I’ve been going through a stage where I’m procrastinating on a lot of stuff. I think it’s because of several things – I get busy and stressed and everything goes into the too-hard basket, I’m tired, I’m LAZY (big one – ‘I just can’t be bothered’ talk), or it’s daunting. Stress paralysed is totally a thing, I’m telling you, and don’t let any Dad from Mom’s Night Out tell you otherwise haha.
Yesterday at work I was cooped up in the office by myself, closed to customers, and lemme tell you, I was so tired and just didn’t want to get moving. I didn’t really know where to start unless it was the exit door leading the way to my car and to my home.
Then I stopped and it struck me: procrastination is really daunting. It’s a daunting lifestyle. Just imagine a world where nothing got done because for whatever reason, we all shuffled our to-do paperwork from pile to pile and back again #confession rather than facing our (probably small, in reality) giants. Procrastination also makes every thing daunting and too hard to get started. But just putting it off until the ambiguous later really accomplishes nothing. When crunch time comes, I’m rushed, stressed, and performing less than what I’d like or what other people need from me.
And we all know that doing Other Things instead of The One Thing I Need To Do isn’t really a comforting activity, because The One Thing I Need To Do just sits there at the back of my mind nagging at me to go and do it instead of enjoying what I am doing.
People don’t think it but sometimes, and I feel like especially now, I put the Pro in Procrastination. I’ll do it later. It can wait. Whatever.
But I’m trying not to do that anymore. Instead of avoiding it, I’m challenging myself to move in the opposite direction and do it.
And you know what, unprocrastiniationism is scary.
It makes me move like a fire hydrant. It surprises me how much STUFF I can get done if I just tackle that one project here, right now, until it is done. And that is scary.
As I sat in that boring, dimly lit office I decided to tackle my to-do-list-paperwork-file and not procrastinate on the tasks within it. I didn’t get through the whole pile before I left for the day but I got through some paperwork that had just been sitting there this week. It felt energising. It was good.
During that final 90 minutes and since then, I’ve surprised myself how many times I caught myself saying: I’ll do it later.
But I’m finding that I can get so much done, I can enjoy my time afterwards, and the tasks are really not that bad, when I just get in there and DO It.
So because I love lists and it helps me plan, here are some things i think can help me to unprocrastinate…
1. Play my jam. My mum always played Johnny Farnham when she was doing the bank reconciliations. Really loud. It helped her move and stay happy in a more menial task. And depending how much I have to think, it helps me too! (but not Johnny Farnham.)
2. Stop making lists. Lists are really helpful and it can help to make several lists throughout the day so I can stay focused: start-of-day lists, oh-yeah-I-forgot-I-really-must-do-that lists, and right-I-really-need-to-focus-on-THESE-THREE-THINGS lists. But at some point I need to stop fluffing around and move away from the list and spring into action.
3. Reward myself with the thing I really want to be doing. Today, that was writing this blog post AFTER I cleaned house. The soul-enriching stuff that we dream weekends be full of, but sometimes can’t be.
4. Don’t overload myself with tasks. I need to work on this one! I tend to try to be Superwoman or else Nothing, trying to cram everything into one day. But then I don’t have time to do all the fun, soul-enriching activities (my rewards) and I end up melodramatically pining about my life and falling into a heap. Be realistic.
5. Choose what can wait. While my whole blog post and challenge to myself is to stop saying ‘I’ll do it later’ and do it straight away, some things have a reason to wait or need to be done tomorrow because of my limitations of Not Superwoman. Know the difference between ‘I didn’t get to it today because I was genuinely busy’, and procrastination. (Like buying a 2yo her birthday present 20 minutes before the party started today. I really was busy this week!) I need to give myself a break too.
It ultimately boils down to my attitude of being happy with the world and life God has given me TODAY and living that to the full. Be warned; it might scare you or it might lead to scary results.
What helps you unprocrastinate and be a scary fire hydrant living your life to the max?