I am busy doing things I don't need to do in order to avoid doing anything I am actually supposed to be doing!
Do you ever find yourself clearing off your desk. Tidying up your inbox or scrolling through social media? Maybe vacuuming your office and sorting out your desk drawers, just so you can avoid an issue or problem project you’re trying to deal with.
Do you ever just sit and stare at a screen or piece of paper, beating yourself up because the ideas just don’t seem to be flowing?
Maybe you’re spending your time cleaning objects that don’t really need it instead of knuckling down to getting on with what it is you should really be doing.
Or are you looking at random notifications on your phone?
Watching random videos on YouTube, or even binge watching something on Netflix?
Have you ever had one of those days that just didn’t ‘gel’?
There’s nothing wrong with procrastination. Or is there? I’ll leave it to you to decide, but only if you have the time.
There is no denying it. We have all had those days where you have a seemingly endless to-do list a mile long yet, no matter how hard you try to focus on the tasks at hand, you seem to be spending your time on a load of other things instead?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, you are already well aware of what ‘procrastinating’ is, and how disheartening it can be.
Before we jump right into this, it’s important to note that procrastination can be your friend or your enemy. It all depends on your mindset.
THE DARK SIDE OF PROCRASTINATION
There is no denying that your boss, client or even a project deadline will see procrastination as the ultimate enemy.
In time, you will start to feel stressed out and overwhelmed, especially as the deadline starts to loom closer.
This stress can be caused either by yourself, your client, boss or even a colleague, especially if tensions start to rise.
This stress manifests itself due to the feelings of frustration and anxiety which start to dominate in your thoughts and mind. During a period of procrastination, all you can seem to focus on is the problem that’s not getting solved.
Don’t worry; you are not alone when it comes to trying to figure this stuff out.
Procrastination has kept the minds of psychologists busy for decades.
Perhaps most commonly, many people see procrastination as a negative trait; something that holds us back and stops us from doing what we need to do.
The limiting believes around procrastination is that it is a trait of laziness. Lack of clear focus or just not focusing enough on the issue at hand.
This belief also adds to the feeling of stress and overwhelm.
When in fact procrastination has nothing to do with these beliefs at all. (OK maybe some people are being lazy, but not you!) Procrastination is a real thing and a real issue with the brain.
I'm not a procrastinator, I'm just extremely productive at unimportant things!
Finding yourself in a state of procrastination can be the kickstart you need to realise you need to focus and change tack when it comes to tackling your to-do list or getting something done.
Feeling as though your procrastinating (becoming mindful of it) can be the first step that you need to take to help yourself overcome.
Taking the second step is sometimes easier said than done. Fortunately, these tried-and-tested tips can be incredibly helpful when it comes to putting your best foot forward.
1. Move Your Body
If you’re staring at a black screen or trying to come up with ideas, take yourself away from the situation for a breather.
Take yourself for a walk around the block, go tfor a walk into nature. Do something that actively gets you moving your body. This will allow your mind wander as well as get you heart pumping abd blood flowing.
Being active helps to get the creative juices flowing again.
2. Break It Down
Take the smallest step forward by breaking down your project into super easy and manageable tasks that take no time at all.
If you have a blog, post, letter or even report to write, just write, write anything down, even if it’s one idea or one fact.
Just start to write and get the first sentence down.
It doesn’t matter what it is.
During this exercise, don’t worry about grammar, information or anything just write it down and you can fix these things later. It doesn’t matter what the project is, just start doing it.
If it’s housework, just start with one section of the room.
Whatever the project is that has you procrastination, just take a step forward and start. Focus on thing only not the whole project.
By starting on one section, you can move on productively because procrastination will go away once you have started.
3. Change your Environment
If you can change your workspace, or even go to a different venue; do it. By changing your scenery, you can change your mindset and get your creative juices flowing.
4. Clean Off Your Desk
If your desk is cluttered, there will be no room for inspiration.
Spend 5 or 20 minutes just cleaning off your desk.
Even the act of doing something like cleaning in this way can be enough to help you clear your mind while giving yourself the break you need to get motivated.
Creating a clear desk and workspace is like decluttering your mind.
5. Stop Distractions
Turn off your phone, silent your notifications, come offline of possible. Take the distractions and put them aside so that they do not distract you from your task ahead.
You can also set yourself a five-minute timer and promise yourself you’re going to work without distraction during this time.
In most cases, you’ll find you’ll breeze past the five-minute mark and will continue to work solidly because you’ve found flow. The hardest part of any task or job is getting started.
Once you’re in, you’re in!
THE LIGHT SIDE OF PROCRASTINATION
You’ll be pleased to hear not all procrastination is bad and can, in fact, be quite a positive thing.
Many scientists realise we sometimes need to procrastinate in order to let our minds analyse our problems to then come up with solutions. By procrastinating, we’re allowing our creative juices to flow.
Here are some other positive reasons to allow your procrastination.
1. Active Procrastination Gets Things Done
When you are an active procrastinator, you are doing everything else on your to-do list other than the task you’re procrastinating on. This can be a good thing, as it clears off your to-do list ready for you to focus on the main task.
(Unless you're sitting on the couch, then you’re a passive procrastinator, and that’s no good - see this as your sign to get up!)
2. Procrastination Makes Better Decisions
Maybe you are procrastinating because you are not sure what the right choice is for you. In these situations, you need to analyse the pros and cons before you decide.
However, by procrastinating over the decision, you are giving your mind more time to mull over the choices and think about things from lots of different perspectives.
It could be the headspace you need to think about what’s best for you.
3. Procrastination Makes You More Creative
If you have a big task ahead of you, you’re likely to procrastinate because it could be daunting. The task could be so big it’s hard even to pin down where you should start.
However, what’s happening here while you are deciding where to start is your mind is mulling over the issues, collecting data, and getting creative ideas.
When you finally sit down to tackle the task, you will have more ideas than you thought.
This might even be a good time to allow yourself to just be bored. As boredom can help with creativity.
Never put off till tomorrow what may be done the day after tomorrow just as well.
Finally, I will leave you with this thought.
Whether you are cleaning out your desk or weeding your garden out in the rain, procrastination - is it a good thing or a bad thing?
Is it bad for you to increase your stress levels that make you go out in the rain to weed the garden in the first place, or is it good for you by letting your brain become more creative?
Remember to live your life with confidence!
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