Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Curb Your Procrastinating

For those of us who have a harder time curbing our procrastination, change is not easy and recognizing the effects of our poor time management skills isn’t always vividly clear.
I have years of experience when it comes to the field of procrastination. I consider myself a master of leaving things to the last minute in hopes of pulling off greatness in the end. This mentality stayed with me throughout college and progressed into adulthood. But as time passes by and the pursuit of entrepreneurial ventures heightens, procrastinating has done more damage than good and has been a key factor as to what’s been holding me back in accomplishing my personal goals.

In all honesty, I am struggling; struggling to stay focused and on task, and also struggling to capitalize on momentum to do important work. I know the topic of procrastinating is not a burden I hold alone; millions of us struggle with this though some more than others. For those of us who have a harder time curbing our procrastination, change is not easy and recognizing the effects of our poor time management skills isn’t always vividly clear.

In my case, habitual procrastination has been a crippling agent that's left me stagnant in certain areas of my life. The blog is a perfect example of this. Since the inception of this space, I’ve lost count of how many unfulfilled blog posts and concepts I’ve yet to bring to fruition. I’ll have every intention of staying on task and completing my goals and even create multiple to-do lists to keep me on track, but I will inevitably get distracted at every turn. In the end, this process has left me feeling as though I’m incapable of doing the things that I say I will.

If I can’t stick to my own commitments how can I expect to create a platform filled with useful content? How do I stay accountable for myself and my actions? After plaguing questions such as these month after month, year after year, I need to do a bit of self-reflection, accept some personal accountability, and take control of my actions.

"For those of us who have a harder time curbing our procrastination, change is not easy and recognizing the effects of our poor time management skills isn’t always vividly clear."

To try curbing my procrastination, I had to understand the root of the issue. YouTube motivational vlogger Lavendaire explained things in a way that was easy for me to grasp. She references the book The War of Art by author Steven Pressfield (which I’ll be reading within the week) who describes procrastination as a form of resistance. Resistance can be defined as something that prevents us from doing our work; a force that is pulling us away from getting things done. Ultimately, since this is something that's important to us, we resist it because we're scared. For us to learn how to keep procrastination at bay, resistance must be tamed. I decided to implement these 5 new habits to cut down on my need to resist.

1.     Do One Thing At a Time
I know that in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we find it convenient or sometimes think we must take on multiple tasks at once. However, I've noticed that making it a point to do one thing at a time has resulted in feeling less stressed and more focused. I'm also more aware, alert, and engaged in my activity and prone to fewer mistakes. At the end of my day, I get more done and my mind doesn't feel overworked. If I continue with this habit I hope to gain more productivity out of my day and bring back a sense of ease into my life.

2.     Take Small Steps
In addition to doing one thing at a time, taking small steps is also a highly favorable tool for getting things done. When faced with a project, breaking it down into small attainable goals that eventually add up is often the best approach. Sometimes the reason behind resistance could be the scale of how much we have to do, which can lead to unnecessary stress and pressure. To combat that, breaking down a task into smaller steps can be a saving grace. It can be as simple as picking up a pencil and paper and jotting down a few words for the next blog post to simply get started. If I stick with that momentum since I've started the work, I hope this will cut out the need to stop and carry on with my task.

3.     Wake up Earlier
My resistance at times stems from wanting a moment to relax without feeling like I’m abandoning my responsibilities. I recently read an article on Self.com where 39 women from different spectrums shared how they maximized their day by waking up earlier than most of us normally would. Some of them woke up as early as 3am! One of the issues I experience throughout the week is that I feel like I don’t have enough time to do things and I am trying to do too much in one day. I was impressed by how much these women were able to accomplish on any given day by simply waking up early to maximize their time. This motivated me to reconsider my sleep pattern and give it a try.

The plan is to start my day at 5:30am which will allow for 30 to 45 minutes of yoga practice, 10 to 15 of meditation, my Morning Prayer and time to write in my journal before getting ready for work and making breakfast. By waking up early and giving myself more time to do things from the very start of the day, I’m confident this will allow more time to get things done and curb my need to procrastinate.

4.     Stay Present and Be Mindful
As I shared in my “Get Out of Your Mind post, I can get carried away with internal dialogue. This causes me to lose track of what I’m doing and perpetuates a need to get sidetracked by things that cause distractions, such as scrolling through social media. By staying present and mindful of my thoughts and my actions, I can gauge when I’m getting carried away by external vices and call myself out. This will be the hardest of habits to cultivate but it’s the most important one.

5.     Create a Schedule
Scheduling a block of time for specific tasks and setting deadlines for myself is an absolute must! With everything that I’m learning and trying to implement, it’s imperative that scheduling time to execute all these things becomes part of my weekly routine. I need to allow myself the time and space to grow in all skillsets I want to acquire. By creating a schedule that allows time for creative work, I can make sure that I'm getting enough practice time for everything.

I will update you all in a future post on the outcome. I hope that in sharing my personal struggle with procrastinating and the steps I’m taking to change my behavior will help you evaluate how you spend your time. Procrastination is not easy to overcome but being aware of how it may be hindering you from getting ahead should be something to evaluate. Till next time!

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