I Know What You Did Last Night
Some of us do it with the curtains closed. Others do it in front of the TV. You may be surprised, but I know what you did last night.
But that’s okay. We all do it. Yep, even a fancy business owner like me. How unacceptable, right?
However, something strikes me as odd about this situation. We all do something unacceptable, and yet we keep doing it…?
Society, your parents, your spouse and your ruminating brain all say the same thing: procrastination should be avoided. You should feel ashamed when you procrastinate. You’ve been taught that procrastination is a filthy habit – laziness in its truest form. But more than anything, you should feel ashamed.
It’s fake news.
Yes, truly. A sham. You DON’T need to learn how to stop procrastination in its tracks.
No matter the circumstances surrounding our procrastination, we always experience that sinking feeling in our gut. Some say it’s fear. Others say it’s stress. I say it’s guilt.
The guilt that accompanies procrastination is typically the worst part – worse than the act of procrastination itself. Every time we fall into that same cycle, we feel like we’re disappointing… Ourselves. Our family. Our co-workers. Our 401K.
I don’t always procrastinate, but when I do, I procrastinate exceptionally well.
You just need to teach yourself how to procrastinate effectively.
You can fix all of this by reprogramming the way you think about procrastination.
My advice is this: if you’re going to procrastinate, do it well. Do it the right way. Simple.
Unproductive procrastination most likely happens when you’re alone. Left to your own devices, you’ll reach for your devices. Typically, it’ll be that shiny device welded to your palm. One of the most effective ways to channel procrastination into something beneficial is to find someone who will hold you accountable. And I mean truly accountable. Not just a spouse – who may not be the ideal candidate for objective accountability. It really is hard to procrastinate in a group setting. Support and accountability are #1.
Stay calm and keep procrastinating.
Start using your propensity to procrastinate as a tool. Delay your work on purpose. Active procrastination can certainly be productive. Completing other small tasks while delaying that one big project gives your subconscious mind time to process some of those thoughts and ideas that seem to start out jumbled. With time, the creative juices can really get flowing. The results can be magical, and you don’t have to feel guilty at all doing it!
An effective procrastinator allows for the space to pause and let their mind expand.
Procrastination is NOT laziness. In reality, procrastination is often rooted in perfectionism. Maybe you think and think and think your next project to death until you’re so inundated with ideas that you just don’t know where to start. Perhaps this leads to a feeling of stress or panic that you’ve taken on too much. You may find yourself saying, “I’m just too tired and overwhelmed to even make a dent in this today”. Trust me, I’ve been there. It’s not uncommon to find the drive to create something great segueing into procrastination. Amazing people procrastinate too!
Behold, procrastination can actually be your own secret weapon! It might not be as cool as Eric Barker’s knowledge of the secrets to maintaining an amazing relationship or Dean Stinson’s age-old heroic act of beer can luggage checking, but it’s certainly a close third.
How do I do it?
It’s simple, really. I have an understanding of my relationship with procrastination. If you take the time and pay attention to when and how you procrastinate, you’ll get to your why. Once you have that, you can systematically create your plan of attack.
If you procrastinate often, you should learn to effectively procrastinate on purpose. It’s a rule in the book of success. (I’m serious!) Always keep a list on hand of small tasks awaiting completion. Feel the urge to put off that big project? Not sure where to start? DO NOT let that sense of overwhelm stop you in your tracks. Train your brain to transform that feeling into task-completion-mode. Check off the boxes while you give yourself time to process your thoughts and come up with new ideas. It might sound crazy, but it works.
So the big question – Are you vulnerable?
The answer is yes. And it’s a good thing.
The next time you begin to feel guilty for failing to start that project the moment it comes up, try shifting your perception. It’s all about your mindset here. Focus on why you are putting off that next big thing. Realize that you ARE cut out for something big; you just need to let that amazing mind of yours get warmed up. You are consciously giving yourself the creative space to become something great.
Creativity + Procrastination = SOMETHING AMAZING.
I am rooting for you.
You have homework.
- Begin to remind yourself that procrastination is a tool. Harness it. Use it to your advantage.
- Find a procrastination partner. (Get in touch with anyone on the BFA team; we’re all expert procrastinators!) You need someone to hold you accountable if you’re going to train yourself to procrastinate effectively.
- Remember, even the most successful people fight the battle of procrastination. We just have the systems in place to use that battle to our advantage.
So even with your curtains shut, I know what you did last night.
…because I did it too.
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Photo credit: Spencer Stanton