What is your Goal, Vision or Dream?
Are you someone who always seems to be “busy” but does not get much done?
Do you dream about the possibility of doing something that makes you feel good but put it off because you do “not have enough time”?
Is there a specific goal or dream that you imagine about but do nothing with as you are not sure where to start?
Do you want to stop procrastination NOW and utilise your time better?
Does your proscrastination cause you to feel guilty, confused and exhausted?
Would you like to be more organised?
Are there things you would love to do or complete, or get involved in which are on your “to-do” or “wishlist” for months or even years!.
I know the answer to most of these is a profounding YES… BUT… and….
You have lots of reasons as to why you did not do this, that or the other. I know them all and I could have won 1st prize as a serial procrastinator a few years back!..
Your brain is very cleaver at hijacking you to come up with reasons to help you to justify why you did not do something that, deep down, you really want to do. Your reasons are often excuses and as you know you are kidding yourself, you will feel even worse. Sounds contradictory but some of your hesitation will come from the unconscious mind:
What do I actually want and Why do I want it?
When do I get the time?
How can I manage it?
Who can help me?
Who will care or like it?
I was busy on ‘other’ stuff…
Procrastinating is a habit which is formed over time, so you become very good at it! If you want to break that habit, it is easy when you know how but it takes a lot of practice.
Top Reasons for Procrastination
More often than not, the main reason for not starting something is that it will take too long with too little time.
We are often influenced by how we spend our time by external demands such as work, children and even addiction to social media.
I have heard and given all the excuses but I have seen patterns emerge which ARE NOT YOUR FAULT. I have listed the top reasons I have either personally used or have heard from some of my clients:
Not actually knowing what it is you want (you know what you don’t want – that’s easy)
Pleasing others first-one person told me that they do not have ‘down-time’ after a full day at the office as it is “mean on their partner”
Low self-esteem to understand your own personal needs and unique identity
Turning a blind eye to achieving those personal needs for the pain it may bring
Not being able to say no
Poor time management or concept of time
Allowing other ‘things’ to take over
You want to get on with it, but do not know where to start”
Lack of motivation or stimulation
No purpose in life-“what’s the point”?
Lack of energy and perseverance
Fear of failure, making a mistake or getting it wrong
FEAR OF SUCCESS…. yes, it does play a role…
A voice in your head telling you to take it easy or you can’t do it.. (if it is parent, then have a look at this website as you are not alone https://www.myhorridparent.com
You are a perfectionist and this creates too high standards to stop you starting
You do not know the underlying reasons why you are always ‘stuck in rut’
Procrastination can be good or bad as it does serve you….
What? I hear you say.. Yes, your unconscious mind will be looking at a survival mechanism to either save you from the pain of a time-consuming or large task or it will put you into conflict to try to feel more relaxed by not going there.
A need for recognition by doing small tasks is also a common human pattern and this overlaps into everything we do from resting or taking time for ourselves to when we eat or go to bed. When are you going to start tuning into your own body clock and start doing things for you? Eventually, it will pay off by benefitting other people.
An interesting concept I have discovered with my clients is that they procrastinate more around September or just as Autumn starts to creep in. I see not just a primal ancestry tendency here but also a pattern in my world of Ayurveda :
If the seasons fall into place as the weather should permit, this will mark the beginning of Autumn. It would be wiser and kinder to yourself to review your routines and clear down for Winter at this time. Your body and mind need to adjust so try not to make big plans. Otherwise, your body WILL fight you, causing a natural tendency to procrastinate. Your body wants you to take it easy for the first few weeks of September to allow a natural transition. This is when the weather becomes cooler and drier and this will, undoubtedly, affect different dosha energies of the body:
- Autumn is the Vata dominance and imbalance time of the year. This is because it a time of year when the Vata body constitutions may feel more dry, constipated and restless. You have worry, anxiety and overload and may not tackle anything too big or overwhelming because of this. You are trying to hard to continue and will use the word “should” a lot but really the best thing for you will be taking it easy the first week or two of the new season. You can then get on with whatever plans you need to make and will have more energy for it.
- The next person by now, may feel just “burned out” and have achieved ‘loads’ but had to overwork to get there (Pitta dominance and imbalance). You will be the type that nearly always gets things done and admits to being “obsessed” with work. People “wonder how you do it” but it is often at the sacrifice of your family or health. You will be the one who drinks too much to relax and eventually suffers liver or heart problems from extreme stress. However, September can be a good time for the “Pitta” constitutions to turn their drive into change and cool relief from the hot summer. They may decide to book up a competitive sporting event or review their exercise plans or you could be the one to book your holiday before everyone else does. Take it easy in September and do not overdo it – gentle runs, cycling or swimming will benefit Pitta greatly this time of year.
