Oct 05

Procrastinate Now!

20150711_161024Thankful I took time to capture even this simple beauty while at the coast.

Many things are said about the act of putting things off, many call it procrastination. We all know many  problems are caused when we do not take care of business. I thought it strange how we also can put off taking time to relax, have fun, or spend time with family, friends or others without having an agenda. Before talking about the act of  procrastinating, I will clarify the definition. According to some of the world’s most trusted dictionaries, the definition of “procrastinate” is, “To defer action; delay, especially intentionally or habitually.” Another way of saying “procrastinate” is, “The act of putting something off until a later time.” Indecision, or mildly put, not making up your mind, can also be the cause to procrastinate.

It is well known that the fear of failure and the fear of success may cause some to get stopped in their tracks. Distraction, chasing shiny objects, can also take us away from that which is the task at hand. This  can be a major problem for many in the world we live in now with so much to see and do. If we get caught up in a frenzy, exhaustion can follow with the loss of motivation to move forward. Perhaps that is when things are put on the back burner or bottom shelf.

We all have areas we have a tendency to procrastinate in a larger degree than others. In a survey taken, it was found the number one area people procrastinate was ‘exercise’, the second ‘eating healthy’. When asked, “Can you stop procrastinating?” the majority responded, “Yes, if I really want to, tomorrow!”  As serious as this issue can be, I was surprised how many wanted to put off taking care of problems, and yet laughed nervously when we talked about it.

I believe that we have the tools to make the changes we desire in our lives. For those who do not, there are many around us who are willing to help. It is important to create a good support system, yet we can put that off as well. Whatever definition of procrastination applies to us individually, it really is possible to make positive changes today and begin moving in a new direction.

A friend who knew I had written a book on this subject gave me a gift. Unwrapping it I found a little wooden plaque with a hand painted flower and these words on it…. “Procrastinate Now!” Ironic and humorous I still have it hanging on my wall.

Sep 29

PROCRASTINATING ABOUT NOT PROCRASTINATING?

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TAKING TIME TO PLAY IS NOT PROCRASTINATING

Procrastination can take many forms, and delay any satisfaction of a job well done. What does it look like when we put-off taking care of business? What response do we get from others? How does it affect us emotionally and physically when we procrastinate?

“No pressure” she utters. What does THAT mean? Seriously, when someone wants to make a person panic, they only have to whisper “no pressure” as they quietly exit a room. Let’s take a step out of the “de-pressurized” shoes. Take a quick glance at what physical symptoms happen when someone negates words, with what you know is a falsehood, as soon as it leaves the lips of the fibber.

Hot Flash: Like you have been caught un- prepared on the verge of a conference where you are the key note speaker.

Increased Heart Rate: Does this count as my daily ration of cardio? Seriously I want to know!

Dry Mouth: Sally Sees Sea Shells Down by the Sea Shore. Does anyone have some water?

Classic Fight or Flight Syndrome: This is all due to a one word experience called “STRESS.”

If you find you are a victim of any of these circumstances maybe a little too often for comfort, I invite you to follow me into a new journey. Let’s explore the life of the procrastinator and see if it looks similar to ours. It is amazing to see all the stress that we create for ourselves as well as others. Even though we may be in denial, and at the last minute say there is “no pressure”, we all know we are lying to ourselves, and in truth, WE could be the fibbers.

No matter how many times I teach about procrastination, or the fact I wrote a book about it, I still can get frustrated when I know I put off doing something and it cost me more time and money in the long run. What is the answer? Awareness is the first step towards change. It is a long process to go from the acknowledgement of a situation to actually stopping an undesirable behavior.

Working toward a goal with the help of others is a powerful tool toward achieving a desired outcome. Having a coach or accountability partner is a very valuable asset that will bring great results. Contact me for a free consultation.

Sep 25

Procrastination with a purpose

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As a rule, the odds are high many will procrastinate when it is time to take care of business, especially when it is required to be finished later. Feelings of anxiousness can arise when we think about accomplishing a new task so we may put off dealing with it until later. This may happen even more often when the required task has not been attempted previously.

