Procrastination Is For Wimps. It’s Time To Get Over Yourself.

    Vanessa Safavi, The Witness, 2017. From the exhibition The House Where You Live Forever, Garage Rotterdam.

‘Procrastination is my middle name,’ she said. With it, she gave me some sort of a smile. Later during our conversation there it was again: ‘Well, I certainly know what procrastination is’. This time, she said it with a lot of stress on the ‘I’. There was that smile again.

Procrastination can sometimes be carried like a badge of honour. Or as something that for sure is not going to be changed in the near future.

Here’s my take on this: yes, it is ok to look at ourselves and to reflect upon our behaviour. It actually is a necessity for growth. But never, ever reiterate sentences and trains of thoughts that are non-productive. Middle name phrases need immediate deletion.

Secondly, never, ever expect things to stay the way they are! You recognize your unproductive behaviour and then you allow yourself to course correct. This is your job to do.

So let’s get to work. I am sharing here some tips that will help you course correct, whenever you catch yourself procrastinate:

1. Focus on one task
Do stick to one task. If it is writing that difficult email to your boss, you just write this one email. Your mind might remind you of another (easy) email or of an appointment that needs to be checked. Don’t give into this distraction. Jot something down on a piece of paper instead in order to convince your mind that you won’t forget: ‘Yes sweet mind, I have heard you. Here is the proof. See?’ Distraction averted.

2. You are not available for anyone or anything
Set the alarm on your phone at one hour from now. Make the agreement with yourself that you can only focus on one task until the alarm goes off, or until the task has been finished. Shut down and turn off your email, whatsapp, Facebook and everything else that might distract you. For this one hour, you will only be focusing on your task.

3. No matter what happens, you stay seated
You have tea or water handy on your desk, you make sure to have visited the bathroom before you set your alarm and that you have something in your stomach. There is no need to get up from your chair, for example to drink something.

Whenever you feel the temptation to get up, do realize that things are probably getting a little bit difficult. You might not know how to proceed, so you want to get up. Or the product you are making is not turning into that beautiful image that you had in mind. No matter how difficult the task feels or how unhappy you are with what you see – you do stay seated and continue your work. This is for the entire hour.

4. Repeat the one hour work flow
It might take some discipline, but know that you can work with focus on a task for an hour. You then take a ten minute break and put in your second hour. Want to take it to the max? Do three of these one hour-rounds in a row with short ten minute breaks in between. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll get done.

5. Make A Small Beginning
Whenever you pick up a new project, tell yourself that you don’t have to finish it all at once, but that you will make a beginning today. It is ok if you only take a tiny first step: a very rough outline of an article or a first sketch. Having made a beginning, it will be much easier to continue next time you pick up the project.

Have you been hiding behind the procrastination excuse? And are you willing to step up and show who you are and what you have to offer? Join me for Breakthrough Day, a 1-day intensive with me. Together, we will get you passed your blocks so that you can stand in your power and shine. You can schedule your connection call here.