- If you are generally the ‘type’ that has no pressure or sense of urgency to you, others may call you lazy or ‘too laid back’, then the Kapha dominance and body type may be at work here. However, early Autumn is a great time of year for Kaphas to make plans and changes AND start implementing them now in small doses. Using this energy wisely will be key for Kaphas to keep a clear head and set some goals before the hibernation and weight gain of winter sets in. Contact me if you need help with balancing your weight over the winter period.
September is a wonderful time of year for review and renewal. Many people set goals in January (the worst time of year to plan or commit to anything) and some people tend to join the gym in September and October (unknown to them that they are in the Vata time of year so will not keep it up as February and March is too cold for them!. Other people (Pittas and Kaphas primarily) go back to their ‘health regimes’ and massages after summer as their bodies intuitively know that they need some extra care.
Health Note: Your body is trying to build a layer of insulation to help it through the colder months, so accept this. Procrastination will be normal at this time so it will be fine to let it go and do not overplan your schedule. In addition, your immunity needs more careful attention around this time of year. Consider doing a gentle body cleanse and having an enema or colonic hydrotherapy to remove any parasites that build up in the body during the hot months of summer. Drinking herbal teas and warm liquids as opposed to cool or cold will be better for all body types (you will notice this automatically as many people are more dehydrated in the Autumn and Winder months as they drink more alcohol and less water!).
A manual lymphatic drainage massage will also compliment any cleansing or immune boosting support you take on. My Kitchari Cleanse is ideal for those practicing the Ayurveda lifestyle and is recommended between each season.
Strategic Procrastination can also be a good thing as it can delay any irrational or thoughtless actions and allows ideas to bubble away in the background. It is more of a deliberate action to do nothing. It may be that you have worked really hard on something, expending your physical and mental energy and have a decision to make on something else. By stepping back and procrastinating, you allow time to evaluate your options and reduce any risk by helping your brain to make well thought-out choices. This is good when large amounts of money or investment are required or changing careers or gaining new qualifications which cost both money and time. Strategic procrastinaton can help more ideas come to the surface to put that dream idea into play. I did exactly this when planning my retreats for the year.
Be careful you do not take long to make a decision like this but once you get your timing right, it can be a great move forward for you.
Results of Procrastination
So, excluding the change in seasons, and strategic procrastination and just being burnt out, you have something on your mind that you want to deal with soon. This can be anything from a difficult conversation to getting a new wardrobe or a time-consuming work project, planning a divorce or climbing Everest….!
When it comes to work deadlines, study or time-sensative goals, procrastinating and starting last minute can put your body under stress to get it done. I do not care if you say you are good at getting things done “last minute”. All this shows is that you crave stimulation and challenge and this way of achieving it is not healthy in the long-term.
Your inability to make decisions and plan properly can be tiring and exhausting and will have a negative impact on your health andn your relationships. Seeing someone run around like a ‘headless chicken’ can be extremely frustrating for others to watch and live with.
Fire-fighting is not a way to live your life and you will feel overwhelmed and down with guilt, as well as a feeling of being ‘useless’ and stuck in a maze. This is a negative state of mind and then impacts other areas of your life such as relationships, sleep and diet.
- Procrastinating and lack of weekly planning can also create clutter in your workspace and home. This then adds to a cluttered mind, with no motivation to start anything. Hoarders will admit to feeling this way.
- Procrastinating uses energy that could be spent feeling uplifted and energised.
- Procrastinating leads to positive and healthy habits taking a back seat as they do not get the priority they need.
- Procrastinating can cause you to feel depressed by not achieving or gaining personal rewards.
- Procrastinating can cause restless sleep due to unprocessed thoughts and lingering ‘to do’ lists.
- Continuous procrastinating can be bad for your health as a basic, intelligent human being needs calm and relaxation.
- Procrastinating means you are not being the best you can and the world is missing out on your skills or experience.
- Procrastinating can put your mind into a maze of thoughts, which become a ‘haze of thoughts’ with poor memory.
Time Management Process (to help yourself)
There are very simple but effective methods to put in place to help you manage your time better and stop procrastinating. I will include an in-depth guide on this as part 2 of the procrastination blog. In the meantime, here are some general pointers to get you started:
- Get rid of post-its and back of envelopes for writing things down.
- Turn off all notifications and pop-ups from social media, emails and texts.
- Unsubscribe to all those newsletters and just capture a list of companies or people you want to follow or check up on.
- Set a time each day or week when you will look at these AND respond or action.
- If it takes 2 MINUTES or less to do, THEN DO IT NOW. Do not write a note or reminder to do it later.
- Set a one-word THEME FOR THE YEAR and write it down at the front of your notepad. For example, this year my theme was FUN, last year it was BUSINESS. This coming year is SOCIAL and another year was DECLUTTER. Make up your own and attract it. IT WILL HAPPEN.
