This last year has been many things to many people – not least a time for too much time to think (and overthink).
Now don’t get me wrong, a good bit of time spent thinking is good for everyone.
But too much time? Not so sure that’s good at all!!!
Too much time can lead to self-doubt, self-criticism, self-sabotage, second-guessing and overwhelm…to name but a few.
The other common thing that happen after too much time spent thinking??
The dreaded procrastination! Especially when attempting to do anything meaningful after the procrastination pet has taken roots and sat on your lap being spoilt rotten, helping you to laze around doing very little other than thinking for very long periods (ala lockdown).
Procrastination means different things to everyone.
Anything from deliberate avoidance, denial and outright refusal to being scared or making excuses.
Nonetheless- as we are coming to the end of (yet another) lockdown my inbox is full of requests asking me how to beat it so here we are.
Procrastination is an ‘animal’ all of its own – best beat by knowing what it’s cause is (it can be one of a few) and then training that ‘animal’ to do something else! Otherwise that once loved pet becomes a feral beast that takes over!
What do I mean? Well – this! Let’s treat your Procrastination Pet at the Vet…
Pet Type: Lack of Motivation Monster
Habitat: Lives in warm places often a dry cave – loves comfortable lounge clothes, leggings and sweat suits, takeaway food of many kinds and Netflix. Often found having zero clues how the task at hand connects to anything that they want in their future (i.e. job goals etc).
Wonders around aimlessly and enjoys ‘organised chaos’.
Similar to: Often, this cheeky one walks around all day being spoiled by old ladies who give him treats, toys and cute names- and then the spoilt brat returns home fat every day, sleeps and ignores you. Human forms go to friends and family and make themselves comfy while eating, drinking tea or wine while sharing stories of misadventure.
Train Pet By: Matching tasks to a goal or achievement. If it doesn’t match one – bin it!
Reward yourself often, and make a note of all wins-even the smallest.
Get your bestie to hold you accountable, to cheer you on and cut off your treats if you haven’t followed through!
Examples: complete all the tasks on your to do list and put some money into the “holiday fund” or get a small treat from (that well known delivery company) delivered so it feels like a gift arrived.
Pet Type: Perfectionism Persian
Habitat: Likes to live in hot climate where it can wind up its host with annoying voice that says “tweak it some more”. Often repeats this phrase until you have made so many tweaks the thing you have created no longer resembles anything you initially thought of.
Similar to: That ugly looking stray cat that no one likes – that you felt sorry for and let stay in your flat – only to come home and find that it has torn up everything you own!! Curtains, carpets, clothes – everything!!
Train Pet By: Deciding a specific amount of time to make any changes and then STOP!
Examples: spellcheck and grammar check a document and then STOP.
After creating your piece of work – STOP and come back to it the next day- give yourself a timer for an hour to make any changes and STOP.
Have someone else check it and then take their feedback to make the changes – but once these are done- STOP!
Pet Type: Overwhelm Ostrich
Habitat: Thrives on taking on more tasks than superman and then following up with annoying leaks from the mouth that sound like excuses! – favourite leaks include (but are not exclusive to) I’m not ready… I’m too tired… I will do it when…Its too hard …. I can’t do it….I don’t want to… I don’t know how to do it….
Similar to: Having zero swimming lessons or experience and then throwing yourself in at the deep end of the pool after watching an Olympian swimming champion tell you “you can do it!” and then spluttering, crying and screaming when your feet don’t touch the floor and you have no floats!
Train Pet By: Breaking down task in to manageable tasks – ideally that take no longer than 30 minutes each. That way you’re doing small tasks and making progress that you can see – fast!
Pet Type: Distraction Dalmation
Habitat: Doesn’t keep still long enough to find a habitat so has several! Has a million icons on its desktop, loads of apps on their phone, posit-it-notes and Vision Boards enough to stock a small school along with a vivid Pinterest account. Best known for creative ideas.
Similar to: Meerkats, Squirrels and Magpies– will lose interest very quickly, get distracted by the slightest sound and conversation and anything shiny!
Train Pet By: Turning Phone off completely or putting on silent. Deleting Apps that haven’t been used in the last 2 months. Listening to classical or binaural music rather than favourite songs when completing tasks and no TV doing difficult tasks.
Set Timers to give yourself regular breaks or go for a walk and then return to tasks.
Examples: work for 2 hours – take a 15 minute break and indulge in social media, messages etc but set a timer to discipline yourself, go for a 20 minute walk and then come back to work fresh.
Super trick – allow yourself indulgences of 25 minutes for every hour of exercise completed or 1 litre of water.
So now you've identified your specific Procrastination Pet- you're fully armed to train it!!
Til Next Time - Om, Over and Out!