As a coach I often hear clients complain about their own procrastinating.
They tell me about their goals and lists of things they want to do but that they never quite get around to doing it.
They talk about how much they hate procrastinating but say they 'just can’t help themselves'.
They say they don’t know what to do about it and the longer their lists get the more they procrastinate because it all just feels a little too much. It feels, they say, overwhelming.
But my take on this is that if our actions are not in line with what we want them to be, we have to have a look at our thoughts.
Procrastinating is completely in your power to change and here are my top 5 tips to help you quit it and get on with what you really want to do.
1. Procrastination is a form of perfectionism for scared people. A lot of the time we are not doing what we want to do because we think that the thing we have to do, has to be done perfectly. This in itself is stressful and pressurising and in turn, we just don’t do it. The first tip towards getting things done is to let go of thinking that it won’t be right if it isn’t perfect. Getting things done that are ‘good enough’ is still getting more done than not doing it at all. Quit your perfectionism and you are already a step ahead. Try to quit the ‘what if it all goes wrong’ record? and swap that thought to ‘and what if it all goes right….?’ That should help you start!
2. Think about what you are thinking about. Are your thoughts working for or against you? Are you thinking about your to-do list in a way that just creates pressure and stress? In other words is your thinking correct or are you freaking yourself out with the ‘I don’t know where to start I have so much to do’ record? If so, break it down. Start by choosing thoughts that create better feelings, feelings of confidence and empowerment. Instead of thinking thoughts like ‘I will never get through this list’ try a different thought like ‘I actually can do just one of these things today, this is totally possible for me!’. By changing the thought you change the feelings and in turn, the actions and outcome. You’ve got this.
3. You get to choose how you feel. Always. Because our emotions and feelings are created by our thoughts, when we choose the right thoughts we get the right feelings. Its so important to remember you are in control of your feelings. Seriously, it's you creating this. If you ask yourself what feeling you want FIRST and then start working your thoughts to create the feeling you do want, nothing can stop you. Use a notepad and write this stuff down. Its powerful. If you want to feel happy, you create the thought that gets you there.
4. Quit worrying about what anyone else might think. If you are worrying about what someone else might think of you or your work, you need to recalibrate your thoughts. Is, whatever you are doing, ultimately because you want to be proud and happy about it or to impress someone else? The truth is that trying to impress anyone other than yourself is exhausting. YOU being proud of what YOU achieve is all that matters. Let the rest go. Remember the saying ‘You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world but there will still be someone who doesn’t like peaches’. Nuff’said.
5. Do the best you can even if it is one tiny thing. Its important to remember that we are all doing the best we can with what we have got. And, by the way, no one is perfect. No one. So check your expectation levels you have for yourself, are they realistic or unrealistic? Would you be demanding that much from your best friend? Check your thoughts, check your perspective and check your expectations.
And one more thing, if you think you can, you will.