I am the Emperor (self-proclaimed) of Procrastination with a capital P. It’s my kingdom (emperordom?) so I can capitalise anything I want. Taxes are extremely reasonable here, by the way, and the healthcare system is excellent. The education system is wonderful although my ministers and I are currently trying to address the issue of people putting off graduating. I asked for a list of recommendations but my ministers sure know how to delay handing their findings in. I’ll chase them up just as soon as I get done with thoroughly cleaning the house from top to bottom, getting all caught up on Gilmore Girls, perfect the art of baking croissants (I’m willing to put in the work no matter how long it takes), tidying up all my pins on Pinterest. Oh and after I learn two new languages for fun. THEN I will round them up and sit down with them and get that list of recommendations. Because that’s how it’s done. When I set my mind to accomplishing something, really set my mind to it, no force on earth can stop me, as soon as I jump through all the hoops I set up for myself and I get off this sofa. I’m even putting off getting caught up on Gilmore Girls. I need to be in the right mood for it you know? So maybe I’ll read a few books first to warm up.
The response to this is either *facepalm* or *intense head nodding*. I’m guessing alot of people experience delaying getting started on a task to some degree. Once you get started everything is fine and dandy. But maybe you got delayed somehow and now it’s hard to get started again. Inertia.
Did you ever learn about inertia in school? Did you get shown a video usually of a group of people in a vehicle, wearing seatbelts, the vehicle moves and then suddenly stops but the people keep moving until oooof their seatbelts pull them back?
Whilst we’re on the topic: ALWAYS wear your seat belt people!
But that’s inertia. Once an object is in motion, it will keep chugging along quite nicely until something stops it. When at a standstill it takes effort to get it into motion. Inertia acts on us in much the same way. Sometimes we were on track with a task and then we skidded to a halt because of events beyond our control. Sometimes we just feel so overwhelmed we end up flopping down on the sofa, uncertain where to start. Days go by, weeks and even months!
That’s what happens to me. I get started and if thrown off track, man alive is it hard to get going again. Or I have so many great ideas and dreams, it’s hard to decide which one to start on. Or the importance of accomplishing something is so great that I get scared I’ll make a mess of it, so I freeze instead.
Allow me to paint you a picture with my word salad:
Instead of studying for that physiology exam I would go defrost the freezer. Messy freezer means a messy mind right? Can’t get those great marks by being messy, I think, in my infinite wisdom.
You know how else you can’t get great marks in an exam? Not getting started on studying.
Oh. Good point. But now I’m tired from dealing with the freezer. It’s such a huge task. Better nap first. And when I wake up I’ll get on with world domination.
Instead of whipping up a project proposal nice and quickly since I have all my material ready to go, I go into microscope mode. When I get hung up on one small tiny detail and spend far too long researching it further. I turn into a complete perfectionist, acting like this is my Sistine Chapel. Except that was finished. (In 1512. I looked it up, naturally.)
Or the rut I’m currently stuck in involves editing videos. I finally grumbled and huffed my way to the computer to start editing footage. But then I lost my voice so I wasn’t able to record voiceovers just yet. Did I carry on doing what I could? No sir, I did not! I slowed right down to a complete halt. I still haven’t recovered fully but now I have even more footage to edit. And inevitably find myself wondering where do I even start. And this is something that I WANT to do.
So all of these things go on whilst layered on top is life. Of course daily life continues. I have clients and students to keep appointments with. I have catering orders. I have laundry. Dishes. B. Self care. My studies. Eat, sleep, repeat. The activities of daily life continue meanwhile I am neglecting to work towards fulfilling my goals. I got in my own way. Time to leave the kingdom of Procrastination. Sure, it’s safe and comfy and no one needs to worry about failing to achieve one’s dreams but that’s because no one is trying. Until it becomes harder and harder to get started. Before we know it we have run out of tomorrows.
EXIT THIS WAY.
Ready? We’ll do this together. Deep breath, here we go.
Starting from the top, we need to take a moment to organise our thoughts. Clarifying our intention and setting ourself a goal. Just one goal. I found loads of really cute printables that listed space to write down five goals. Or at least three goals. For each goal, one would then write down three actions. So if you had listed five goals, that’s fifteen actions.
That seems like a lot, to start with. Too much. Let’s turn around. I miss the folks back in Procrastination.
But one goal? I can handle that. Quick tip: A goal that is short-term; measurable; and reasonably specific is even better. I have great big goals and under that umbrella I have smaller goals which add up towards those great big ones. I’m focusing on the small ones first. These are the stepping stones towards the more long-term ones.
Ok, so one goal. Let’s start there. Babysteps. Ease into it.
STEP ONE: Write down one short-term goal you have. And add the words “Start working on” in front of the goal and at the end of the goal write “today”. Someday is not a day. Soon is vague. Let’s start today.
Start working on editing one yoga tutorial today.
There! That wasn’t so bad, was it?
Notice I didn’t write “Start working on my entire backlog of videos today.” I’m setting myself up for success by making my goal as simple as possible.
STEP TWO: Think about the why behind the goal. Why this? Why is it SO important to you? What do you stand to gain?
That’s your motivation right there. And if you don’t go about trying to achieve this goal, this is what you stand to lose or miss out on. We may not lose anything at all, but we might end up wasting a lot of time wondering. Are you comfortable with all the ‘whatif’ moments?
Because we’re only thinking about one goal at a time, this isn’t too time consuming either.
STEP THREE: So what is stopping you? These are your obstacles that you need to muster the strength to overcome.
For each obstacle, you can go take a look at your why section again for inspiration to come up with ways to tackle them. Tell yourself, “Today is the day I take action.”
STEP FOUR: Now list three actions that can get you started on your goal. Just three, and make them really bite sized chunks.
My three actions are:
- Select the footage to keep and to clip out.
- Add music and any annotations.
- Make notes for when I can record my voiceover.
Whilst I still can’t record my voiceover, I CAN make notes of what I will record so I am ready to go as soon as my voice comes back. That way I don’t lose any momentum. When I finish these actions, I can add another three actions. When I finish those, I add another three actions. And so on until I find goal achieved!
STEP FIVE: Give yourself credit and a big pat on the back when you make it to this step! Nice going!!!
NEXT GOAL PLEASE!
I hope that was helpful to you. If you’ll excuse me I have some video editing to do now. Chat soon, please let me know how you go with finding your way out of Procrastination! xx