Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.
You probably even experience the fatigue without knowing the real reason because procrastination is tricky business; it plays on your weaknesses and emotions but has no arm of logic supporting it.
Let me prove it to you very simply:
Use Your Inner Powers
Bonus: 21-Step Confidence Building Series
If you actually commit to doing something, the inner peace that emerges will only result in more productivity. You will crave the feeling of inner peace and productivity over the fatigue of procrastination every time, therefore you will continue with your projects, plans, goals and dreams, and you will create more and more inner peace and happiness and joy in your life. That is the logic.
When you neither know nor do the above, the fatigue sets in. Oh you must fight it! Even though procrastination in itself seems to be the lazy way out, you pay for it dearly by giving up inner peace. The fatigue of not doing something will then cause even more procrastination and kills even more of your motivation.
The cycle continues. The escape becomes increasingly difficult. You find more and more excuses and distractions from doing what really matters. You become a master staller. You defy any helpful technique and advice to break the pattern because your case is special and that advice won’t work for you. You practically give up all control and let procrastination rule but you suffer the consequences, the fatigue, the anxiety, the unhappiness inside, the itch to do something about it to crush it and move on.
It is an undoubted truth, that the less one has to do, the less time one
finds to do it in. ~Earl of Chesterfield
To nudge you toward the right choice, I will go beyond inspiring you and telling you to read my book for finding your killer motivation. I will give you 18 ways to stop procrastination in your life. Here goes:
1. Determine if worth doing. You might just be procrastinating because you don’t want to do something for a good reason. It may be a job you hate, a procedure you can’t stand, a part of your life that you simply want to escape. That is different from procrastinating on your dreams and real goals. To this, I would say examine the task at hand before doing it because why do something you hate in 2011 with so many opportunities to do what we love?
2. Just do it already. I am not being facetious. Can you give it a go at least once and then roll your eyes at a great phrase that was ruined by the Nike Advertisers? Pick the thing you are procrastinating right now and just do it. Do a fraction of it. Then decide how you feel about the advice.
3. Do not put stock into your moods. So what if you don’t feel like doing it? What if you were in labor and didn’t feel like going through with it? What if you were stuck in traffic but didn’t feel like being there? What if you find yourself in an unsafe place and didn’t feel like getting out? You know what happens if you listen to that lousy mood? Bad things happen!
4. Commit to it loud and clear. In my 5:45am indoor cycling class, usually about 10 minutes in, a voice creeps in and tells me “Psst. This is way too hard and crazy. You can’t even keep up.” And I know right then that if I allow that mental shift, if I don’t commit loudly to the class and the instructor and the music, if I stare at the clock, then I might as well go home. Commit already. Commit loud. Commit and mean it. Commit to yourself.
5. Share your commitment. Choose one person, a partner, a spouse, a role model, a good friend, and tell them you committed to something specific, with dates and times, and can they please hold you accountable in a friendly but firm way?
6. Stop playing the victim card. Why is it that we glorify being a victim of circumstance? There is nothing sexy or healthy about playing the victim, trust me. Be your own hero instead. A warrior. Be strong and stand tall and be proud of yourself. Stop the victim mindset and when it creeps in, just change it by telling yourself that you are in charge.
7. Kill the excuses. In order to do this, you must first know the definition of an excuse. I will assume neither of us knows it so I looked it up – this is the 2nd definition: “a reason put forward to conceal the real reason for an action.” What will excuses ever bring you? Nothing but emptiness and regret so stop them.
8. Use the small chunks of time. The time excuse really bothers me; learn to manage it well. If you really cannot dedicate an hour or two a day to something that matters to you, there needs to be a fundamental shift in your lifestyle design. However, the 10-minute chunks can be a work of magic and if you seize every single one, you will astound yourself with results.
9. Decide on your mantra. Mantras are positive affirmations you repeat to yourself over and over. You can even synchronize your breathing. In-breath will do the first half of the mantra and out breath the second half. Some of my favorites are “If they can, so can I” and “It’s now or never”. Choose your own mantra and repeat it.
10. Turn a deaf ear to your inner voice. The inner voice is negative, it is your lizard brain, as Seth would tell us, and if you let it loose, it will destroy your mind with negativity. Stop listening to it altogether. Tell yourself you are entering your lizard brain when doubt sets in. And even if you don’t believe it at first, keep repeating your positive mantra to deafen the inner voice.
11. Do not accept the fear. Just reject it. Fear, procrastination’s best ally, is bound to show up. Just do not accept it. Do not invite it in. Engage it in conversation to calm your nerves, to be in charge, to have control. If you can do this once, you will never stop doing it so empowering and enabling it is!
12. Gain some perspective. Whatever it is you want to do that you are procrastinating is not going to kill you, it will not put you in the hospital, it will not rob you of your freedom. Have some perspective. Get to know yourself a little. Have a little faith. What IS the worst thing that can happen?
13. Create enough pain. As in, be in pain from not doing it. Not just fatigue but real pain. If you don’t want what you are procrastinating on badly enough, it’s not worth doing. If someone told me that they cannot get out of the corporate world because there is no other option for them, I’d simply say that they are not in enough pain so that the current option is just fine.
14. Ask yourself with brutal honesty. Who hasn’t had a conversation with oneself? Why not make it a good one? In the privacy of your thoughts, ask yourself why you are procrastinating, what it is, is it fear, is it laziness, is it lack of knowledge? What is at the soft core and listen to the whispers coming back. No, really. Do this.
15. Cultivate self-discipline. It’s either the pain of getting self-disciplined or tasting the bitter pill of regret later. When put in that perspective, it is a quick decision. To translate it to action, create your own small habits that will build up your productivity. Everyone is different. Build what works for you, maybe two hours early in the morning, maybe a Sunday night habit, maybe timing yourself, maybe working in complete isolation. Find that magic habit that works for you. That’s your self-discipline.
16. Make that deadline Count. Setting goals and deadlines are for the birds. Nothing could be easier than putting a date on the calendar but how do you make it count? You put some repercussions in place. If you are not done by this date, you have to give up on this dream. It’s over baby. You have to part with it and just move through the motions of anger and frustration but do not give yourself another opportunity. This mindset works and this deadline will count.
17. Share your progress. Why make this amazing progress in the dark? When you break through your procrastination, celebrate it by sharing with some of your friends, family or trusted mentors, teachers and advisors. Look at your visible progress and soak up the encouragement to do more and more going forward.
18. Reward yourself big. Huge even. We do not reward ourselves nearly enough. When you achieve your goal, the one you have been procrastinating for a long time, time to celebrate it, baby! Buy yourself something wonderful. Give yourself credit. Take a break and reflect on it. Look at your accomplishment with pride. This is a huge deal and when you master breaking through this barrier of procrastination, you will have crossed over a bridge and onto the other side of your self-evolution. Congratulations are in order!
“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret and disappointment.”
I say choose your pain, then commit. I have tasted both pains. Self-discipline rocks over regret and disappointment any day of the week but the choice, as they say, is yours.
What are you procrastinating on, if anything at all?
Which pain are you going to choose?
And do you have #19th way of dealing with procrastination?
Use Your Inner Powers
Bonus: 21-Step Confidence Building Series
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