I have spoken to so many people, myself included, who has gone through stages in isolation, where they are struggling to find motivation, otherwise known as can’t be ar*ed! This is absolutely no surprise, and I am going to talk a bit about why. I want to share this with you so that you can maybe let yourself off the hook a bit, because actually when we treat ourselves with a bit more love and compassion, and take the pressure off, it also reduces procrastination, win win. You get to be treated with more love, and you also get more done!
Why would we keep delaying or putting something off? The easy answer would be because we don’t like doing it, but have you ever procrastinated so much that you literally get not nothing done, not even the stuff that you sometimes enjoy?
Our complete reality is experienced through our thoughts. We may believe we are not getting stuff done because,
We don’t know where to start
Or it’s too hot outside
Or we are too tired
It’s the story we are telling ourselves. For me when I procrastinate it’s usually after a cycle of thought that goes something like…
I have too much to do
I need to get it all done ASAP
I am not in the mood
It will be rubbish if I do it now
Why have I left it all to the last minute
I can’t work when the house is a mess
I am hungry
I need a cup of tea
By the time these have ran round my head a few times, it’s no wonder I don’t feel like working. I am exhausted, drained from experiencing my thoughts. I start to feel rubbish.
Have you ever walked in to a room and thought, what did I come in here for? You just can not remember. You try so hard to remember looking around the room. You feel frustrated that you can’t remember. Your mind is busy with trying to remember, whilst at the same time getting annoyed that you can’t remember, and wondering if there is actually something wrong with you.
Eventually you give up trying, and think forget it, it can’t have been that important! You walk out of the room and within seconds there it is, you remember! It’s the same when something is on the tip of your tongue. Does this mean we just give up on everything? Of course not, but it’s no coincidence that once we stop overthinking something and trying so hard to ‘get it’ that we struggle. There is no space to remember it amongst all those thoughts.
The same principles apply to procrastination. The more pressure we put on ourselves, the more thoughts we have around what we should and shouldn’t do, the less space there is for the wisdom to just kick in and get stuff done. I hear it all the time, people say, I have so much to do and I have to do it all now. When the suggestion is to do it a bit at a time, people respond saying, I can’t it all has to be done. Yet it isn’t getting done! All we need to do is start. With no expectations of how fast or how much we will do. The less I think about what I need to do and just start, the more I find myself getting so much more done, because my creativity and ideas just flow. Creativity flows so much more with a quiet mind, I often have great ideas just before I fall asleep for that reason.
You will read lots of articles that talk about 10 steps to reduce procrastination, that will give some practical tips like doing things in small chunks, write lists, prioritise and so much more. Some of this may work for you, if it does then keep doing it, but I also want you to know that ANY procrastination comes via your thoughts. This means that by lowering your expectations of yourself, taking time away when your mind is chaotic, allowing your mind to settle and quieten you will find that you just get on with things without too much thought. Not only does this feel much better, but you may find you do your best work this way too!