By Liz, getting ready to hit the beach!
I’m a huge procrastinator.
I’ve been working on this for many years and while I’ve gotten better, I still haven’t completely kicked the habit to the curb yet.
A great example of this is back in high school when I asked my math genius dad to help me study for my geometry final the night before the test. When he asked me which chapter I needed to study, my answer was, THE WHOLE BOOK. Yeah, I wasn’t really into geometry.
He almost lost his mind.
(FYI – I still passed.)
But to this day, I’ve been known to be writing the last chapter of my book at 3 a.m. the day it’s due. Sherry probably remembers this story very well… But that only happened once, and for the record, my editor said it was his favorite ending.
I still wouldn’t recommend it.
We procrastinate for so many reasons. The biggest is fear.
It’s not because we’re lazy, or incompetent, or any of those other reasons we come up with. We’re often so afraid of failing that it’s easier not to start, especially if it’s a project we’ve been dreaming about for most of our lives.
Then we judge ourselves. We put all this crazy pressure on something that we should be HAVING FUN DOING. And it literally freezes us in our tracks.
Or, sometimes it’s the opposite—we’re so afraid of succeeding, because we think, well, what happens if our book gets published, or our business idea takes off. We realize we’d have to leave our comfort zone and shift to a whole new reality. And even though that reality might be a million times better than your current reality, it’s scary!
But, if we don’t get over ourselves, we’re never gonna get anywhere, right? I’ve been working for a long time on strategies to overcome procrastination and these are the ones that have been working for me:
1. I take the pressure off. I don’t start out thinking about how I need to finish, publish, market, sell the book. I think about writing a scene – or somedays, even just a paragraph. Otherwise it becomes so overwhelming I just want to go back to bed.
2. I use my woo woo tools. For me, it’s meditation (always) to quiet my mind, with some crystals (jasper, rose quartz, or tiger eye are great for this) and some essential oils in the diffuser. Vetiver, cedarwood, and lavender are three of my focus faves.
3. I’m nicer to myself! Self-flogging never helps – it makes me feel worse, which will keep me in the slump. I’m trying a new thing – being kind to myself. Getting back into a state of joy brings me back to my project with a new outlook.
4. Reward myself for taking action. Whether it’s finishing, or simply starting, just doing one thing to move it forward – even one sentence, I try to remember to celebrate it. I’m not perfect at this yet, but I’m trying!
5. Be accountable to someone else. I have people for different projects who I to commit to checking in with and telling them what I did to move my goal further. And I do the same for them.
Procrastination is tricky, but when you reframe what it’s about and approach it from a kinder perspective, it’s beatable. It might be a lifelong process, but hey, progress is better than perfection, right?
Readers, how do you overcome procrastination? Tell me in the comments!