There is an interesting phenomenon we see in the therapeutic world referred to as an addiction to anxiety. In lieu of action, many suffer symptoms of anxiety due to the fact it is more familiar and therefore more comfortable than merely taking action toward the area that is unfamiliar.

There are some who wait for permission or approval from others. This can be habitual, although not a profitable. Perhaps while waiting for someone else, the window of opportunity closes, or the time frame for completion ends. Therefore, the negative consequences of procrastination falls on the one who waited, not on anyone who may have influenced their procrastination. Waiting others permission or approval before doing what is needed can be detrimental in many ways. The loss of great opportunities, missing the chance to succeed and building healthy a self–esteem is a few examples of negative consequences that occur when we procrastinate.

Here is an experiment to evaluate if one suffers from similar problems. Watch for scenarios for a week and notice if any anxious thoughts arise, and if so, what are they related to? Was there something that needed to be taken care of that was put-off for a particular reason? When this happens anxiety increases each time the thought came to mind? Some preferred low-grade pain and occasional heart-stopping panic attack, rather than experiencing the drudgery of small and simple daily steps in the right direction.

As strange as it may seem, when we fail to begin working on a task, it may not be the inability to start, or even laziness. We shall call it fear. Fear of failure or fear of success, fear of making decisions, there are many types of fear. It may have many of its roots in our childhood reality. Fear of not being good enough. fear of not finishing or making mistakes, even the fear of beginning can be huge!

Looking at a blank page or a white canvas can create tremendous anxiety. Knowing that creativity requires activity, and activity will decrease fear, I encourage those I work with to take baby steps towards their goals as they face the fear of the unknown. By doing so, it also allows energy to be released with freedom to create.

Sep 22

What does it really mean?

All though we are on a self improvement kick, or trying to eat healthier, it is important to enjoy the good things in life as well. (In moderation, living a balanced life, one day at a time for example). Yet, if we want to work on ourselves, dealing with our stuff, we may need to look at the deeper things in life. Shall we wait and do that later too? 003We hear about the word procrastination many times but do we actually know what it means to procrastinate? According to some of the world’s most trusted dictionaries, the definition of “procrastinate” is, “To defer action; delay, especially intentionally or habitually.” Another way of saying “procrastinate” is, “The act of putting something off until a later time.”

Indecision, or mildly put, not making up your mind, can also cause one to procrastinate. That is, not taking care of business when needed, or not doing things you know you have to do. Fear of failure and fear of success can also cause one to delay. Distraction also has been a major problem for many. Lost momentum will slow things down to the point where one no longer desires to do anything. Perhaps that is when things just continue to sit on the back burner or bottom shelf.

In what areas do you have a tendency to procrastinate the most? In a poll taken, the number one response was in the area of exercise, with eating right coming in a close second. There are so many areas affected by procrastination making it difficult to say what is truly number one. When asked the question, “Can you stop procrastinating?” a majority responded, “Yes, if I put my mind to it tomorrow!” Few responds stated they did not know, and others “No.”

I believe that we have the tools to make the changes we desire in our lives. For those who do not, there are many around us that are willing to help create a good support system. Whatever definition of procrastination applies to us individually, it is now possible to make positive changes to begin moving in a new direction.

Sep 19

PROCRASTINATION IS A THIEF

SUMMER 09 170Playing while mixing colors I always surprise myself while having fun!

Loving art and being a member of a artist group, I was invited to enter some artwork in the county fair a few years ago. I was asked to enter some of my art this year so I committed to enter an abstract (any medium) this year. We were instructed to take our paintings on Sunday to the fair grounds where a committee will hang them and then judge everyone’s artwork. Here is a perfect example of procrastinating. Although I started working on a  picture earlier that is to be entered, I set it aside and put off finishing it. Now I have approximately  thirty six hours to be creative, complete the work, and then make sure the paint is dry before I submit it to judges.

