It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time
that others waste. –Henry Ford
As challenging it is to admit, I was a notorious procrastinator who would postpone all the important things I had to do until the very last moment. I did that because I had a firm belief that somehow I will get by… No matter how poor the quality of the things that get done at the very last moment is, I knew I would go through with flying colours. So the whole concept of procrastination didn’t bother me that much, but it didn’t do me any favours either. I kept going like this until this famous skill of getting by failed to pull me out of the mess and things started piling up on top of one another…
It cost me a lot of grief to realise that delaying things till the last minute made them utterly unsavoury. Naturally I realised that I had to do something about it. So I’ve started digging for new techniques and ideas.
I looked everywhere. From top-notch time management strategies to creating simple lists and crossing things off when they’re done. All was working but not for long, as I desired. I wanted a sustainable change. I got even more frustrated and impatient. All great rivers take their beginning from a stream whereas a stream starts from a well. So I needed to go upstream and find the seed of that problem. So I’ve started digging even deeper.
How to Stop Procrastinating
I could have spend hours reading, checking all the social media notifications with never ending status updates of my friends. It all seemed so interesting, so appealing and so fascinating. I would pop on Facebook for 5 minutes only to realise 2 hours later that it sucked me in and I spent all that time fruitlessly doing NOTHING! I didn’t see back then that this fake need to find comfort in checking news and updates and getting lost in the media stream was causing me real problems…
1. All Attention Goes To…
I was distracted easily. That’s why I found myself wasting my time on the things I thought gave me comfort. I was wrong. Instead of concentrating on the things that needed to be done I was spreading my attention elsewhere. In fact, I would spend my time on anything that took me away from the bundle of things I still had to do.
That state of procrastination reminds me of the state of trance in the worst meaning possible. It’s when you “wake up” realising that the reality with your “To Do” list sucks and you go back to your day dreaming. It brings you a false sense that reality gives you discomfort pushing you out of your comfort zone of procrastination.
But guess what. Life and it’s true improvements start exactly in the “discomfort” zone when you GET THINGS DONE efficiently and right on time!
I began with paying more attention to the PAIN my procrastination was causing me. I was paying attention to the pain and the consequences. And when I saw the whole picture taking a few steps back, I didn’t like what I saw. I felt bitter and ashamed of myself and I promised to change for the better.
2. Observing Plus Mindfulness
I observed my compulsions to go and read, and check, and comment on the things online. Basically, I watched why I had that thirst to find that cozy environment outside of the “unfriendly” place where I still had loads of things to do and tackle. Of course, it’s easier to go and procrastinate than do something meaningful for yourself.
And when I realised how much pain it really caused me in the aftermath, I started going out of my destructive comfort zone more often. So I became mindful of it whereas before I would fall for distractions automatically.
3. Where Are You? Where Do You Want to Be?
I finally got it. In order to do something that would improve my life I really had to go out there. To go out of the comfort zone of distraction I found in countless things.
I looked at myself. I looked at my life and my goals and the place I pictured where I wanted to be. At that time, it seemed impossible to cross over that chasm that separated me from now and then…
Somehow I thought that if I give up spreading my attention to the obviously meaningless things I would miss out on something. Somehow I thought it would bring me that sense of discomfort. But it didn’t. In fact, the more attention I paid to my personal plan and the things that I needed to do in order to get to the place where I wanted to be, the happier I was doing it all. One step at a time I am becoming that person. A happier version of myself. Every day.
You can do it. Break up with your own procrastination and find peace in getting things done and improving your life step by step.