I don’t now about you but once I put something off, however small, it seems to evolve in my mind into something bigger, something more difficult, and each time I put it off, it gets even bigger, so eventually it’s like a mountain. At least that’s what used to happen: I made a mountain (or several) out of a molehill (or several)! That’s procrastination in all its glory!
Procrastination is the unconscious mind being very clever, but sometimes it seems to have an agenda all of its own!
So how do I manage it now? By the way, I say manage, rather than conquer or banish or any other more violent words, for a reason: I much prefer peaceful solutions AND it’s more effective, to manage procrastination because it is a totally natural behaviour.
Here’s how I do it, and how you can to: (where I put “it” insert whatever it is you’re putting off)
- Get curious about it*. Ask yourself, What are the benefits I get for not doing it? What do I fear will happen when I do it? What is my resistance really about?
- Focus on the relief of getting it done! What are the benefits of getting it done? How will I fell when I get it done?
- Decide on a reward. Believe me, just getting it done if you’ve been putting off for a while, will be a reward in itself, but add another carrot. Decide what you’ll treat yourself to or how you will celebrate when you’ve done it. It doesn’t have to be something huge, but something you’ll appreciate.
- Find the first step. Break it down into small steps, right down to the smallest first step you can find, or if there are a few starting points, then the one that will bring the most relief once it’s done.
- Do the first step. You’ll be amazed how much better you feel just for getting started. It’s like getting up in the morning, or going for a run, once you get moving it’s not so bad. You’ll find it easier to work through all the steps.
- Stay focussed on the relief of getting it done! Keep reminding yourself the benefits and the reward you’ll get when it’s done.
*Make sure you do steps 2-6 too otherwise this becomes a way to procrastinate all by itself : )
7. Bonus tip: which you can insert at any point: Tell someone you're going to do it, or tell lots of people. It makes it real! Even better tell someone who will encourage you to get it done!
So there you go. Good luck, and if you need more help and encouragement managing your procrastination, then you can take a look at my One to One Coaching programme where we manage it together!
I’d love to hear your comments/success stories/things that work for you. Leave your comments here.