Imagine yourself at your desk.
You know what needs to be done and you avoid doing it.
Playing games. Surfing to youtube, Netflix or other distractions.
Walking to the fridge or the coffee machine for the umpteens time.
Talking to yourself, negotiating pros and cons of not doing the task.
Blaming yourself, self-doubt, negativity, self-criticism
Does this behavior sound familiar?
Yes.. it's called Procrastination
In this blog I am going to share with you 3 tips with you to deal with procrastination and to get yourself moving again.
The other day I was coaching a client of mine, someone whose job it is to lead big transitions for companies or organizational change processes. My client disclosed how shameful it is to acknowledge the procrastination of doing what needed to be done:
- Asking difficult questions in the beginning of the process
- Staying vague in the objectives for the results or the desired outcomes, in order to be held less accountable for them
- When firing people from their jobs, they recognized after 30 minutes they are getting sacked instead of giving them the news straight up.
- Rather than talking to staff, writing emails and very detailed plans
At one point this client came to me for coaching, after some excruciating feedback from his employer. “I like you as a person and yet the results on these projects stay behind. This cannot continue like this anymore. If you don’t clean up your act, I may have to fire you’.
Another example is a coaching client who called procrastination her biggest mind-fuck. Behavior you know is going to steer you towards failure and feeling bad about yourself.
The third example is a friend who is a writer. A somewhat lonely profession where self-management is key.
He conveyed what he discovered about procrastination and being stuck. When you can nipp the negative spiral in the bud, is the best approach. He has a seated profession, like many of us nowadays.. and he developed a strategy for his procrastination. When the first signal arises, he will start breaking the loop by standing up, moving. Doing a twist, or a shout. Or stretches or back bends.. everything in order to stop to revert to the quick sand of the rational self-talk. Back to your body, feeling that you exist and you are no longer trapped inside your head in thoughts.
In all three examples the bottom-line is: knowing that the biggest reward lies on the other end of doing what you need to be doing. Instead of going round in circles and not dealing with it straight up. Eat the frog first. Begin with the task you dread the most.
All the things that trigger you, make you feel stuck and make you want to walk away from the task, actually hold a treasure.. it means you are on the threshold to learn, to change, to have a new experience. Embrace your procrastination as a friend, for it is telling you that you are on the precipice of something bigger. And the more you postpone, the more fear creeps in and the less likely it becomes you will actually take that step.
It might sound counterintuitive, but welcome this feeling of procrastination – breath.. enjoy – hold it as a treasure – because there is no such thing as failing, only new learning opportunities. Keep observing what happens.
Let me know how this works for you.
So 3 tips for dealing with procrastination are:
1. Get out of your head
Stand up. Twist, turn, stretch, shout, breathe and feel your body.
2. Know you are on the precipice of something great
Procrastination is part of the creative process. It is the plateau, enjoy the view, open up and receive the next step.. stop force it, let it fall into you. Be gentle and mild to yourself is the key.
Remember Joseph Campbell – whatever you fear holds the treasure you seek. Look at nature: we all need to grow, otherwise we die. Status quo is not rewarding and change is something we naturally fear and yet makes life worthwhile.
3. Eat the frog first
Begin with the task you dread the most. Postponing it only makes the dread last longer. Do it and then go and live life happily ever after.
Keep observing yourself in each moment, be mild and embrace your feelings. Acknowledge every feeling. Life is about integrating every aspect of yourself, not to fight yourself. Every moment holds an opportunity to grow and the stickiest, toughest moments are the best mirrors for growth.
And no worries, if you pass this opportunity, life will keep throwing challenges your way to keep practicing. We all are a work in progress.