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When You are Really Ready to Stop Procrastinating, Try This

My house is always clean in November because I am procrastinating…sound strange? In November, I enter Nanowrimo, a contest of sorts, where you write a novel of 50,000 words in a month. I find myself strangely attracted to vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing bathrooms, doing laundry and eating chips! I, of course, do this to avoid sitting down and writing. Dr. Wayne Dyer says it very well…“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday and avoiding today.”

It takes me a while to overcome it but I do…each of the 4 times that I have participated in Nanowrimo, I have “won”. That just means that I have accomplished my goal of 50,000 words written in a month. Now, just to clarify, it doesn’t mean that what I have written is good or great…it is done,though. 

Facing the 3 Elements of Eliminating Procrastinating 

#1. Fear of starting
For me, in order to get over that fear, I needed to create a compelling future that included completing the word count in the allotted time frame. So I did…I imagined what it would look like…that final step…writing that 50,000th word…I saw myself uploading the document to the Nano site…saw the computer verify the word count…felt the excitement as it spit out the verification on my screen…I felt the pounding rush of euphoria at having DONE IT!! I brought that image closer in, so that I could see it clearly and made the feelings stronger, the colors brighter, the sounds more intense.
For other people, they work better if they are moving away from a situation they don’t want. So for them, creating a compelling image of discomfort and negative consequences of what will happen if they DON’T accomplish it, works brilliantly.
You need to ask yourself this question: “Am I more motivated by going towards a dream or a goal, having a vision of it, that is bright and beautiful, full of vibrant colors, sounds and feelings?”  or “Am I motivated by thinking of what I am trying to get away from, thinking of a negative situation that might occur if I don’t do this thing?” There is no right or wrong answer…it is just the way you motivate yourself 
#2. Fear of completing the project or task (Who am I to do that?)
If you have this fear and it is a factor in your procrastinating, you need to pay attention to what it is trying to tell you. Is there a part of you that wants to keep you safe? Is that why you aren’t getting down to business (even if it is just clearing off the weeks worth of dishes that have accumulated on the kitchen counter)? 
There often is a positive intention behind procrastinating, even if you don’t know what it is.Does your self image support you in accomplishing this task? Are you attempting something that is beyond the glass ceiling of who you think you are?
#3. Blowing the task out of proportion and overwhelming yourself
If you are procrastinating because you have blown your task out of proportion, made it bigger than life and so overwhelming…well…there is a simple solution. Here is what I did…Wow…you know that 50,000 words is a BIG deal. I had to chunk it down into manageable steps…and I can hear some of you saying…how else would you do it? You actually write one word at a time, don’t you?
There are many ways to write 50,000 words…you can write one word 50.000 times or many different words…one word at a time…and do it 50,000 times. I decided that for me, the best way was to take 50,000 words, divide it by 30 to get a goal of 1667 words per day. And it worked. In fact, it worked so well, that I did more than that some days and finished a few days ahead of time.
I set up a routine, using the same music every single day and that worked for me. You have to find what will work for you. On days when I found my mind wandering to the joys of cleaning, I set a timer for 15 minutes and wrote for just that amount. Once I started, it was easier to continue.

Is Procrastinating Always Bad?

No…pay attention to the meaning behind the procrastinating. Do you need more facts? Is your intuition trying to protect you from doing something it believes can harm you? Think of it this way…if you are someone who is trying to quit smoking, then procrastinating having the next cigarette…forever…is a good thing. 
Procrastinating hitting your child is good thing too…know what I mean? Procrastinating is a strategy…a way that you think…because when you do think of it, we all have a way that we like to do things…don’t we? So think about what you are wanting to accomplish…decide if it is really something you want to do that fits in with your values…and go from there.
We have all been guilty of procrastinating in our lives at one time or another. For most people, a tiny bit of procrastination here or there isn’t a problem… in fact, it has its place…For others, it is…either a big problem or just enough of a problem so that they don’t feel satisfied with their lives. You decide…for most people, facing those 3 elements will make all the difference in the world…
"Drive your own life…you deserve to, don't you?"  Sherie Venner
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I am a Relationship Coach who helps others create happy, healthy, loving relationships…including the relationship they have with themselves…by breaking through those blocks and barriers to success. I use various techniques gathered through training as a Master Practitioner of NLP, timeline, hypnosis and common sense gathered through life experience.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Designer Rob Russo May 23, 2012, 1:04 pm

    I, too, struggle with procrastination. I’m thinking I need to take on a 50,000 word challenge or something similar. Sounds fascinating!