- Write a list of PROJECTS, Goals or Aims that you want to achieve.
- For each Project, write the very next action needed to move it forward – ask yourself who do you need to speak with first, if anyone. Otherwise do you need to set up a date to start. If so put a date in the dairy. The next action may involve research or financial planning or just starting.
- You can have as many projects as you want but then decide which one or 2 you are going to work on next.
- Write a list of things you do regularly such as your morning routine or preparation needed for work or just packing for your holiday.
- Capture these regular actions into CHECKLISTS that you can refer to every time you need to. Do not write and re-write this sort of thing – it is a total waste of your time and energy.
- Have a small notebook or app on your phone to capture items you need when next in town. Call this pad AT TOWN. Use the 2 minute rule above whenever you think of something that you need to get when next out and write it down straight away – then forget about it.
- At the front of your notebook or productivity tool, have a list of items you need to and want to do each week. Keep these small based on what your appointments in your diary are. These 2 need to go hand in hand in order to be realistic about what you can achieve.
- Include some action or step from your project list or yearly theme.
- At the end of the week, REVIEW what you have done or need to carry over or drop. This will help guide you into the following week.
- What have you got on in your diary that needs preparation or travel etc?
- What did you have on last weeks lists that you did not do? Do you carry it over to this week OR drop it?
- What action did you do from your PROJECTS/GOALS to move them forward?
- What are our list of actions for this week (based on diary commitments and things that need your “attention”)
- Set a time once a month to do another review – ask yourself what you achieved last month and what you want to get done this month. People are never much good at giving themselves praise for what they HAVE done but find it all too easy to beat themselves up about what they have NOT done.
- Consider starting a journal to capture your thoughts from the day or week and use this as self-therapy or processing to reduce stress.
- Let go of GUILT – if you did not manage something, work out why. You are the one in control of all of this and feeling guilty will not serve you.
Here’s how I help
Firstly, I know how it feels to be in a maze and not get anywhere. I do not judge any of your decisions or lack of decision making or hesitation. Instead I work with you over a series of sessions to get you to be the best version of yourself, balance your life and start living so that you have something positive to get out of bed for every day. Addressing the underlying reason why you are ‘stuck’ will be the key to a good coach. I do not just talk at you but work WITH you and your map of the world.
All of the reasons listed for not doing something are valid and human. However, there are ways around most of them and this is where coaching can come into it.
- Why are you too tired?
- Who are you trying to please – is there a voice inside your head that you may not have taken much notice of?
- We look at your needs and how they are met or not
- We get your self-identity, self-esteem, purpose in life and motivation raised to another level
- What would you like to change, see or do?
- How do you organise yourself? We will review this thoroughly and get a simple system that works for you.
- What takes over?
- Can you learn the three step approach?
- We will look at your time management which I base partly from an understanding of your ayurveda dosha, as this influences how you handle stress, anxiety and tackling big projects.
- I will look at how you plan your week, your daily routines and what is getting in the way that is not obvious to you.
- We will change how you organise yourself, your to do lists and start getting some actions written down in an easily accessible area for you to use.
- We look at your office or desk space and where you work and your energy levels for particular tasks.
- We look at ensuring you are eating and sleeping well and doing things that serve and please you. Yes the chores stil have to be done and you wear various ‘hats’ of responsibility but it is about achieving balance in your already hectic world, whether you work six days or two.
- We look at the importance of your ‘toolbox and tools’ such as your notepads, diary, reminders, regular or recurring events or things.
- Are you electronic or manual – that does not matter. What will help you is having a flow to get the things done that you want to get done. When I worked with UBS and Franklin Covey representatives we had basic tools of just an outlook calendar and a Palm Pilot or Blackberries. However, the same principles can still apply today, even with internet and social media.
- We will look at how you ‘process anything that comes in’. Things that come in can range from:
- An email
- A voicemail
- A request or suggestion by a partner or colleague
- An item through your letterbox
- A social media comment or article of interest
- A notification on your phone or tablet (that you feel you MUST respond to NOW)..
- A quick thought that you usually jot down on a post-it note
- Something you heard and want to ‘research’
- The back of the envelope “reminder”
- The clutter on your desk
- The voice inside your head.
If you find yourself in a rut of overwhelm, getting nothing done, creating more lists, getting nothing done – you are planning too much. Its as simple as that.
Where will you fit in some FUN and LAUGHTER and SOCIAL – it is not all serious you know…?
If you want to discuss how I can help, call me on 07903 215524. We can have a confidential chat about what you want to have happen and how we could streamline and manage your systems and your time to your advantage.
Costs are £65.00 and include follow up phone calls to keep you on track in between our sessions.
Photo why what how-geralt/pixabay
Photo 2 question-Anemone123 / Pixabay