Are you experiencing a few pangs of guilt, stress or anxiety over something you’ve yet to do?
I don’t know about you, but my stomach does a little flip each time I’m reminded that I still haven’t gotten around to XYZ.
When I was a kid, if I was procrastinating on starting my homework or a household chore, my Dad would say to me “You’ve got more stalls than the Santa Anita Racetrack!”
The expression was lost on me then… Yet looking back, it’s so clear to me now. It’s painfully obvious how I could have made life so much easier on myself. If only I’d just taken care of some of those things closer to the moment when they first became a task.
You’re not alone. No matter how it looks from the outside, no one is exempt. We ALL procrastinate in one way or another.
We barter to postpone even the simplest of assignments with a solemn promise we’ll do it later, tomorrow, or when we feel more ‘prepared’. Anytime but now.
There are two main issues here:
1) Postponement is a false sense of relief. We’re not really off the hook yet; the task is still there, lurking in the shadows.
2) Despite what we want to believe, we won’t feel any different or better prepared to tackle it ‘later’. So the pattern continues and so does our stress and anxiety.
Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder. – Mason Cooley
Thankfully there is a better way; a simple solution.
You’ll either love or loathe the simplicity of it.
Either way, it will bridge the gap between where you are now and achieving whatever it is you keep meaning to do.
What’s the best way to get something done?
….Start as many times as it takes.
If you keep starting on something that’s not yet completed, eventually you’ll get it done.
We delay activities for a spectrum of reasons, often to ‘protect’ ourselves from something unpleasant. The reality: we create more harm than good.
Consider how you might amend your approach. For example, adopt the practice of removing the emotion or negative associations tied to the task. Set the emotions aside and focus instead on taking a neutral, practical first step.
>> Reach for the phone to make the call.
>> Open a blank document and start typing up the proposal.
>> Begin gathering receipts for tax time.
Magical things happen when you simply get started:
✓ Any guilt, stress or anxiety attached to the task starts to dissipate.
✓ The act of ‘doing something about it’ brings confidence and the anticipation of completion, giving us a welcome wave of relief.
✓ You may be surprised that what you’ve put off wasn’t as unpleasant or time-consuming as you expected.
✓ You may even experience an unexpected boost of energy.
✓ The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be done and the weight will be lifted.
Obviously we’ll always have more tasks than time, but this is about being focused on – and choosing to start – those important things we put off.
As my Dad would condone, resolve to have fewer stalls than the Santa Anita racetrack. You’ll get much more done and feel infinitely better about it.
What’s on your agenda today?
Keep starting until it’s done.
What else do you do to get things done?