I discovered a great procrastination busting tip while readingFinding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live by Martha Beck (great book, by the way).
I'm giving you a slightly modified version of what she says to do but it's how I adapted it to work for me.
Okay, let's get started. I'm sure you've heard the advice of break down a big project into smaller steps as procrastination can sometimes be caused by feeling overwhelmed. Some people even suggest breaking it down into micro steps which is the smallest possible action you could take on something.Beck suggests doing this as well but in a slightly different way. I've never had a lot of luck with the micro task thing by the way so I wasn't expecting this to work but she adds one additional step to the process which does seem to do the trick.
So, what's the big secret?
Okay, here's how it works. When you think about the task you need to complete, pay attention to how you feel. If you don't want to do it, you'll notice a resistance to doing the task. Focus on this feeling and pay attention to your procrastination resistance.
Now, ask your resistance what would you be willing to do on the task? Make sure it's a small step and is easily doable. For example, if I need to write an article for my web site, I could ask my resistance,"What are you willing to do then? Would you be willing to just come up with a title for the article?"
Then wait and pay attention to how the resistance responds. If it agrees then you're good to go but if it's still resisting, come up with something else. For example, I could ask my resistance, "Would you be willing to do some research on the topic for 15 minutes? Or would you be willing to find some images for an article?" Just keep thinking of small tasks and keep asking your resistance if it would be willing to do it until you find something that it's willing to do.
Make sure that you think of little tasks to do. If you just say, "What are you willing to do?", you may find yourself blanking out and not being able to think of anything. So, make sure you think of some small task that could be done and ask that along with, "Would you be willing to..."
Also, make sure that the task is small enough. I know the temptation is to think we should be able to do something in big chunks or devote long periods of time to something. Think small. Instead of considering devoting 4 hours to a task, think 15 minutes. The trick is to find something that your resistance doesn't find overwhelming.
You'll know you've found the right task when your inner feelings dramatically change. From feeling sluggish and negative about the thought of doing the job, you'll find yourself suddenly feeling lighter and more optimistic about doing it.
Often you'll find that starting the task is the hardest part and once you've started you'll keep going even once you've completed the micro task. Even if you just finish the micro task, congratulate yourself for having taken some action on your goal. You can keep going with this process so that you continually make small progress. You might think that if you only take small steps then you'll never get it done but you'd be surprised at how effective doing micro tasks can be.
When you keep making small steps, you also don't have to deal with the guilt of
knowing you should be working on something and being unable to get
yourself going. This way, you are continually working on it, just in
more manageable steps. Guilt is a draining and tiring emotion so to be
able to avoid this will help tremendously. It won't be weighing on you
all the time.
So, now you might be asking what happens if you can't find anything your resistance will agree to doing.
Well, first make sure that you've tried breaking the task down to supremely small tasks. You may still be overwhelming your resistance with too big of a task.
After that, if
you still can't find any action at all that your resistance is willing
to take, you might want to look at the task again and consider whether
it's worth doing or not. Maybe your resistance is telling you that this
task is taking you in the wrong direction. Remind yourself why you have
this goal in the first place. It's important to pay attention to this
possibility as well. Your procrastination may actually be trying to tell
you something valuable.
So, the next time you're procrastinating on something, take the time to ask your resistance, "What would you be willing to do?" It's such a great feeling when you find something it's willing to do and then you aren't fighting yourself to do the project. You'll want to do it and you'll get it done.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
What do you think about what I've just discussed? Share your thoughts and ideas here.
Procrastinating? - Could be a sign of anxiety
Procrastination used to end up paralyzing me into complete inaction. It wasn't until I understood that I was really feeling anxiety that I was finally able to break free from it. The Weekes method is such a great way to overcome anxiety. So easy to do too. It's truly life changing.
Understanding your distractions may be one of the most important things you do towards actually being able to focus on important tasks. Read more about how distractions affect your confidence and ability to be successful and what you can do about it.
Is your procrastination due to fear of making a life change?
Do you know what your life priorities are? You might be surprised.