    • Sherie May 23, 2012, 1:41 pm

      It really gets the creative juices flowing, Rob!!

  • Joyce M Washington May 20, 2012, 8:44 pm

    I definitely struggle with procrastination (and perfectionism)… and I’m working on both, daily! great tips, great post.

    • Sherie May 20, 2012, 9:04 pm

      Thank you, Joyce, yes, I hear you! I appreciate you taking the time to read the post and to comment!!

  • Suzanne Jones May 19, 2012, 11:30 pm

    Really great article Sherie. I never ever thought I was a procrastinator but over the years come to realize differently. (In some areas) I found myself recognizing I was physically walking away from, or intentionally avoiding tasks. Then I blow it out of proportion and it never gets done. Then I get annoyed and it brings me down…vicious cycle.
    When I just complete the task immediately, I feel tremendous and end up getting 1000% more things done just from the feeling it gives me.

    • Sherie May 19, 2012, 11:45 pm

      It’s amazing how that works, isn’t it, Suzanne? Sometimes we put more effort into avoiding what we need to accomplish, than the effort needed to accomplish the task!! Thanks so much for your sharing and your comment, I really appreciate you!!

  • Rhonda Uretzky May 17, 2012, 7:27 pm

    “Is your intuition trying to protect you from doing something it believes can harm you?” I LOVE this! Procrastination can be a good thing, once you learn to follow your inner guide, everything you feel can be valuable!

    • Sherie May 17, 2012, 7:34 pm

      It certainly can, Rhonda! It is so important to follow your inner guide! Thank you so much for your comment!! : D

  • Mandy Edwards May 17, 2012, 12:00 pm

    I am the worst procrastinator! I tend to put off the stuff I dread doing. I’m working on that though!!

    • Sherie May 17, 2012, 12:31 pm

      Mandy, I think we all procrastinate somewhere, sometime! LOL Progress, not perfection, right?? Thanks so much for reading the post and commenting!

  • denny hagel May 17, 2012, 7:41 am

    I love that you show both sides of procrastination! I think understanding that there is always something good to be found in everything is a really positive way to approach life! Thanks!

    • Sherie May 17, 2012, 9:33 am

      You know that old saying…there is a silver lining in every cloud…quite often, it is true! Thanks so much for your comment, Denny!

  • Sharon May 16, 2012, 11:07 am

    This is a great article and it makes me laugh. As a former teacher…and current mom, I’ve always taught “do not procrastinate”. But I am a procrastinator in SOME things. In study, I do not procrastinate. In projects, I do. If I do not procrastinate in projects, I always perform poorly. I do my best work under the gun, so to speak. I once had a professor who pointed this out when giving examples of different learning styles etc. I think my mind is always at work, because I don’t really “do” rough drafts either. When I sit down, it is a done deal. I think the key is to KNOW “self” but with the realization that anything could go wrong if you wait until the last minute. Great great article.

    • Sherie May 16, 2012, 11:53 am

      Thank you so much, Sharon! I am familiar with the “mind always at work”…mine does that sometimes, too! Love your comment, thanks!!

  • Olga Hermans May 16, 2012, 10:32 am

    Oh…if we only would NOT procrastinate and do what we need to do; where would our life be? Great insight, thanks!

    • Sherie May 16, 2012, 11:54 am

      Where would it be….that is a great question, Olga! Love it! Thanks for your comment! : D

  • Alexandra McAllister May 16, 2012, 10:08 am

    Great article, Sherie! I can relate to #3…’Blowing the task out of proportion and overwhelming yourself.’ I’d think it would never get done and thought about it and did nothing! So, of course, it didn’t get done! LOL! I’ve changed and now, I also divide it up…do a little bit at a time and before I know it, it’s done! Thanks for sharing!

    • Sherie May 16, 2012, 10:26 am

      Thank you, Alexandra…and that is a great strategy that you have made for yourself!! : D