There are many reasons for putting something off – it’s simply not time to do it, you are fearful of doing it, you don’t know how to do it, it feels like a huge undertaking or you plain don’t want to do it. All of these are reasons we use to put off doing something. If you play a few tricks on yourself, you may find yourself willingly doing exactly what you have been putting off.
Procrastination means “to postpone doing something, especially as a regular practice.” We have two types of procrastination – a one-time project and the embracing of a new habit.
Abraham-Hicks says, “When you feel enthusiasm to do something, it means you’ve lined up the Energy, and you are being inspired to take action from that point of alignment. When you don’t feel like doing it, don’t push yourself, because your effort is not worth it. But, when you line up the Energy, the feeling of procrastination goes away.”
Here are some ways to line up the energy so that you can move forward.
Change the timing
My first big ah-ha about procrastination came when I changed the timing on a habit I wanted to create but kept putting off. I wanted to spend a few hours one day a week cooking something that would serve as several meals throughout the week and provide meals for my freezer. I chose Saturday because I seemed to have less to do that day. However, several Saturdays went by with no action. Then one week I cooked on a Tuesday and it was perfect! It turned out that I play cards on Saturday night so there was always the pressure to be ready to go out. By switching the time to Tuesday, I had nothing else to do but enjoy cooking the meal and could take my time doing it.
Exercise is another activity that could benefit from changing the time. I planned to exercise at 11 AM while watching The View, but after a morning of writing what I really wanted was a cup of tea while I watched it. The tea usually won. When I looked closer at my day, I saw I really needed a physical break in the afternoon. I started taking a walk when I went for the mail at noon and began doing some yoga in the afternoon when I am ready for another break.
What timing do you need to change in order to stop procrastinating?
What if it feels like a huge undertaking?
I need and want to rearrange my web presence. That means absorbing one blog into another and repositioning my major web site. It’s a huge amount of work and my procrastination is compounded by the fact that I am still in the process of getting clear how I want to reposition myself. It is such a big job that even though I am a fabulous organizer, I blanch at the thought of moving all those pages. The first step is to figure out my new position, that alone may unleash a flood of ideas. Another is to see this new positioning as creating a better home for the direction I want to move in. It means moving a lot of posts and creating new opt in offers and new mini-courses and a lot of the links in a lot of places. Of course it feels huge – it is.
Part of my reluctance comes from the need to get clear about how to reposition myself. It also means I have to let go of some things to make room for the new. Once those decisions are made, I know I will jump in and get it done.
Let it unfold
My big Zen lesson in life is to allow things to unfold. Allowing it to unfold does have some action steps in it. For me that means to contemplate the idea on a regular basis, watch how I feel, see what steps I figure out and decide what I am willing to do. When the time comes, I will know what action to take. Set your overall goal, break it down into small steps and see where it leads you.
It may not be time to do it
The idea to consider giving up one of my blogs showed up a few months ago but I had to get used to the idea. One day, in a few hours time, I realized it was time to take action so I gathered information that would help me make it happen. In this case, it was choosing between keeping an HTML site versus converting it to a WordPress site and the feasibility of moving content from one to the other. That actually was a key step in unplugging the stopped up energy around this project – I uncovered my options and could make an informed decision. As I explore these options, I began to outline the order in which I could make the changes. I even know that I could do it all in a few days. Each new piece of information I gather adds to a gathering momentum.
You don’t know how to do it
I do know how to make these changes which is why I know it is a huge job. I have tons of products all with landing pages and delivery pages to move. I have to find a place to begin and start doing it. If you don’t know exactly how to do your project, spend a few hours gathering information. If I change my HTML site to WordPress there is some folder manipulation to be done and some page forwarding that I need to understand before I make my decision. I contacted people and identified someone to help me with the steps I don’t know how to do. Learn enough about what you don’t know how to do to identify what sort of help you need.
You are fearful of doing it
I’m not fearful but I am reluctant. When we identify ourselves though our work and we change that work, we are left seeking a new identity. The change I seem to be reluctant to make is about giving up a marketing position I’ve held. Or at the very least, emphasizing it less in favor of my new direction. Change is often a challenge. It means giving up something but it also means embracing something new. What do you need to give up in order to move forward? What fears of the unknown do you hold? Do some inner work. Find out how you feel with the change you are contemplating. That alone may help you put your fears at rest.
You plain don’t want to do it.
It is possible that whatever it is that you have been putting off is not yours to do. If you know how to do it, you realize that it needs to be done, and you still can’t bring yourself to do it, hire someone else to make it happen. I’m an idea person not a maintenance person and the project I’m stuck on feels like maintenance, not creativity. Ask yourself why you don’t want to do it. In my case, I do want to do it, but I have not been motivated to set up a specific time line. So I sit with the idea and let it unfold. One morning I’m going to wake up and know this is the day to begin making those changes. It will be done. I feel my interest and desire it making it happen increasing. It is unfolding.
Make a decision and begin
Out of all these reasons to put off doing something, the one that stops me the most is that of simply making a decision. Do I want it or not? What do I want to change it to? How will this change my life – or will it? What is my most pressing need and does this project/action address that? I know I want to move back into writing that is more philosophical. I know how my target audience has changed. I have a major book in progress just for them. There is a need to make a change. One of my blogs in particular does not reflect this new direction. However, the information on it is valuable. The first step is to move the information from that blog either into my other blog or onto my web site. Until the decision is made about where to move it, I can take no action. First, make the decision. Then the action will become clear.
Look at what lies beyond
Be patient with yourself as you search for the answers and decisions that will allow you to move forward. As I resist doing this work, as I do my research and explore my options, I look for the one concept that will focus all this action. In my case, what I really want most is to have more of my books online in digital format. That choice allows me to keep on writing (my favorite thing to do) and has the potential for some passive income. It also allows me to continue teaching though my books, which is my second favorite thing to do. I feel myself aligning with this idea of creating a new platform for teaching and sharing the topics I want to explore next. That is my motivator. That’s what I want to prepare – a new home base for this next part of my journey. Knowing where I am going will make me start getting this change made.
Ask yourself, if you do what you have been putting off, what door will open, what path will it take you on? Look at what lies beyond what you have been putting off and let that motivate you to action.