top of page

Procrastination

Written by: Helen Anne Norbury, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Procrastination: that most perfect of enemies. As we launch into 2022, we are full of excitement for the year ahead; full of motivation for the goals we are going to achieve. Quite literally nothing could stand in our way.


And so it is we find ourselves, sitting in front of our laptops, head in hands, staring into space thinking of a thousand different things that we might need to do. We can be deeply convincing, to ourselves, of all the reasons why those tasks need to take priority over the job in hand. Even if, just a few days ago, the task we are now avoiding was the most important goal on our list; it was at the centre of our vision board and quite literally nothing was going to stop us from achieving it.

Procrastination is, without doubt, the biggest reason people get in touch with me. It quite literally shackles vast swathes of people, in both a personal and a professional capacity. Very rarely is the root cause about not knowing what to do. A bit like the New Year’s diet, virtually all of us know what we should be doing, but actually doing it can be an entirely different matter.


What is interesting about this though is WHY? If it’s important to us and we know what to do, why aren’t we giving ourselves the proverbial kick up the behind to just get on with it.


The reality is that procrastination is likely showing up in order to prevent us from some other future state, that our nervous system may perceive to be “dangerous” or unsafe in some particular way. Before you stop reading and think this is not the case for you, I invite you to get curious, and maybe dig a little deeper and see if there’s anything in what I am saying for you?


I look at procrastination, as well as many other blocks we may carry, from three perspectives: mindset; energy and strategy.


Mindset, Energy and Strategy hold the keys to your future


Let’s start where it is easy: what to do. These are the strategies we can use to beat procrastination. However, the bad news here is that these alone will not make a fundamental difference to you, at least not in isolation. They will almost certainly help you, but if you stop here, nothing will profoundly change in your life (you need to keep reading for that!)

  • BE REALISTIC: Set yourself realistic goals for what you can achieve in the day/week, making sure you allow for rest, exercise, fun and family time.

  • TIME BLOCK: Allocate blocks of time to different tasks – and then stick to it. You will amaze yourself what you can get done!

  • FOCUS: Focus on what is urgent and important first. It can be really helpful to categorise your tasks at the beginning of each day to help in the prioritisation of tasks, otherwise it can be tempting to find yourself busy doing the less urgent and less important tasks, simply because you like them more!

  • GET ACCOUNTABLE: Having someone to whom you are accountable can really help your motivation – we don't mind making excuses to ourselves, but others...!


It can be so tempting, especially when you are busy to sit down at your laptop in the morning and then the next time you think to move, it is late afternoon. The reality is, however, that when we work like this, we are impacting ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually. The logical part of your brain may try to convince you that if you take a short break, you will lose productive time (believe me, I’ve had this discussion often!) but the factual reality of the situation is a short break is proven to boost your productivity and the quality of the work you are doing.

  • CHANGE YOUR STATE: Re-energise at least every 50 minutes – move, get air in your lungs, and get your blood pumping around your body!

  • POWER SONG: Choose a song that helps you to feel energised, committed and motivated to get tasks done and then play it as often as you need it! Just for reference, mine is “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman. I find the words so inspiring, and it is a great “belter” for singing and dancing along to!

  • POWER HOUR: Work in blocks of 50 minutes work, followed by 10 minutes for reward time (a cup of tea, some stretching, some breath work, fresh air). In the summer I love to get my bare feet on the grass and lie back and look at the clouds. It grounds me and really energises me ready for my next power hour.


The third piece of this fascinating puzzle is mindset. Whether we like it or not, our subconscious controls 90% of what we think, say, and do and consequently it creates our reality. No-one wakes up and starts their day setting their intention to procrastinate for the day. This is driven by messages, stories and beliefs that have been stored in our subconscious and, by procrastinating, we can avoid having to feel some big feels.


This presents us with a choice – do we keep trying to suppress those emotions and allow them to continue subconsciously creating our reality, or do we expose, process, and resolve it? That is a question only you can answer, but just know that you are not destined to a life of procrastination: there is another way.

  • GET CURIOUS: Ask yourself this: "I'm avoiding this task because I'm afraid that..." Be compassionate with yourself as you explore the answers to this question. Do not make your previous procrastination habit wrong – it was there for a reason and once we understand that reason, we can look to resolve it.

  • S.A.C.K. DISTRACTIONS: when you notice that you are heading for a distraction, even a seemingly worthy one such as cleaning the house, SACK the distraction so you can continue with the task at hand!

    • STOP: take a deep breath (or three) and pause.

    • AFFIRM: remind yourself that you're safe and able to deal with any scary emotions that might be coming up, even at a subconscious level.

    • CONTINUE: with the task at hand.

    • KINDNESS: to show to yourself. Be compassionate, give yourself a virtual or literal hug and keep breathing!

  • REWARD YOURSELF: Give yourself a reward for completing major/challenging milestones. It will give you extra motivation. Please try to avoid food, especially chocolate, and alcohol as rewards. Depending on the size and complexity of the milestone, I may reward myself with a film night; a blow dry at the hairdresser; getting my nails done; a massage; a home facial; a long bubble bath with my favourite book. You get the idea!

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult - Seneca


Conspicuous by their omission from any of these lists are those favourite of solutions that people propose such as, just get on with it; or procrastination is just another word for laziness. Neither of these are usually reasons for procrastination.


Scientifically, there is some evidence to suggest a short-term "hit" from procrastinating but long-term it is only pain – and if you've ever procrastinated, boy do you know that!

Procrastination is actually related to low self-esteem, anxiety; stress; depression and poor self-regulation.


When we feel anxiety around an activity, we postpone it.


So, how do you stop going to bed saying tomorrow is the day that you stop procrastinating and start now taking great leaps towards hitting your goals? How do you start living life on your terms?


Of course, putting in place the strategies I mention above will help you hugely with the practical ways to overcome procrastination. To be honest, the energy tips are great but procrastination itself is an energy drain so that becomes somewhat self-fulfilling as your energy needs are greater and more regular “top-ups” are needed when you are procrastinating.


However, if you are serious about making a difference in your life with procrastination and beyond, mindset is going to hold the master key, because for even the most iron of wills, willpower alone is not going to win this battle.


Is 2022 your time to get curious about the stories and beliefs that are running your life and decide who you want to be in the driving seat of your life?


If so, I would love to connect with you to support you with your curiosity and moving past your fears. Visit my website here and follow me on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn!

 

Helen Anne Norbury, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Helen Anne Norbury believes the mind holds the key to every success you desire to achieve and so she helps people who have experienced a challenging childhood to clear their limiting beliefs and rewrite their inner stories so they can live and work with freedom, passion and confidence. Helen combines her trauma coaching qualification with her experience as a Management Consultant and 20 years of corporate coaching to truly unlock the potential in each and every one of her clients, through the resolving of limiting subconscious beliefs. Founder of the Life Mastery Blueprint, a programme opening doors for people across the world.

Yorumlar


CURRENT ISSUE

  • linkedin-brainz
  • facebook-brainz
  • instagram-04

CHANNELS

bottom of page