I don't believe in procrastination.
If there's something you're not doing, we have a million different excuses why not. Procrastination is a nice “catch-all” word that we use to define all those excuses at once.
I no longer need those excuses.
What are you procrastinating? Before I understood what procrastination really is, I believed I was procrastinating: cleaning out the basement, writing a book, creating a budget, reading that book that someone lent me six months ago, answering an email, etc.
Procrastination, in truth, is always making the choice not to do it now.
This isn’t very popular in our society. It’s seen as, well, procrastination (which has a negative ring to it), or avoidance, or indecision, or laziness.
These are all just stories people tell. They’re not true. The bottom line, no matter what story you or anyone else tells, is that you’re choosing to do something else right now.
All you have is this moment. If you’re cleaning the basement right now, or writing that book right now, great. That’s where your attention and focus should be. If you’re spending time with your family, if you’re meeting friends for coffee, if you’re researching a topic that interests you- be there fully. Don’t drag this basement/writing a book/reading that email/etc. stuff into the present moment.
When you notice something in the present moment, like the pile of boxes next to the shelf in the basement, ask yourself, “Can I do something about that right now?” If you can, grab the boxes and put them where they should go. If not, leave those boxes there- both physically and mentally.
When you see them there, again, it may be a better time. But if you constantly think about the list of things you “should” do and “should” have done and projects you “should” have completed, you’re dragging all those projects with you into the present moment.
There is only now. If you’re not doing those projects now, don’t worry about them.
If you want to remember to do those projects, if they’re very important to you, make time to do them now. If you don’t, then they’re not that important to you! What a relief.
Be honest with yourself about how you really feel about the project and move on.
Once you start doing this in your life, the results are so much fun. The other day my husband said to me, “When are you going to bring those things up from the basement?”
The old me would have done one of three things. 1) Been annoyed that he brought it up. Can’t he see how busy I am? 2) Made an excuse for not doing it and maybe set a date for when I would do it, 3) Carried that “task” around for several days thinking that I should get it done but also being a little bit bitter that I even had to do it.
Now, I don’t have to go through any of that. I looked at him and said, “I’ll do it now. Would you like to help?” Together, we brought the items up from the basement.
How to Stop Procrastinating
1. Honor the tasks you’re doing right now.
All you have is right now. If you’re thinking about ALL the things you should be doing other than the thing you’re doing now, you’re robbing yourself of this moment. You’ve chosen to do this thing (whether it’s work, errands, anything) right now. That choice is beautiful. Don’t let any “should” rob you of it.
2. Honor the tasks you’re choosing not to do right now.
There are so many things we don’t do right away, and that’s a beautiful thing. Too often, we wrap ourselves in guilt about what we’re not doing instead of realizing the beauty in those choices.
When you change the energy around those choices, you move from “avoidance” to gratitude, and that’s a big move. “I’m not writing a book right now, and that’s okay. I’m not cleaning the bathroom right now, and that’s okay. I am grateful that I have the desire to write a book. I am grateful that I have a bathroom to clean, and a desire for cleanliness.”
3. Honor the choices you’re waiting to make.
Make a list if you’d like- even write, “I don’t know what to do about these things, but I trust I will know at the perfect time.” When you acknowledge the choices you’re making (especially the choice to wait) you take your power back, and you’re no longer avoiding something. You’re actively dealing with it- even if dealing with it means simply saying “thank you” for the ability to choose.