Procrastination robs energy, both mentally and emotionally, from all of us. One way we can know we are putting something off is to recognize re-occurring thoughts that enter our mind about a particular situation. (Like I need to get my art work done before Sunday!) These thoughts remind us we have unfinished business that needs our attention.

When we procrastinate, we just think about things we need to do but don’t do anything about it. Do we  ever wonder how much energy is spent just thinking about something vs. doing it? While we are “just” thinking, our heart is continually beating, our eyes are working to help us see, and we may be wasting our breath.

Therefore, when we are stuck in a certain “stall mode”, we are spinning our wheels and wasting precious resources of strength. Awareness of the fact we are being robbed of energy can be a good motivation to stop procrastinating. There are many reasons we might put off doing something, or we don’t want to deal with a situation at the moment.There will always be great ideas or justifications to try to convenience ourselves we don’t really procrastinate, we will take care of business later, better yet, first thing in the morning.

Time for a reality check. Do you ever find yourself saying, “I will do that tomorrow”, when you knew you had no intention to do so? Knowing you would rather do anything else instead of “that”, a choice is made; that choice is to procrastinate one more time.I have searched many calendars and have not found one that has “Tomorrow” on it. Therefore, whatever is put off until tomorrow is lost in never never land, for tomorrow does not come.

Are you being robbed of time and money by your choices? It is time we don’t put off dealing with our stuff and procrastination any longer! For help contact me for a free consultation.

Sep 14

It Cost Money and Time to Be Late, Again!

JUNE #2 08 023Even using a sundial, we don’t want to be late because we procrastinate!

Trying not to procrastinate on yet another thing, I needed to go early to renew my driver’s license before my birthday at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Looking at the long line of people, young and old, I wonder how many are here at 4:46 p.m. on the last day to register or renew their license. How many here have to pay extra fees because they were late paying their annual dues?

This is just one example of things we all have to deal with living here in the United States, yet it makes it more difficult when we are penalized if we do not take care of business on time. Being late and procrastination seem to go hand-in-hand. I find it ironic how I procrastinated in the completion of a book I wrote titled “Pitfalls from Put-Off’s, Memoirs of a Procrastinator”. I didn’t finish the last chapter for nine months because I couldn’t figure out how to finish writing about a topic we never seem to stop doing. Is there a magical answer on how to quit?

Can someone create, or find a liquid formula that could be applied directly to the skin to help? Perhaps someone can invent a healthy procrastinator’s prescription. It could increase our awareness when we are tempted to put off doing something so we stop ourselves immediately and take care of business. There must be no side effects of course! What about some special drink that turns our hands bright purple if we get caught procrastinating?

I believe all the help we need comes from within. We all have to decide daily what choices as we will make in regard to the task at hand. When we make healthy choices, build support groups to help us stay on track and have an accountability partner, we will see a difference in our lives. We many never completely stop procrastinating, but we can make improvements in that area that will save time and money as well as many other areas in life.

Sep 10

Are we honest with ourselves?

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We can prosper if we are willing to stop and take time to really contemplate where we are right now; not where we want to be in the future. It can be scary, nevertheless, a good thing to see who we really are. To do so we have to take a serious look at ourselves. There are times I may not like what I see, yet I know accepting my limitations as a human, along with forgiveness and humility creates a path to freedom and peace of mind.

Shakespeare said it right when he stated, “To thine own self be true?” If we are not honest with ourselves, how can we be honest with others? You may be thinking, “I don’t lie to people!” Hopefully, none of us would intentionally desire to be dishonest with others. At this moment, what I am addressing is being honest with ourselves.

