Sometimes, getting started on something can be very hard to do. This is especially true when it’s something you don’t really feel like doing, or a reality you don’t feel like facing, for any number of reasons. As a result you find yourself procrastinating:
Putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention. (Dictionary.com)
The human ability to create things that can be done rather than things that should be done is immense and mysterious. While Procrastination can result in a benign, somewhat-tolerable inefficiency, it can also cut deep into the heart of the human spirit. This article is about recognising, understanding and breaking the cycle of procrastination.
Signs of Procrastination
Procrastination does not produce momentum. It’s product is stagnation. This permeates all aspects of life and removes the joy from everything. The bigger the procrastination, the greater the effect. It applies to any kind of procrastination in any part of life. The greater the avoidance, the more detrimental the effect.
Procrastination can make you feel irritable, listless, joyless, purposeless, lost, low-energy, distracted, and disengaged. It can take you away from the present moment. It’s a real bitch. It also tends to sneak up on you over time. Suddenly, you’re dealing with a conflict between what you’re doing and what you should be doing. It’s an internal war, and the harder you procrastinate, the worse it gets.
More about Momentum
If the problem with procrastination is:
We do things to avoid the things we should be doing
Then is the solution to do things we should be doing, instead?
So why don’t we? The issue lies with a lack of momentum. We are like a steam train sitting at the station. We know where we need to go, and we know where we want to go, but none of the parts are moving. The engine is not fired. We know it’s tough to get started, and when we do, it’s laborious to keep going. Our perception of this challenge prevents us from beginning at all.
Starting the Engine
So how do we get our train moving down the tracks? How do we begin? First of all, here’s an encouraging reminder of purpose and perception. Once the train is charging down the tracks at full speed, there’s very little that can stand in its way. Obstacles, perceived and real, will be flung from sight as the undeniable force arrives. In other words, not only can you begin, but beginning is worthwhile.
Secondly, the engine is full of thousands of parts. All of the parts work in relation to each other. They all depend on each other. Perhaps these parts are things you need to do, or complexities that you need to solve. None of them are more important than the heart of the engine – the fire that creates the steam. No fire – no steam – no movement. To get yourself moving, you need to fire up. You need to get motivated and break free from the shackles of procrastination – the lethargy, the diversion, the avoidance. To break the cycle of procrastination, you need to get fired up right now.
5 Steps To Get Fired Up & Get Started
Why right now? Because the longer you procrastinate (in other words, put off what you need to do) the worse the symptoms of procrastination become. The solution is to break the cycle, get moving and shake off the cobwebs of procrastination.
1. Stop Lying to Yourself
Got a million reasons for not getting started? How many are real? Telling ourselves we’re not up to doing something necessary is a harmful aspect of procrastination, and it’s rarely true. Breaking the cycle begins with deliberately refusing to accept this situation.
2. Get Moving
Get your physical self moving to get other things moving. Run, walk, swim. When was the last time you broke a sweat? Create and drive momentum with a shift in your physical routine. It may not be easy to get started, but it will be worth it.
3. Get Perspective
Have you forgotten why you are doing anything? Remember your goals. If you don’t have any, this is a powerful time to create some. Think big. When we procrastinate, we bury our heads in the sand. It’s time to look around and remember who we are and what we’re all about.
4. Take Action
The enemy of procrastination is action. Sometimes we procrastinate because action doesn’t seem to be accessible or meaningful. It always is. Find 3 things you can do straight away and get them done. Momentum starts with small movements.
5. Recognise Results
Momentum is a mystical thing. It’s part reality, part mental. If you don’t recognise your achievements, then you may not be getting the full benefit of them as deposits in the bank of your momentum. Take the time to consider what you’ve done well today or recently. Give yourself a pat on the back.