Finding solutions for Procrastinating

procrastinateI’m a terrible procrastinator. I keep lots of ‘to do’ lists, but often do very little. This week, I’ve considered a number of reasons, and potential solutions to this problem.

Finding the cause of your procrastinating. When quitting the nail-biting habit (of 30+ years), I realized that it wasn’t the nail biting that was the issue; it was the nervousness that caused me to bite my nails. I think the same goes for my procrastinating. I figure out WHY I put things off, I can solve the problem.

Near as I can figure out, it’s a fear of failure, or worse, fear of seeing no results at all. When I published my first short story, I assumed friends and family would buy and leave raving reviews. I was wrong. That seriously blew me out of the water, led to my questioning of writing skills, and rethinking publishing ever again.

But not trying also leads to no results. This was the cold, hard truth for me. Whatever doubts cause me to put things off,  I struggle with trying to write through the doubts anyway. Didn’t I love writing? Didn’t I want to be writer? Lack of reviews (or bad reviews) shouldn’t deter that simple truth, right? If I like writing, then write for myself.

Do what you can handle. I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the amount of things I put on my to do list. I then remind myself that I did it- I put the stuff on there, and I can just as easily prioritize and even cut out things I don’t want to do.

Of course, there are things I HAVE TO do, so they take priority, leaving me to juggle which items stay or go. Being an indecisive person, this often leads me into a nerve-racking task to make a decision.

Big projects end up being smaller, bite-sized activities. Some things get shifted to later to do in the week. And the big helper- ASK FOR HELP! I keep forgetting I have a son and husband to ask for help when it comes to chores.

Focusing can be a real issue for me. I might be bi-polar, ADHD, or just a flake, but sometimes focusing my thoughts ends up being a Herculean task.

026I keep a dry board next to my desk to write the important tasks, reminding me what takes priority.

The bottom area is for chores, while the top I put the most important things to be done.

Change your thinking. This can be tough to do, but with practice, you adopt better habits and thinking patterns. A good example is focusing on here and now, rather than the past. The baggage of bad experience can lend to fear and procrastinating, so shift your thinking to being in the NOW and moving towards the future.

I often journal, and will complain. Since it’s a word document, I now delete the complaining, and shift my focus to writing about positive, hope-filled writing. Its seriously changed my mood.

(It’s also cathartic in deleting the complaining too)

Shift from a ‘to do’ list to an ACTION list. An action list focuses on VERBS rather than nouns. Instead of ‘groceries’, I put ‘shop for groceries’. Instead of ‘blog’ I put down ‘write blog’ (and sometimes add specifics like “write blog about procrastinating’.

I’ll post more as I learn more, but in the meantime….I need to get started on my Action list.

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