Bit of a confession…I think we all know taxes are due really soon. I wonder how many of you have been procrastinating like me? Watching that deadline tick closer and closer knowing I have to do this. So I sit down to focus on expense reports, but there’s this incredible urge to check my notifications, do some dishes, walk the dog, or just about anything else. I know I’m supposed to be getting this done, but OMG did you see that last tweet??! What the hell???
I really don’t think there is a single person that ever lived who didn’t procrastinate at some point. So why all the self-sabotage? It all comes back to the fact that our brains are hardwired for pleasure. Candace Pert has a great article about this- Hardwired for Bliss. You can read it HERE. Delaying, putting it off, or not working on it until the very last minute are unhealthy habits we create to try and make ourselves feel better.
For some of us, it goes back to a fear of failing. If you believe you can’t, and trying makes you stressed and anxious, procrastinating can give temporary relief. Often in the long run it makes those anxiety feelings worse as the deadline gets closer and closer. Over time it can chip away at your confidence and self-esteem.
The flip side of that is fear of success. I’ve lost count of the number of clients I’ve helped overcome Imposter Syndrome – the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite all evidence of success. No matter how much talent or skill you have, if you believe you’re not good enough, just getting starting can feel overwhelming. This type of procrastination fuels anxiety and self-doubt.
There are many different ways you can help yourself overcome procrastination. The method I use and teach to my clients is a quick mindfulness practice. It’s simple, easy, and most of all effective. So the next time you find yourself procrastinating try this:
RELAX: Close your eyes and let yourself get comfortable. Maybe take a few deep easy breaths.
THINK: Go back to a time you had success in any area of your life. This may be something you are good at, or something you accomplished.
IMAGINE: Let yourself imagine, remember, or even visualize in your mind’s eye just how good it felt to do that so well.
ASK: What expression did you have on your face? Did it make you stand tall? How good did it feel to do that so well? Take a little time to think about how you did this so well.
Taking just a few moments to remember being successful can go a long way towards helping you be motivated. You might even be pleasantly surprised how much easier it is to get things done.