Well, Hello, My Friends.
Another week has raced on by. This week I reset a goal that I’ve been procrastinating on. It’s Anti-procrastination week for me. Yesterday I talked about the 7 anti procrastination tools I use to keep myself on track. Last Sunday, I made a firm commitment to myself that this one task would be done by today. I’m feeling very proud of myself, in that I have achieved the goal.
I had a friend visit and I mentioned to her that I was feeling pretty pleased with the progress I was making, when she said, “Oh is that all, you’ve been working on that for months.”
She was right, it has been on my list for months, I’d begun and not completed. I’d been using a lot of mental energy thinking about this task, talking myself into doing it, and talking myself out of doing it.
My mind was making the task bigger than it really was. As I broke the task into the smallest possible actions, the objections began to fall away. As I planned the time schedule for each part of the process, I allowed more time than I thought I’d need. Then I actually timed myself. The part of the process I was looking forward to least, which meant getting dirty, didn’t actually take nearly as long as I thought it would, including clean up time.
My task for the four days of Easter was to complete wallpapering the hallway. That was the job title. The result was to have all the walls papered, trimmed and tidied up.
We live in an almost seventy year old house, whose walls have seen better days. I decided I would skim plaster the walls to even out the unevenness. (This was where my brain ran me for a wild ride) The plastering was okay, it was the sanding that I wasn’t looking forward to. (And now the cleaning, as those tiny dust particles escaped all through the house.) All our hardware stores ran out of wallpaper paste, homemade paste, here we come. I must say this glue stuck the paper so much better than the store bought stuff. Anyway the longest part of the entire process was putting the paper on the walls. Hubby and I are getting pretty good at uneven corners, and tight spots between doorways.
My Anti-procrastination weekend has left me feeling happy, tired, and so satisfied with the job done, and with myself. I’ve just proven to myself that I can do difficult things, with determination of knowing what result I wanted at the end of the weekend, (a clear visual picture). Writing my list of everything that needed to be purchased, made, gathered and done each with their own little tick box. A good bit of planning, figuring out what I knew and what I needed to know, doing the research and purchasing equipment, making sure I had all the steps down in order, and that hubby knew when his skills would be required. I used my timer, testing myself for endurance, reminding myself of the timeframe I had set and if I worked quickly there was the reward of finishing early. Then getting started, especially when I didn’t want to, this was the key. I plastered even when I didn’t want to, I donned all the gear to sand, even when I really, really, really didn’t want to. I kept going when my mind was screaming at me to stop, and I was surprised to note it didn’t take as long as I thought it would. I made the glue, and wallpapered until all the walls were complete. I put my phone away, I carried on even when the neighbour popped over, I wasn’t allowing myself to be distracted.
And, now I get to sit in my office and look down the hallway at the beautifully papered walls and feel a sense of pride and joy in a great job well done. Taking time to celebrate my anti-procrastination victory.
What are you putting off doing? What are your excuses for not getting it done?
A genuine commitment will see it begun, and then it’s a matter of following the 7 anti-procrastination tools I’ve outlined above. Here they are again.
- Results: What result do you want to see, feel, have? What tangible thing do you want to have as evidence of the action you have taken to achieve your goal, or a step along the path of achieving your goal?
- Tick Box: By using a tick box format, you are giving yourself positive reinforcement every time you do one of your tasks, or sub tasks. Also the list effect can give you focus especially when your list in order of items to be completed.
- Advance Planning: Break each portion of the goal into tasks, then each task into actions, then break each of these actions into the smallest part required. Create a list. For example my list for wallpapering looked like. Plastering; wall plaster, trowel, sheets for the floor, spatula, step ladder. Sanding; sanding block, sand paper two grades, step stool, hoodie jacket, gloves, face mask, floor coverings, door stoppers, light stand. Each of these items were on my tick box list. Then I added the walls, front door wall, front hallway wall, bedroom walls, this was to keep me on track time wise.
- Timing: Use a timer, or a clock to monitor the time you want to allocate, and then strive to stick within that timeframe. Use your plan to work out how long you think a task will take, then time it, write the time down next to the item on the list. Use this evidence to remind your brain that things don’t always take as long as you think they will.
- Begin: Just start, once you have decided what you are going to do, how long you think it will take, begin. Sit at your desk, put on your shoes, fill the sink with water, what ever it is begin. Let your brain know you are doing this and you are doing it now. Your brain makes a better servant than master. Be the master of yourself. Half the battle is won, when you begin.
- Remove Distractions: Be kind to yourself, remove the things that have a tendency to distract you. Keep your focus on the result you want, and the time frame you are working in, march on through your tick box list, and celebrate every tick you place in a box.
- Know Yourself: Know your strengths and your weaknesses, know your concentration cycles, know your rhythms. Set yourself up to succeed.
These are the seven tools I use to overcome procrastination.
I hope that they will give you the power to take control of your goals, wants and desires. One action at a time, one task at a time.
Until next time, stretch yourself into the next higher version of yourself.
As a certified Life Coach, I help you to help yourself, so you can create a well lived life your way.
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