Procrastination: Why do today what I can do tomorrow?...
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We all procrastinate, but 20% of us are chronic procrastinators and may experience the negative consequences of procrastination on a regular basis. Of course, things don’t always have to get done through a linear process but if you’re not progressing at all, you’re procrastinating.
Scientists have tried to understand why we procrastinate and have found that it may allow us to put off annoying tasks and reduce stress in the short term - a form of preference for immediate gratification over delayed gratification (the bane of public health!)
However, they have also found that our life suffers as as result of procrastination and, ultimately, we experience greater stress overall because of the consequences (including falling short of our abilities and not getting important things done, not to mention the impact on our relationships). The really worrying element is that procrastination is associated with guilt, shame and anxiety – but why do we tolerate such negative feelings?
Piercing the procrastination bubble: 3 powerful questions
It turns out procrastination is not a time management issue. It’s a self-management issue - meaning it’s linked to our ability to control our emotional state. Remember what the 3 key elements of this are?
Body :: focus :: language
Change what you are doing with one of these and you will regain control of your state. You’ll be able to close the gap between your intention and action and get out of procrastination. Yeehaa!
So let’s look at these three elements in turn (Body :: focus :: language) and how they can help to pierce the bubble of procrastination and get us back into the flow of things.
If you find yourself held in the grip of procrastination: take a deep breath in and ask yourself these three questions:
Question 1: Do I need more information? (language element)
Find out if you need to know anything more about the task you need to do and are procrastinating over. Arm yourself with helpful tips and tricks that are fun and will help you move along. You may even find out that you need more time to do the task and discover that you need to chunk it into smaller tasks. This will take internal pressure off you and get you back into a confident gear.
Question 2: Do I need more inspiration? (focus element)
To get things done that are perceived as tough, you need a positive motivation i.e. something positive to focus on that will pull you forward. So reframe the meaning of the task (why are you really doing this task and what will it give you - more time/peace of mind/recognition/wealth/love?) Set an imaginary finish line in your imagination: when and where will you finish task and how will you feel when it is done? Run the movie in your mind to Eye of the Tiger or Bach's Hallelujah - whatever revs you up and makes you laugh. And plan a special treat for yourself once it's done...
Question 3: Do I need more perspiration? (body element)
Get your body moving. Go and do some exercise or something fun. Put your favourite music on and have a good dance off until you’ve completely changed state. Once you’re done, pay attention to the first thing that comes to mind and go and do it no matter what it is. Welcome back to the flow!
And if you need a hand, try this two minute procrastination busting meditation.
I hope this helps. Please, share this with a friend who might need it and add a thoughtful message on your part. They will appreciate your connecting with them.
If you have any comments or queries email me or comment on the youtube channel!
Until next week.
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