Have you ever wondered why you have bigger, better, more enjoyable or important things to do than what you are presently doing, and can’t find the time to do them? You’re not alone. You’re SO not alone that there is a word for it… PROCRASTINATION. I ask myself on a daily basis, why do I procrastinate on everything? And it’s so difficult to overcome that there are literally millions of websites catering to the problem.
I was preparing to write a little blog the other day. As I was sitting there in front of the television, listening to Columbo use the same exact line I’d heard him use at least a dozen times before, I decided I needed to mow the lawn.
Wait, my task was writing a blog, my first distraction was the television, which admittedly, after watching those old shows, I had nothing to show for it, no smarter, a little less physically fit and actually more tired than two hours before.
And Still A Problem… No blog post.
Not only was mowing the lawn my second distraction, but it was also something else I had been procrastinating about. Which is an important task, one of those that do not fit into the category of “a job well done, need never be done again”. Why was I trying to do anything and everything to keep me from doing what I wanted and NEEDED to do?
What is it?
Procrastination is just putting something off, postponing something, delaying a task or action. It’s not doing something we need to do, which would either be beneficial or would avoid a negative consequence. Putting off exercising will delay a beneficial effect. Not filing the taxes will guarantee a negative consequence.
What is it keeping you from doing?
Many times procrastination is caused by a fear or an aversion to performing the task. Exercising will cause shortness of breath and a high heart rate, and by definition, will require some work. Filing the taxes will show how lousy your budgeting skills were for the last year, as compared to your little bit of insufficient income you’re living on. Let alone the fear of having to fork over even more of your hard-earned income to Uncle Sam.
The television distracts from the mowing, the mowing distracts from the blogging. For me, personally, the blogging is connected to the fear of not performing up to the level I know I can. Fear of not being perfect. Fear of putting something out there that no one will read.
What’s holding YOU back?
Now you know what’s holding ME back, what is it that is holding you back? Is yours the same as mine, or do you have another extremely common and unrecognized fear – of success?
I worked with a young lady who is extremely smart, good-looking and well liked. But she could not make a decision to save her own life. She was so extremely afraid of making the wrong decision that whatever life handed her from not making a decision was what she lived with.
She hated her life. So bad that she tried to wash it away with alcohol. Don’t get me wrong, alcohol in moderation is fine. And yes, wine is good for you, etc. But when you cannot take a drink without every last time ending up the next morning wondering what you did the night before, you have a problem. Time to make a life-changing decision.
Realize what’s holding YOU back.
Just realizing what the cause is will help you over the hump. If it is fear of failure, realize failure is the first step to success. Failure just proves you have something to learn. If you aren’t failing, you aren’t learning.
IF you’re overwhelmed by the number of tasks, make a list of what you need to accomplish. Rank the list from lowest to highest depending on importance. And then work down the list from most important to least. Or rank them from easiest to hardest. Get rid of the easiest ones first, giving you a feeling of accomplishment and shortening your list.
If an item on the task list is too big, break it down into smaller tasks. For instance, try making an outline for your blogging subject. Then tackle each line item separately. Finally, combine it all into your blog/post.
If it is too many distractions, try eliminating them one at a time. Go to another room away from the TV. Get up, turn the TV off. Take care of the mowing,
How does one avoid procrastination forever?
If you’re like me, procrastination gets in the way of the important things. When I overcome it, it creeps back in, over time. Getting over it is something that needs to be accomplished in the sooner rather than later and banished for good. Mel Robbins has come up with an ingenious way to overcome it, and it seems to have worked great for her and millions of other people who have tried it.
It’s called the Five-Second Rule. No, it doesn’t have to do with dropping food on the floor, which at my house there is no five-second rule because my three dogs will never let a crumb hit the floor. You’d better not drop the turkey because the thing will be gone before you can say, “Let’s go get a pizza for Thanksgiving Dinner.”
Mel explains in her book, “The Five-Second Rule,” some interesting concepts. Our minds are programmed to avoid dangerous situations. If we’re a mouse wandering around looking for food and we arrive at the food, we start nibbling and all of a sudden, our mate gets eaten by a predator, we’re going to remember where this happened the rest of our lives, because we need to avoid that area in order to keep from being dinner for someone else.
How to use the Five-Second Rule.
Whereas if we found food, ate it, and nothing bad happened, no big deal, we forget about it. We’ll find lots of other places for food. In that fashion, our minds are programmed to be scared of anything and everything that is new to us. We avoid taking steps that would help us. Our subconscious minds stop us. With Mel’s rule, as soon as the idea pops into our head, we need to move on it immediately.
If we wait five seconds our subconscious mind will start telling us we can’t do that, we shouldn’t do that, and if we do that we’ll somehow die of a paper cut. We need to take action in the first five seconds. Need to do the taxes, get up now. Need to go exercise, get up now. Need to write a blog, sure enough, it worked because I’m 3/4s of the way through writing this blog as we speak!
To recap, the first thing you need to do is figure out what the problem is, Figure out why you procrastinate. That is half the battle. The other half of the battle is learning what to do about it.
I suggest reading Mel Robbins’ book, “The Five-Second Rule, Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage.” She has a lot of great stuff to help you through it. If you’re asking yourself, “why do I procrastinate on everything?” It’s because you haven’t read Mel Robbins’ book yet!
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To your online success,