If you find yourself troubled about something—something that keeps churning on the inside, and you know it has affected you to the point that you need to address it—then you must make the needed changes, or perhaps remove yourself entirely from the particularly troubling situation. Have you put it off?
Here is an example: A woman needs to talk to her spouse about the way he speaks to her. Because of fear—fear of being misunderstood or rejected, or a multitude of other reasons—she hesitates. Maybe later, when he is in a better mood, she will say something. What happens if he doesn’t get in a better mood? She decides that tomorrow she will talk to him. When tomorrow comes she sees that he is in a really good mood. Not wanting him to get angry, she is afraid if she brings up something he thinks is negative; she decides to put off the subject one more time. Days, weeks, months and even years can go by as she waits for the right time to speak. All the while he continues to degrade her, wounding her heart with his words. Because she never spoke up, he continued to cross over unseen boundaries on a regular basis. (These circumstances may apply to both males and females.)
This problem becomes a regular way of life for many, and is accepted as normal behavior. Performing and appearing to do all the same action, serving, cooking, cleaning yet things have changed on the inside. There are so many who live with others but their heart is far away. How did they get into this position? What was once a warm heart, full of love and compassion is now a cold ember, burned out and lifeless. How could this happen? Procrastination! When we put off dealing with circumstances, enforcing boundaries, internally and externally, it can lead to the destruction of many relationships.
Here is an innocent question. Is there something in our lives now that needs to be addressed but we have put off dealing with it? Contact me for a free consultation.

Sep 09

Procrastinating About Procrastinating?

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Now We Can Stop Procrastinating!

Have you ever bought a book about procrastination and thought you would read it later? I have several times. I wonder will anyone ever read the book I wrote about it? I know one thing for sure, no one could if I didn’t finish writing it. It would be sad to work hard writing a book for months and months, even years and then procrastinate at the very end and never finish the last chapter. Especially a book about procrastination. In my case, I finally finished it, then procrastinated about marketing it. It doesn’t do anyone any good to have my books stashed in a box under the bed. Someday I am going to learn how to do the social media thing, and then I will know how to market the book, right?

I wonder how many thousands of authors have books that they have written, some that is incredible literature for our time, yet their work is lying around in pieces here and there. Why? Because they could not or did not follow through and complete their job. It takes commitment, and hard work to stick with a project until it is finished. It is not easy to follow through, for many reasons. If you are building a house, writing a book, or painting a picture, it is no of no value unless it is completed. No one likes to read a book without an ending.

Whether it is a hammer and one nail, a line in a paragraph, or one stroke of the brush, you are still making progress. The old saying a quitter never wins and a winner never quits is true, therefore we cannot give up. Whatever you are attempting to do, realize it is a process. When feeling overwhelmed and don’t know how you are going to get time to finish, remind yourself of this simple answer. Just do the next thing, when you are finished with that, just do the next thing. Don’t look at all the stuff that needs to be done, just look at that which is front of you and do the next thing. The task at hand is what is important and keep moving forward.

At times life gets in the way of our plans and things may be put on hold. That is different from procrastinating. The key is not to stop completely. One way success is defined is, “Getting up one more time than falling down”. Another way to view life is “keep moving toward the goal”. Remember, there are times, we have to give ourselves permission to rest and regroup.

It is possible there are times when we need to get assistance with a coach, counselor or minister to address certain areas in life where we need additional help. The main thing is not to put off, or give up, when we are in the process of completing a project or mission. There are times when we can’t get motivated to do anything, and other times we push ourselves to the point of exhaustion. When we do either we become unproductive. At that point, everything is affected, relationships can be strained and job productivity is lowered.

WARNING:

When we decide we are not going to procrastinate any longer we have to stay balanced. Fear of procrastinating may cause overreaction where we become driven. Trying to do everything we may suffer the loss of enjoyment for that which we are in the process of accomplishing. As you and I continue to move forward, we need wisdom and balance in our lives. We will then be able to do the things we procrastinated doing, and when necessary, we can be content doing nothing. Those are the best times to rest, relax and enjoy just being you.

This is a sample from my book “Pitfalls From Put-Off’s Memoirs of a Procrastinator that can be found on Amazon. Have you found you struggle with the issue of putting things off, procrastinate or delay accomplishing that which you desire? Contact me today for a free consultation.