Blog by Lisa Conroy – Box of Chocolates www.boxofchocolates.co.nz
“Much of the stress that people feel doesn't come from having too much to do; it comes from not finishing what they started.” David Allen
We all know there are things that we want to do or should do, yet we still end up spending hours doing other distracting things such as, picking up a book, browsing the Internet or watching TV because it’s easier or we just can’t be bothered!
There’s nothing wrong with escaping from time to time and indulging in some fun distraction, but if you’re getting sick of sitting on the fence with a task or goal that needs addressing, you may need some motivational tips.
Some people thrive on last minute pressure for deadlines, but most prefer to plan ahead and not put the added stress on yourself.
It’s important to ask yourself, “Do I really want this?” and if you do – then why, what is my motivation to complete this task, what are the benefits and how good will I feel when I've achieved it? If it’s not that important to you, it may be wise to revise your priorities. If it’s something you have little choice about – such as a work task that has to be done, then you will need a change of mind-set and realise that you’re only delaying the inevitable by procrastinating.
When you nip procrastination in the bud, you stop the vicious cycle happening on your psyche which is not good for your self-esteem, and then you’re ready to flick the mind-set to a positive spin and take action.
Here are a few helpful tips to get you from A-Z in no time…
Stop thinking and start doing something
It’s great to plan ahead and take some time to work out all the steps or resources you may need to achieve your goal. However, over thinking and analysing things can cause delays and anxiety instead of action, and can have the opposite effect. If you keep in the safe zone for fear of failure, then you'll never know what success is. We all learn by making mistakes and this will provide personal growth and development along the way, as well as mastering some time management skills. Life is not easy and you will fall down from time to time, but next time you will learn from this and it becomes easier.
Keep things in proportion
It’s easy to make mountains out of molehills when we put off the tasks we need to get done. The longer you put things off, the worse things get in your head and before you know it, you've blown things way out of proportion. What you put your mind to grows, so by dwelling on the tasks you are manifesting the worst-case scenarios to an unhealthy perspective. It can eat away at you, so you can’t really relax and focus on other things, causing you to lose sleep or feel negative. When you tackle things head on they are rarely as bad as they seemed and you start to build momentum quickly.
Tackle the hardest task first each day and the rest will fall into place
How you start your day can influence the rest of how your day pans out, with a positive attitude you get things done, you are far more likely to move forward. By tackling the hardest task first, you break down the barriers and you feel like you've really achieved something. Whether it’s making that important phone call, starting an assignment, applying for a new job, giving some news to someone – they all require action to take effect, so create the time to tick it off and you'll feel much better than putting it off. You will then feel relaxed and good about yourself and ready to tackle some of the less important things on your list, while keeping the momentum going. Everything else feels lighter and your day will run much smoother.
Take that first step
As Martin Luther King Junior said, “you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step”.
By focusing too far ahead on the future, any task or project can seem almost impossible. You can get overwhelmed by all the logistics and start to shut down into inaction. This is when planning is useful, and relating it to the here and now will make it real for you and trigger baby steps.
Take that first step today, focus on this and nothing else, create a time and place where you will not be distracted and put up resistance. You can then allow yourself space to feel in a good frame of mind, positive about taking that first step and the next one until achieved. Quite often you can’t see the entire staircase anyway and what you thought was a reality, changes along the way! Through these obstacles you discover your own wave of creativity and ingenuity to get things done, which will boost your confidence and chance of success.
Any decision is better than none at all
Once you start procrastinating you start to feel edgy and off balance, we naturally want to take action so it goes against your values when you fight it. Conflicting thoughts can cause you to feel anxious and this is when it’s easier to forget it and do something else. Before that negative cycle kicks in again, nip it in the bud by using strong affirmations and do something about it. When you procrastinate you lower your self-esteem which then signals back to you, that you are disorganised and indecisive instead of feeling confident and in control. Why would you want to feel like that, so make the decision to go in a positive direction and start somewhere…anywhere, you don’t know until you try!
Face the fear and do it anyway
The fear of success can be really debilitating, success can bear a heavy weight on your mind knowing that if you achieve what you set out to do, you have to keep up the good work. It carries a responsibility and can be easier to just put things off a bit longer.
It’s harder to take action and risk looking like a fool and make mistakes, but you will win admiration for at least giving it a go and tackling your fears regardless of the outcome. Do you want to live a life of regret, to look back and wonder “what if” years later? We are responsible for our own lives and the direction we take, so why not make it an exciting one and take a gamble now and again – it could end up being a thrilling ride where you find new opportunities that you never thought possible.
Finish the job at hand
When you start something and don’t finish it, it leaves a heavy energy that can weigh you down. You start to feel fatigued and stressed and before you know it you've gone off on another tangent again.
If this is the case, review what you have on, what can give in order to prioritise a certain task. Be honest with yourself in the time needed to finish the job, if you need to let others know of your commitments, share this information. Could you delegate some of the tasks or put off for another day/week so that the most important task is completed to the standard you expect? You will feel amazing for making the effort, and each time you get more proficient and organised at sorting out your priorities. We live in a multi-tasking world but this isn't always the most effective use of your time or energy, try sticking to one task and completing that before moving onto the next, you'll feel back in control and will be more focused.
What are you waiting for, go get started on those ideas that have been mulling around or goals you want to achieve, and enjoy the process knowing you’re working towards a life you deserve?