Procrastination is often a symptom of perfectionism. Because perfectionists fear being unable to complete a task perfectly, they put it off as long as possible. This stems from the fear that not meeting the goal means that there is something bad, wrong or unworthy inside of them.
Quote by Denise Jacobs
Whaoh! Sixteen (16) days gone already. My last post was published sixteen days ago? It sure is a lot of work to write each post. But I flow so naturally and unstoppable once I start writing. Though I know it can be tasking, but am always unfettered and unruffled by the hard work involved. So, why did I stop for this long?
Not that I did not have a daily urge to write or at least a topic to write on. I have actually started a post and left it as a draft. But I could not just spare the time to write because I was not in the mood. I also seem to have a silent fear that I will not be able to deliver the kind of quality write up that I want without distractions from my other life pursuits.
But this gave me a sense of loss. Loss of productivity, loss of connection with my online friends and co-bloggers. And a loss of traction to the speed and momentum I was building up.
Wait a minute, sense of loss? Did I write that? 16 days of FAILING to write or 16 days of SUCCEEDING only in procrastination? Even in this, my cup is half full not half empty. This makes me to remember, I have Succeeded in Zero out of 3 Happiness and Confidence Test.
I will speak and write about succeeding and not failing. A failure is someone who has given up, who has not started, or taken a step. I only had a break. A failure will be the car maker stopping work in 1914, simply because he/she could get a futuristic glimpse of the fast cars of 2018. A failure can be likened to a snail that refuse to starts its journey simply because it sees ahead, a tortoise, then a turtle, then a cheetah.
Therefore today, I choose to direct just one deadly shot against procrastination. Just write! And guess what, I choose to write about that one thing that is holding me back, procrastination. I faced the elephant in the room.
I realize that I procrastinated on this very important journey because I allow it to drop in my order of priority. I allowed myself to be bugged down by the same old “other people’s very urgent and important businesses”, and things that are in my comfort zone, rather than push my limit in this one area of flow and joy. This seemingly unimportant and not so urgent area of my life, but where I want to start making the biggest changes and achieve the highest growth.
I understand your personal frustration as you too sit in the hall way of procrastination.
But you too can get up, dust off the lethargy, arm yourself with your clearly identified life goals, game changer ideas or pursuit and just go for it! Get on board that stimulating train or activity again. That one jolly train that was taking you on your journey of purpose and accomplishment.
So, what are you going to do, differently?
My one deadly shot against procrastination, was; just start, just do it.
To further assist your understanding and expand this beyond my usual simplistic solutions, I decided to search for additional guides. Let me start with a summary from two Forbes write ups; 10 Scientifically Proven Tips for Beating Procrastination and Why Being A Perfectionist Can Hold You Back
1. Pick your poison – this is about focus and choosing/ prioritizing on ONE thing.
2. Start today – taking immediate action.
3. Five Minute Miracle – taking a small doable chunk, or identified small action.
4. Do a Power Hour – put away all distractions and work in concentrated chunks of time.
5. Kill it With Kindness – forgive yourself for past procrastination.
6. Have a Procrastination Power Song – get a song that really gets you energized.
7. Get under the hood – understand exactly why you’ve been procrastinating a specific task.
8. Let It Go – decide if this item need to be dropped off the ‘to do list’.
9. Make a bet – have an accountability buddy and have a bet with the person.
10. Make it fun – create a reward for yourself if the procrastinated task is completed.
Finally, I have done it again. I have gone a long way writing another blog I can be proud of simply because I took the first steps.
Prior to now, I had finished some other “pressing” priorities. Yesterday, I had a very lively and stimulating conversation with a colleague about my blog. This spurred me into action and made me refocus to do just this ONE thing that I have procrastinated doing for so long. I had the conversation yesterday, failed again (did not succeed) to start yesterday even though it was on my ‘to do list’ for several days. But I took action today. At least, today is closer to immediately, more than tomorrow or never. I just wanted to kick start it. But I went more than 75% with the first shot. I did not just do a five minute miracle slot, I used a two hours online meeting to multitask.
Surely, according to the research referred to in the Forbes write up,
“… once you start something, you’re much more likely to finish it”…
This is a psychological phenomenon called, the Zeigarnik effect. With two hours spent now, I had moved from a five minute miracle to doing a power one hour. I have also forgiven myself (maybe not totally), for procrastinating this long. I also overcame the lethargy of not wanting to fail. My accountability buddy sent me a reminder email this morning, funny, just remembering. Did all these seemingly unconnected actions actually contributed to me writing this post today? Maybe.
What are you currently procrastinating doing? What will you do now, immediately, to make a difference? What can you advice to help someone stop procrastinating? Are you been daunted by procrastination triggers?
Chris Bailey’s Harvard Business Review write up on 5 Research-Based Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination listed Pychyl’s seven triggers that make a task seem more averse. They are, if the task is, boring, frustrating, difficult, ambiguous, unstructured, not intrinsically rewarding, or lacking in personal meaning.
SPARE ONE HOUR – For Additional Knowledge From Multiple Videos
I started with my ONE shot, 5 miracle minutes, 2 hours of multitasking doing this post, and ended up spending additional hours to learn more.
I realized from Robin Sharma (How I Beat Procrastination) 2WW, that my walking exercises over the weekend could also have aided my “readiness” to write today.
Rafeal Eliassen sounded so persuasive in Killing Procrastination – COMPLETELY Eliminate Putting Things Off, FOREVER. He talked about how most of us do to tap into our potential and talent. This is the same damning verdict I got yesterday when I finally made a so long procrastinated call to someone. Again, perhaps another unknown and seemingly unrelated shot that may have helped me to write this post.
Mel Robbins TEDxSF How to stop screwing yourself over came late, but made me realize that I stopped screwing myself when I pushed my ONE first shot and started to just write. I actually talked and opened up to a friend over the weekend. This is someone who had always harassed me that I don’t talk freely. Someone I can call a close stranger. I said I was not FINE! That I needed to do things differently. This is the same person who helped me get back to my exercise routine, just been an exercise buddy.
Mel Robbins piece in Retrain your Mind, and The Secret to Self-Motivation is also fantastic. The question, “why is it so hard to do the little things that will change my life”, struck a deep cord down my heart. The importance of the DECISIONS or INDECISIONS I make, daily, the 5 seconds rule, etc also corroborate the other advise from other writers or “coach”. Then comes again that powerful fact of, JUST DO IT NOW!
DON’T wait for TOMORROW before you ACT.
Infact, don’t wait for the 6th second after now.
Within 5 seconds from now, DO SOMETHING POSITIVE to move your life, task or project FORWARD.
Beat the procrastination triggers off this game.
PLEASE, don’t throw away tomorrow.
(By the way, that’s the title of a great book by Robert H. Schuller, you need to get one and read.)
Or, if we neglect today, can tomorrow be better?
I started in the morning with a first shot.
I have done several reviews and rewriting all day, actually dropping everything else.
It’s evening and am beginning to get a bit frustrated that I have not been able to finish the post. I feel like just publishing it as is. But I can’t. It’s not yet good enough. Is it my perfectionist self at play again? Now it will want me to procrastinate on publishing this for you to read. Why should there be so many obstacles and barriers towards a good cause? At every new turn, after one other victory, why is perfectionism and procrastination there, standing in the way of my tomorrow?
Starting is just the beginning. There should be no delusion that there is always a lot of hard work involve in delivering our goal.
See you tomorrow, with your yesterday’s goals achieved, as you fiercely progress towards your life purpose and as you brighten up the world around you with the smile of someone who has had fulfilling today.
Photocredits: Smallstarter Africa, Pinterest, motivationalreads