“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday” ~ Don Marguis
What’s your excuse?
It shapes who we are and what our life looks like.
Depending on where we are in the procrastination cycle, delaying action could be detrimental or helpful.
What? What did you just say?
Let’s first look at why we procrastinate
- Fear of the unknown, of failure, of looking foolish or misunderstood, of rejection and fear of reflection
- Lack of time – I don’t have time for this, I have other things I am procrastinating about that I have to do first
- Finances – too much debt, no disposable income
- Too tired
- Too many obligations or ideas preventing us from focusing on one thing
- No idea how to start or what to do next
- Afraid we’ll miss out on something else
Another reason or excuse we use is everything has to be perfect and all parts to the puzzle have to be in place and ready to go before we can move forward.
How many times have you waited until everything was perfect only to miss the window of opportunity and now you’re ready but no one is interested in what you have to offer?
Where does this idea of perfection come from?
|· Parents/family||· Teachers||· Spiritual Leaders|
|· Business gurus||· Friends||· Bosses|
|· Career choice|
So what is the procrastination cycle that I mentioned earlier?
In one of his programs, Tony Robbins talks about pain vs. pleasure as the source of procrastination.
The first part of the cycle is that the pleasure associated with not doing something is stronger than the pain of not doing it.
For example. You want to lose weight, you know you have to lose weight and you have a list of reasons why. You also know it will take time, it may not be easy and it is seen as being painful. You don’t see any pleasure connected to going on a diet. You are offered a piece of chocolate and although it’s not on your diet, the pleasure you get from eating it outweighs the pain you feel about dieting.
You will continue procrastinating until something switches in your brain where it becomes more painful to not do it and the pain overrides whatever pleasure you use to have.
Using the same dieting example but this time your procrastination lands you in your MD’s office or a store’s dressing room trying on clothes for an upcoming reunion or a bathing suit for a vacation. Suddenly there is more pain associated with not dieting than the pleasure of having that piece of chocolate.
This pain vs. pleasure balancing act can be applied to anything you are procrastinating about.
So what can you do to move forward, to reduce or eliminate your procrastination?
Figure out the pain & pleasure associations with your action or inaction. This in and of itself can be stressful because it asks you to look more closely at yourself and at your life.
Try this exercise
- To get started, find a space where you can think and write (journal or computer).
- Bring lavender into your environment. Lavender has a calming, relaxing and balancing effect both physically and emotionally. It improves concentration and mental activity*. It can be applied to your skin (wrists, chakras) or diffused into the air.
- When you are ready list 2-4 actions you need to take in your life but you haven’t
- For each action you listed, write down:
- What pleasure have you gotten from not doing this action? Dig deep, be as honest as you can
- What pain do you associate with each of the actions you listed? What has stopped you from doing it?
- What will happen / what will it cost you over the next 3-5 years if you don’t do this? Remember to look at all areas of your life (family, career, friends, spiritual, physical, mental, etc.)
- What will you gain if you do each of these actions now?
Now you know some of the reasons you procrastinate, the pain and pleasure you associate with not doing the action and what the impact of doing nothing will mean to your life.
It’s time to direct your energies to eliminate your procrastination so you can begin to move forward into your future.
* Essential Oils Pocket Reference, 7th Edition by Life Science