What to do about procrastination
It’s kind of funny. You see I wanted to write more about procrastination in this post. What you can do about it. How you can shift it. And yet I’ve been finding each time I sit down to type, I blank out. I’ve been procrastinating writing this post. About procrastination!
That’s the thing with procrastination, it can come in all shapes and sizes and at times really sneak in. I’ve been asking myself why have I been procrastinating in this particular instance. What is it that I’m putting off?
You see, as I wrote about in the last post it tends to show up in our lives when there’s an imbalance in how we are meeting our needs. Specifically an imbalance in uncertainty and certainty in our lives. We have so many balls up in the air, brand new projects, uncertain outcomes, many unknowns….and not a whole lot of certainties. Structure. Knowing our stuff. Procrastination kicks in as our way of clawing back some control in that moment and yet the satisfaction of the control, of the certainty, is momentary, fleeting. Bringing us all the way back to the imbalance we started with.
So what do we do about it then? How do we flip it – you know, get our control back and have that feeling last? I like to think in terms of resourceful behaviours and unresourceful behaviours. Let me explain…
Resourceful behaviours – they’re the ones we do that don’t harm anyone else, we can do them over and over again, and they serve us. They are sustainable.
Unresourceful behaviours – the ones we do almost as a knee jerk reaction without necessarily realising it (e.g. procrastination). They may make us feel good in that moment, but it’s not lasting. It’s certainly not a sustainable strategy. And it’s certainly not the thing that’s going to well and truly get us unstuck.
How do these play out? I’ll give you an example. Do you ever have that feeling like you’ve got way too many things going on? You’re feeling overwhelms, stressed, busy. Lots of unknowns at work, perhaps. You get to mid-afternoon and you’re reaching for the chocolate. Again. It’s so satisfying. That first mouthful. You feel instantly warm, fuzzy and in control. Then you turn back to your computer. Bam. The spinning starts again. We reach for the chocolate because we get that we’ll feel good. And we do. Yet it doesn’t last. And it’s certainly not the strategy that if we kept running it over and over again is going to “fix” our feelings of overwhelm and stress. That’s what I call unresourceful behaviours. (And don’t get confused here, I’m most definitely not saying you gotta stop eating chocolate to be resourceful, we all need the chocolate in our lives!).
So let’s get back to procrastination then. To move away from this strategy, this pattern of behaviour that’s kicking in, is about moving ot a more resourceful way to balance the scales. How else could you claw back a little control, certainty or comfort in your life? What are small actions you could take that would feel like they gave you more structure, routine, safety?
You can literally take this to the level of eating the same breakfast every day, if you’re going through a period in your life where everything else seems uncertain, then why not give yourself that certainty? I’ve read lots about successful business people adopting a ‘uniform’ for work each day (Barack Obama is a great example), so as to eliminate one more uncertainty each day. Having a routine approach to your schedule and diary, such as dedicated exercise time, ‘me’ time, or social time works great too. It’s a ‘rock’ of certainty. You know exactly what to expect during that time. Why not take 5 minutes right now to brainstorm ways you could bring more certainty into your life right now?
In the next post we’ll be sharing a really cool strategy you can embed into your everyday life to ensure your needs are met at all times and to really create the space in your life to handle any uncertainty that gets thrown your way. It’s all about building those muscles!
We’ll be sharing more on this topic in the next Blog and give you a few techniques to start shifting the balance of the scales in a way that is sustainable, and therefore gets you past procrastination and to the results you most want in your life.