We all face procrastination in one form or another, sometimes it's little daily chores, other times it's big life changing decisions. It is basically delaying or putting things off, not being motivated enough to get started or make decisions - from the simple getting up early and having a healthy breakfast, cleaning out the kitchen drawers to making life changing decisions - procrastination can hold us back and keep us stuck in negative spirals of self-defeating lethargy. There are many reasons for procrastinating and most of them prevent us from proactively getting on with our lives; limiting beliefs, not feeling you can, or are good enough to, perfectionism, putting unrealistic expectations on ourselves, resentment, feeling forced to do things, self-doubt, and fear of failure.
How many times have you made a list and looked at it every day with good intentions then spend the day scrolling through social media sites, watching telly, or spend hours jumping from one web site to another looking for that elusive vase you want for your living room and end up on a site discussing Procrastination! We have all been there, I know I have many times. The internet is a wonderful invention; however, you can waste hours before achieving what you set out to do.
At work we don't have a choice to procrastinate and carry out our tasks daily without a second thought. However, when we get home we feel no one is forcing us or judging us and relax, doing the things we want to do (after cooking, cleaning and caring for family that is) understandable and totally allowed, however when we don't make the effort to start and complete things that need to be done whether at home or elsewhere, it does have a detrimental effect. They are there in the background niggling away at our conscience preventing us from fully enjoying whatever else we are doing instead. They build up and the clutter is not just in your house but in your mind as well. If we just spend a few minutes every day making a little start and ticking off items on our lists, we will be free to enjoy whatever we choose to do without feeling guilty that we are neglecting other areas. I am not talking ‘regimented daily routines’ here, just being more mindful and proactive in getting organised. WE ALL KNOW THAT FANTASTIC FEELING OF ACHIEVEMENT WHEN WE GET THINGS DONE, so put in a little effort and spend the rest of your day doing things you enjoy.
Take the time to mindfully carry out tasks one at a time, don't try to multi-task. When you practice mindfulness, you concentrate on the task you are doing fully, no over-thinking, analysing or distractions. Take your time to enjoy whatever you are doing fully, immerse yourself and you will find total satisfaction and will be more likely to succeed.
A few little helpful suggestions to get you going - when you make a to-do list:
give each item a sensible due date and don't be too hard on yourself.
work your way down the list and change the items if you need to.
get the ball rolling: once you make the decision and get started, half the battle is over, and you are on your way to achieving your goal.
take baby steps: break down the items on your list into small, manageable steps so that your tasks don’t seem so overwhelming. If you want to tidy all the drawers in your bedroom, start with one drawer - making that start is very powerful and motivating. You may feel so pleased with yourself that you want to carry on or do another drawer later in the day.
if you feel procrastination coming on: make the start and the decision to spend just 5-10 mins only on one item – once completed, you can move on, or you may find that you enjoyed it so much and continue for a little longer.
eliminate distraction: ask yourself what pulls your attention away the most—our phones are a major distraction whether its social media, news, shopping, or calls —have your phone near you on vibrate so you don’t feel you may miss an important call, you could try some relaxing meditation music while you carry out your tasks.
Finally, congratulate yourself for the progress you have made. It is important to acknowledge our achievements no matter how small they are.