I think the world divides into two types of people – People who procrastinate, and people who don’t!
For me – I was going to blog about this subject last week, but didn’t get round to it!! As Mark Twain says
“Never put off til tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow”
Then there is the Procrastinators helpline if you need support – they will take your number and then get back to you at some stage…
What is procrastination?
Procrastination is something we all do at times. Watch a bit of TV rather than deal with some paperwork. Make the phone call tomorrow. Order that thing next week. Have a conversation with so-and-so some time soon. We all procrastinate on the mundane stuff. But if it becomes a way of constantly avoiding important things, then it can cost you with stress, finances, and lost chances in the long run.
Have you :-
Meant to pay the bill, but not got round to it (which might have meant it actually cost you more as you ended up paying a fee on top)
• Not made that medical appointment
• Rushed a deadline because you left it too late
• Woken up with a sense of doom because that thing you didn’t do yesterday feels even harder to do today
• Had a to do list that has become bigger and bigger until it feels unsurmountable
• Your inner voice shouts at you that you are running out of time.. and then you feel stressed?
Are there benefits to procrastination?
Now a true procrastinator will know that some of the possible benefits are that if you leave a task long enough, it no longer needs to be completed. You didn’t deliberately not do it – but didn’t quite get there. Colleagues and friends might congratulate you on saving your time. However take a moment to think about how many times that ‘thing’ crossed your mind, and how many to do lists it went on, before it became irrelevant!! Perhaps wasn’t such a stress-free experience! How many times have you woken up with the best intention to do That Thing…. and gone to bed thinking aagh Didn’t do that thing….
So…. If you want to change, can you? Before this, you will have decided many times that you are going to change… not going to leave it all to the last minute again – next time, you will do it with lots of time to spare. In fact, you plan time so that you can get it done. (Fill that time with something else, but its ok because you have so much spare time, that you don’t have to worry just yet!) Oh look at that – you just procrastinated again. Doh!!
Tips for a Procrastinator
Think about why you are procrastinating
• Is there a better way of doing what you are putting off that makes it more fun, quicker, easier…
• Do you think it is a task worth doing?
• Are you rebelling by not doing something
Set the right time
• Don’t set yourself up to fail. If you aren’t a morning person – don’t start too early!! Allow yourself the time to deliberately relax. Make the choice not to do it. If you are going to take 10 minutes out – then allow yourself to enjoy the 10 minutes!!
• Be fair to yourself by being realistic – you can’t add any more hours to the day than 24!!
• Allow for thinking time to think of ideas, downsides and the bigger picture
Plan your tasks
• Make a to do list of only the things you are avoiding…. The easy stuff you normally do instead of the horrible tasks, aren’t allowed on the list!
• Decide if you are motivated to do the task anyway. If you are putting off a phonecall to a friend – then do you actually want to make that phone call. If not, and its not vital – then cross it off your to do list.
• Break it into smaller targets. “I will spend 5 minutes weeding one square of garden”. You may surprise yourself – and realise that you have spent the last 15 minutes and enjoyed it!
• Ask your friend to change your email / facebook password if social media is a diversion.
• Stop automatic emails arriving
• Put your phone on silent
Don’t be a hero – Get some help
• Can you get a friend to help? If understanding finances and bills isn’t your thing, or decluttering the spare room – then ask for help. Two heads are better than one.
Get some Positive mental attitude
• Visualise how you will feel when you achieve success
• Tell others about your goals and be accountable. Announce it on facebook or twitter, or in the office!
And didn’t you do well… or not so well!
• Start with something easy and build up to the harder stuff when you are starting to see the success of your hard work
• Set a reward if you complete the task!
• Set a consequence if you don’t!! Not watch the soap of the day perhaps?!
My favourite tip to help a procrastinator
My favourite tip is get a piece of paper. Write at the top – By the end of the day, I will have an enormous sense of accomplishment because I have……. And then write a list of things, as if you have completed them
I have sorted through the pile of brown envelopes
I have phoned my colleague
I have done the online shopping
I have paid that bill
It will help. And I can tell you that as a procrastinator with highly developed skills in the art!!
BWRT and Hypnotherapy can help. If, for instance, you can’t cope with brown envelopes because dealing with it is too stressful, or can’t feel motivated to start the day with some energy, or perhaps overwhelmed with revising for exams – then give me a call. Clear the clutter from your mind and visualise success. Use hypnotherapy as a way to boost your motivation. You can do this!!)
Advanced BWRT Practitioner, Clinical Hypnotherapist and Transformational Coach (and ex-procrastinator!!