Here we are, beginning a new year and you're probably ready with a new list of goals and endeavors kicking off a whole set of resolutions. Have you had a bright start to previous years but then met obstacles and fell off by the end of March? Do you find yourself motivated at the start of the year and then slowly drifting off on your goals as the weeks roll by? Are some of the items from last year making their way back to your goals list again this year with a slight energetic drag of failure? I have put together a list of helpful tactics and encouragement to cement goals into your calendar. Whether it's at work, at home or in your social obligations, you're bound to meet some procrastinating challenges. Pinning down and learning about where and how you procrastinate will help to overcome these obstacles. Lets take a deeper look at the reasons certain things are just not getting done.
"Procrastination is opportunity's natural assassin." - Victor Kiam
"Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task" - William James
To begin, examine these aspects of your obstacles.
For every area of procrastination there hides an emotional wound or fear.
Sit with the obstacle and ask which wound is being triggered by the weight of getting this done?
Is this something I really want to do or is it just something I was told I need to do?
Reasons for procrastination:
Fear of imperfections- learn to accept flaws and just do your best.
Fear of the unknown - go out on a limb of your hearts calling.
Fear of making mistakes - commit to learning from them.
Fear of inadequacy - upgrade education and useful skills to gain confidence.
Fear of success - move wholeheartedly with the overview in mind.
Fear of having to live up to high standard - know yourself and know what you can handle
Fear of change - release attachments to the old and phase out bad habits.
Fear of too much responsibility - tackle one day at a time, bite sized pieces.
Fear of finishing - accept the ending of a loved project.
Fear of rejection - distance projects outcome from your sense of self-worth.
Fear of making the wrong decision - ask if all information was already available to me which would I choose? From a neutral state allow yourself to be drawn to the option.
"We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes" -John F Kennedy
1. Identify area of life where you are having the most problematic outcomes. This means you are getting into trouble, Losing friends, losing mine through fines or losing grip on your health. Which area has the most detrimental consequences on your overall quality of life. I do believe the obstacle is the way for success. When you find yourself having repetitive troubles in a particular area, this is the area you should to tackle with determination.
Here are some categories to help organize and visualize the whole picture:
Personal - taking care of health, dental, fitness, meditation, prioritizing yourself.
Possessions - home, automobile, organization, maintenance, general clutter and conditions.
Communication - keeping up with email, mail, bills, auto payments, holiday cards, birthday mailing, gifts and making those long distance phone calls to friends and family.
Home/Family - making time for meaningful family activities, being present with the people you love, making memories, passing on values that matter.
Leisure - keeping playful activities alive to keep yourself inspired with hobbies and entertainment. Service - volunteering and taking action for a cause greater than yourself.
Romance - relationship goals, planning time away from the kids for your partner.
Journeys and Education - lifetime opportunities for travel or education.
*Community - your social circle engagements and roles.
Endings and Transitions - honoring the life cycles and necessary endings that arise in and around you creating space.
2. Once you identify the area and plan to begin, declutter your work space and push through to completion. Classify usable tools and work spaces, while eliminating and moving out of the way all things that do not belong there.
Get rid of items if:
you've always hated it
its broken or obsolete
it no longer serves a purpose
you have to maintain it, insure it, store it, but do not get use or fulfillment from it
using it is more trouble than its worth
3. Buy or create organizer folders for each project that requires planning. Organize tools and supplies in drawers, shelves and boxes with labels, dividers or other system. if needed write down the overview of the system so you don't forget.
For new big projects prepare a binder with many storage pockets and dividers/labels. Put every document, receipt, idea and plan.
Create storage boxes for umbrella tasks such as tax related papers, medical papers etc.
get organizer drawers for tools and small items used for crafting or building projects.
4. Focus on importance of tasks vs. number of tasks.
What is the most valuable use of my time?
Which project or activity would have the greatest positive consequence on my life?
Determine the most important thing you could be doing every hour of every day and discipline yourself to do just that.
"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing" -Helen Keller
We all have a reason for not completing tasks, whether it is failure to prioritize, failure to organize of failure to follow through before starting something else.
Procrastinator types and solution;
I wanna do it all, so nothing is really getting done. - Prioritize and cut back. Rotate projects rather than having 10 going all at once. You will receive much more satisfaction from getting things finished and you'll actually have more time because you won't have to pick up the leftover pieces each time you return to start over.
Overwhelming enthusiasm for the next new thing - Push to the end before jumping ship. Reward yourself with nice treat at the completion of a specific project. Giving yourself a nice reward will deter you from that adrenaline rush of starting a new thing.
Overcommitment to work - Sprinkle in play to the workload and learn to say no. Learning to say no to things that sound great in the moment, but later feel daunting when you get home and actually attempt to start the project. The key is to delay your agreement until you have fully visualized what adding this project will look like in the framework of your present life. once you have a neutral mindset and can clearly evaluate that goal, give the answer. The answer may have to be no.
Action steps for smooth completion of goals:
Break down into manageable pieces.
Write down action plan and ideas.
Solidify plan by working backwards from end goal.
Enter deadlines into calendar.
Set priorities at the start of the day. (learn to prioritize)
Remove all distracting items from your desk.
Use highest focus hours for the most challenging tasks. (know thyself)
Attack one item at a time.
Sprinkle in self -care in break periods. stretch, move, walk, run, throw kettle bell around, do pushups, eat a bowl of greens, grab a juice for lunch, do a breathing practice to empty that loaded feeling from your mind.
Put limits on visits and unplanned phone calls. ( Learn to say bye)
Handle each paper and email only once.
"Only engage and the mind grows heated, begin and the work be completed" Goethe