Goooood morning, badass people of the world.
It’s Monday, which means the tragic death of your relaxing, probably pumpkin-filled and Netflix watching weekend. So, it’s time for another dose of motivation to get you through this week…or at least this morning.
Since I spent my weekend away from the computer, yet still thinking about how I “should” sit down and create some content for the week, I decided to tackle the most sneaky form of self-sabatoge: PROCRASTINATION.
With so many forms of entertainment at our fingertips, it’s SO easy to get distracted from our original task. Big projects or tasks can feel overwhelming and to tackle one we’ve specifically been avoiding is straight-up anxiety provoking. What really gets me, is that it takes more effort to make excuses for not doing something, rather than simply starting a to-do list.
The tricky thing about procrastination is that we often have a hard time recognizing when we’re doing it. Sometimes it presents itself as “productive procrastination.” Completing less important tasks ie. washing the dishes, deep cleaning the oven, organizing our closet, etc. in favor of the priority tasks. We also rationalize our procrastination by convincing ourselves we need the “perfect” set-up. We wait for the right environment, resources, or inspiration, paralyzing and trapping ourselves in a cycle of avoidance.
It’s the enemy of productivity and robs us of opportunities to feel accomplished and satisfied with how we’ve chosen to spend our time.
So how do we stop this cycle?
Okay, first of all – I have notoriously been a MASTER procrastinator. For years I claimed to want to be a writer more than anything, yet recorded very little about my travels, experiences, and even day-to-day insights. I know firsthand that it is far from easy to change that behavior and form new habits. I also know that you can absolutely do it.
Here are a couple tips I learned along the way.
- Be honest with yourself. It’s important to get a sense of what drives us to avoid action that would inevitably lead to our successes. Ask yourself why you’re procrastinating – and tell the truth. Is it because big undertakings create a lot of anxiety and feel too overwhelming? Is it a fear of failure or not being perfect? How about success and fearing an inability to re-create something wonderful? Sometimes it’s having low energy, waking up on the wrong side of the bed, or a lack of motivation. Whatever the reason, the more you can understand the underlying issues, the easier it becomes to tackle.
- Write and break it down. Creating a visual representation or to-do list of your priority projects will give you a better sense of what needs to be done and in which order. Break them into smaller pieces and start with baby steps. Completing one or two tasks usually offers a sense of relief and accomplishment that motivates us to keep going.
- Limit distractions. This goes back to being honest with yourself. If you know that it’s almost impossible to get work or a workout done in your apartment, you need to pack up and head to a nearby coffee shop, gym, or library. If the internet itself is your problem, stay away from seventeen opened tabs and force yourself to stick with the one until that email is drafted.
- Use a timer. I’m not joking. Most of us have smartphones, which means you have a clock app and can set timers or alarms. I bought a digital kitchen timer on Amazon because I really struggle with distractions and time management. A timer enables me to chunk out my day, then holds me accountable for completing whatever it is I’m working on within that time period
I know it doesn’t happen overnight, but try starting with one small task and accomplish the shit out of it! It sounds funny, but buying a timer was one of the best things I ever did for my creative projects. It may be something different for you, so feel free to explore what your specific blocks are and how you can support yourself.
This week, let’s commit to productivity!