Are you inclined to put things off? Even things that you know will get you closer to a goal or desire you have?
I’m guilty of this. In fact, I’m probably the worlds’ best recovering procrastinator.
But I have learned some valuable lessons about life and handling my inherent nature to want to ‘start later’… like putting something off today doesn’t make it any easier to do tomorrow and you don’t have any more time to do it either. You can outsmart procrastination.
On top of that, there’s a good chance, you’re never going to like the results you get when you have to rush to get something done that you’ve been putting off for days…sometimes weeks!
If you struggle with your natural tendency to procrastinate, you’ll know how often it turns out that the longer we look at something we know we really ought to get on with, the bigger it looks, the more difficult it feels and the harder it is to just start the darn thing.
We all have something we want to achieve, to accomplish or to experience but between where we are and what we want lies…
1. The invisible enemy
It’s something we can’t see or touch but we feel it. It’s the death knell to our dreams and desires. It’s negative and designed to get in the way of any invention, or creation.
It stops the painter from painting, the author from writing and the dreamer from fulfilling their dreams. It’s called resistance. And it will poison you and create sorrow and stress and eventually make you sick.
Sometimes in our habit of putting things off we can be our own worst enemy.
Knowing you’re on the wrong track is the first step for getting the procrastination monkey off your back.
2. Look out for the dream crusher
Most of us have dreams that have bitten the dust due to resistance; and procrastination is the best and most dangerous tool it has, because we don’t say I’m never going to do something, we say I WILL start that diet, I WILL write that book, I WILL start that new business…just not now, not today.
And one day we look around and see we’ve not only put off living our life today, we’ve been putting it off for years.
If this is you, it’s time to stop the habit of putting things off. No matter how long you’ve been playing small, you’re in charge of your life and it’s in your hands whether your dreams come to life.
Truth be told every day we wake up to new potentiality and every day you can get out there and bring your best self to the game…OR… keep on holding yourself back with your willingness to let old habits run your new day.
3. Living beneath the limits
Don’t ever fall for the story that resistance isn’t real, it’s the most poisonous, invisible force in your world. But remember, this is the very moment you can change your life.
There are no moments when you don’t have the power to do something different. Once you accept responsibility for creating your life, then you can un-create and re-create your experiences as you choose.
Most of us live far within our limits. You possess incredible powers which, if you would become aware of and use, would support you in living the life you dream of.
In the end you can continue to live your life being a victim of old, unhelpful habits, or you can decide you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for and wake up to the magic of getting things done.
4. The unexplored land of plenty
Too often we’re so caught up in our resistance or the difficulty of what lies ahead that we forget we have the same ability as the farmer, who when given some land can sow whatever he chooses. The land doesn’t care what he plants it simply returns to him the effects of his planting.
Your mind is probably the most unexplored, mysterious place in the world.
It’s as fertile as any land and works in the same way.
In fact it contains riches far beyond anything you’ve so far dreamed of, and it doesn’t care what you plant; fear, worry, doubts, or valuable and richly rewarding goals or dreams…they’ll all be returned to you.
5. If old dogs can learn new tricks you can outsmart procrastination
Forget the saying about old dogs learning new tricks. It’s not true and young dogs can learn new tricks too.
You have to train yourself. You can teach yourself to succeed in business, in making money, in creating any life you choose. You can learn your way to greater success and happiness.
The difference between the super successful in any walk of life and the rest of us is that they’re willing to act, in spite of resistance, in spite of fear, in spite of doubt. They don’t wait till they feel like doing something. They just get down and do it. Now. Don’t let any negative feelings you might have get in your way.
Begin small if needs be. Take one little thing you’ve been putting off and just do it. Nike knew what they had with that slogan.
6. Experts’ top tips
A lot of frustration and unhappiness could be avoided if we would just do what we know ought to. What overwhelms us is not the thing itself. It’s thinking how hard it’s going to be. It’s seeing it getting larger every day, until it looms over us like a giant, depressing cloud.
If you have some things in the pipeline but you just haven’t got around to doing them, remember this, successful people do what the rest of us only think about because they’ve accepted they don’t have to feel like doing something to do it.
These tips might help too:
- Forget perfectionism. Remember even an imperfect step taken right now is better than a perfect step never taken.
- Get help. If you find something overwhelming, reach out. Someone would love to help you.
- Remove distractions. If you’re like me, you might need to turn everything off to focus. I love to use some of the ambient sounds on this app to help me stay on track.
- Accept your natural tendency to procrastinate and be aware when you’re about to put something off.
- Learn from your past. Keep in mind how frustrated you feel when you don’t get things done and how great (and even virtuous) you feel when you get the thing done. I love feeling virtuous. It’s so satisfying!
- Be kind to yourself if you do procrastinate. New habits take a little time.
- Ask yourself, “What one little step can I take right now to move me forward. Then do it.
7. Spiritually speaking
Health, wealth, or joy are not created they’re magnetized by your mind-set. The actions you take or don’t take are a result of where your attention lies. If you want to transform yourself and your life, mentally create the ideal person you want to be and begin to assume you’ve become that person.
Imagine yourself to be the one with better habits and allow new thoughts and ideas on being that person to percolate until they become your dominant thoughts then the attainment of your ideal is inevitable.
If you can move those ‘I just don’t feel like doing it’ thoughts into the realms of creating a new habit, you’re far more likely to get things done.
Now, I’d love to hear from you.
Have you ever found yourself bumping into your own natural procrastination habit. What steps have you taken to outsmart them? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
Remember to share as much detail as possible for all those incredible souls who come here each week for encouragement and inspiration. Your words may just be what someone else needs to have a breakthrough. And if someone in your circle of friendship might benefit from some tips, please share with your peeps!
Encourage one another
4 thoughts on “How to Outsmart Procrastination”
Great post Elle. For me, the last suggestion you make is critical. I have a list (many lists!) but each time I’m ready to do something, I think ‘what’s the next thing on the list’. If I take away some of the effort of deciding, and just do, then this seems to help me get on with things.
So true Ellen, getting rid of some of the decision factors and just beginning makes it easier for me too. Funny how once I get going I wonder what ever stopped me in the first place. That old resistance thing that is so opaque no doubt. 🙂
I find that if I tell myself ” I will do it for 15 or 30 or even 60 minutes and see where it takes me” I usually work on a task much longer and the results fuel me to keep going. Seeing the fruits of my labour inspires me, I get in a groove and feel so satisfied with the outcome that I happily move on to the next project. It “snowballs” and I feel great rolling on! Just starting something is the catalyst for change!
Amazing! You are a blessing to me. Olaide