In reality, ending procrastination is as simple as committing to getting out of your own way. I remember years ago when I moved to a new city I had to borrow a friend’s car which was a stick shift. The hilly terrain of my new city had me a little tense and I often forgot and left the emergency brake on while driving. As you might imagine that made it rather difficult to drive whether the terrain was uneven or perfectly flat. This to me is the perfect metaphor for the feeling of procrastination. It’s basically living your life with brakes on. Today, take a moment to recognize where you have the brakes on and put your life into drive full speed ahead.
Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia