Many times, when I ask, my training participants ‘what stops them from growing or going ahead’, the most common answer that they come up with is; “I am lazy”, “I put things off to another day”, “I am not disciplined enough
In my mind these all boil down to 1 thing; procrastination on the job at hand.
We procrastinate for various reasons and most important among them is not being motivated to do what we think we need to do. Having said that, it is also true that in life, we need to attend to things, whether we like them or not because they impact important aspects of our life, like our career or relationship or finance. For e.g. I often put away doing my accounting work as I am not very keen on numbers and this task scares me, and yet if I don’t do this task, it impacts my business, creating last minute rush and confusion and of course stress.
This issue, takes over our life so much at times, that we miss great opportunities and end up regretting later. We keep deliberating, keep saying ‘tomorrow’ or the best of all ‘I perform best under pressure’ and before we know it time is up.
Recently, I saw the full force this challenge, in my post-graduation study group where we had 4 months to submit 6 lengthy assignments. We all knew we had to do it as without the assignments we would not be allowed to keep term or be given our exam results to get into the next year. And yet about 60% of the group members only got going in the last 3 weeks and there even was someone who asked “where do I start the assignment?” a day prior to the submission.
I think, Procrastination is the root of unachieved dreams and success. It's one of the most important factors between us and the prize we have set our eyes on. (In the case of our study group the prize is the master’s degree for which everyone has enrolled for so that it helps us in our career) But somehow it's difficult to eliminate it.
For some reason, we may be magnetized by delaying the tasks at hand. The sense that there's enough time to get things done can be misleading. It can be the difference between celebrated success and shattered dreams.
I have seriously given this challenge some thought and I think we can End procrastination once and for all by slowly taking some steps towards a renewed approach. I am sharing them here and I hope it will support you in your goals and dreams, as these have supported me and my clients.
Prioritize opportunities. If something isn't important to us, we will probably spend very little time trying to achieve it. That reality is the basis of our priority list. The achievements that really matter most belong at the top. Everything else can fall whenever. And that might even mean falling off the list!
Focus on the things that give us the most inner joy and happiness. Never mind what popular opinion thinks. If something gives us butterflies every time you think about it, trust me, that's what you want to work towards. As they say eat that frog
Break down tasks into achievable bits. A daily To-Do list is very helpful here in creating a sense of calm. It's easy to put things off because they seem too overwhelming. Our natural instinct may be to shy away from things that are too complex. We can fix this by breaking down our tasks. This makes the prize seem more attainable.
Upon waking up, be remained of the purpose that is driving us, see this drawing and take a look at what we are motivated to achieve that day. The feeling of excitement about achieving a desired goal is constantly alive. We just need to reengage it regularly.
This exercise also helps us to maintain focus on what's important to us. In fact, we may even find that the spark of a goal fades. This can happen when we realize something we thought was important but it really isn't. Daily renewal helps us to zone in on what means the most to us and readjust our radar
When was the last time we rewarded ourselves for any of our achievements, specially the small ones that we take for granted? We are our biggest and most valuable asset and thus we need to nurture ourselves and care of ourselves and reward ourselves. As we achieve each small task, celebrate the progress we have made.
I am not saying go buy a new car or a new designer dress or splurge on the credit card or the paytm. A small treat that makes us happy like an ice cream or a movie or a foot massage or a coffee or a flower or even a car. We can treat ourselves to something we have always wanted, but maybe in the past, we avoided spending on it because it "wasn't worth it." But now we have every reason go get it!
Being kind to ourselves is the best way to motivate continued focus on goals or tasks that we need to undertake, instant gratification is as much needed as delayed gratification, we, after all live in the NOW.
There are more than enough reasons for us to go after meaningful goals. If we are honest with ourselves, we can easily list them all on a piece of paper. Focus on doing something to move toward our goal today, after all if we exercised today we will have better chances of enjoying a healthy life with our loved ones. Leave tomorrow for celebration of today's success!
So go ahead, clean the home, Diwali is round the corner, invite change into your life and achieve those dreams.
If you wish to create your own goals and visions and go past the challenge of procrastination, write to me and take a free complimentary Life Coaching session on Self-development and Self-Prioritization. Give yourself a chance to take your life from Good to Great.