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Overcoming Procrastination by Letting Go of Perfectionism

Overcoming Procrastination by Letting Go of Perfectionism

I bought a book on procrastination, but I never got around to reading it.

My name is Lori and I am a procrastinator. I even put off writing this article, but why? Why do we procrastinate?

Recently, I wanted to start making new videos for my Youtube channel, but I didn’t do it. Instead, I just thought of all the reasons I wasn’t ready. I needed to lose a few pounds; I would look better on camera if I was thinner. The camera adds ten pounds, doesn’t it? Then I thought I should wait until I got my hair cut so I would look more professional. Next, I started thinking maybe I shouldn’t put myself on Youtube at all. I should just hire a professional actress. It finally occurred to me that I was waiting to be perfect.

Perfectionism was causing my procrastination. The only way I would ever make my video was to let go of perfectionism. I was watching a marketing video by a social media influencer. He had quirky features, geeky glasses and was bald, but he had over 90,000 hits on his video. It was his words and wisdom that inspired me to watch. Once I started listening to him, all his flaws disappeared. He has confidence and exudes authority.

I was emailed another video by the author of a best-selling book. I watched his video and saw that he was extremely overweight. People pay a lot of money to watch his video webinars and take his classes.

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I had my “ah hah” moment, as Oprah would say. The difference between other people who were making money through videos and myself was that I was waiting to be perfect. The truth is that nobody’s perfect. All I was doing by waiting around and pondering over when it would be the right time for me to create a video class was procrastinating. I was sabotaging myself by not letting go of perfectionism and just frigging doing it. Isn’t that Nike’s slogan?

When you find yourself procrastinating, here are some questions you should ask yourself about why you are putting off the task.

Write down your answers to these questions.

1. Why am I putting off this task?

2. What is stopping me from completing it?

3. What am I waiting for?

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4. Am I hurting myself by procrastinating?

5. What is procrastinating costing me?

6. Am I losing valuable time while waiting for perfection?

7. Am I losing money by trying to be perfect?

8. What is procrastinating costing me?

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9. Is not finishing this project causing me anxiety?

Now, take a moment to imagine that the project you are putting off is finished and ask yourself how you feel. Do you anticipate feelings of relief and unburdening yourself?

Now just frigging do it!

Don’t stop until you’re done.

When you complete a task that you’ve been procrastinating about give yourself credit and be proud. Overcoming the hurdle of procrastination will cause you to feel more relaxed, and have less anxiety.

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You may think you are saving yourself from stress by putting off jobs that you need to get done, but you are actually exerting a lot more energy worrying about it.

One more tip in overcoming procrastination is to break your day into small blocks of time. If you have a half hour between appointments, see if you can get 30 minutes of a particular task taken care of instead of mindlessly surfing your smartphone or playing a video game.

Once you let go of the perception that you have to be perfect, you can overcome your procrastinating and lead a more successful life.

Featured photo credit: Drowning under a mountain of paper / flickr user net_efekt via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 17, 2018

Read this and stop feeling overwhelmed…for good!

Read this and stop feeling overwhelmed…for good!

We live in a time of productivity overload.

Everywhere you turn are articles and books about how to be more productive, how to squeeze 27 hours of work out of every 24, how to double your work pace, how to do more and more all in the name of someday getting out of the rat race. Well this is about the side effects of those ideas. If we aren’t multitasking, we feel lazy. If we aren’t doing everything, we feel like we’re slacking. We compare ourselves to others who we think are doing more, having more, getting more and achieving more, and it’s driving us crazy. We feel overwhelmed when we think we have too much to do, too much is expected of us, or that a stressor is too much for us to handle. And we respond by lashing out with emotions of anger, irritability, anxiety, doubt and helplessness.

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This season especially is the most stressful time of year. Between the holidays, final exams, family gatherings and general feelings of guilt that it’s the end of the year, it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking of all the things you still need to get done. But if you use these tips, not only will you get the important stuff done, you’ll keep your sanity while doing it!

    Is this you?

    Change your thought pattern-stop thinking negatively

    When you feel overwhelmed, the first thing you do is start thinking negatively or begin to resent why it’s your responsibility in the first place! The first thing you have to do is to stop! Stop thinking negatively immediately. Instead, focus on the positive. If you’re stuck in traffic, think of how great it is to have some time to yourself. If you’re rushing trying to get things done by a deadline, think how lucky you are to have a purpose and to be working towards it. If you’re stressing about a final exam, think of how fortunate you are to be given the opportunity of higher education. After you’ve changed your thought patterns, you must then say to yourself “I can do this.” Keep saying it until you believe it and you’re more than halfway to ending feeling overwhelmed.

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    Take a deep breath/change your body posture

    When you’re stressed certain things happen to your body. You start to breath shallowly, you hunch over, you immediately tense up and all that tension drives your feelings of stress even more. Relax! Straighten your posture and take at least ten deep, cleansing, breaths. Force yourself to smile and do something to change your state. It could be as simple as giving yourself a hug or as silly as clapping your hands three times, throwing them up in the air and shouting “I GOT THIS!” Think to yourself, how would I sit/stand if I had perfect confidence and control of the situation?

    Focus on right now

    Now that you are in a better state of mind and are no longer thinking negatively, you need to focus on the here and now. Ask yourself this question: What is the most important thing I have control of and can act on right now? Keep asking yourself this until you have a concrete next step.

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    Take Action

    Now that you know what’s most important and what to do about it, do it! Start with the first step and focus on getting that done. Don’t worry about anything else right now, just on what your first step is and how to get it done. Once that’s done with, determine the next most important step and get that done.

    Let go of what you can’t control (the gambler’s theory)

    Seasoned gamblers understand the importance of due diligence and knowing when to let go. The Gambler’s Theory is that once your bet is placed there is nothing you can do, so you might as well relax and enjoy the process. The time to worry is when you’re figuring out the best odds and making the decision of what to bet when you can actually take action. I used this one a lot in college. After an exam, there is absolutely no point in stressing about it. There’s nothing you can do. And the same goes for feeling overwhelmed. If you can do something about your situation, do it, focus and take action. But if you’ve done what you could and now are just waiting, or if you’re worried about something you have no control over, realize that there’s no point. You might as well relax and enjoy the moment.

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    yoga-422196_1280
      Relax and enjoy the moment

      Stop feeling guilty

      Finally, stop comparing yourself to others. If you are at your wits end trying to keep up with what you think you should be doing, you aren’t being fair to yourself. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t strive for improvement, just don’t go overboard because you feel like you have to. Only you know what’s really important to you, and your personal success journey so focus on what your top priorities are, not someone else’s.

      Everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes. The important thing is to realize it’s normal and that you can do something about it by taking focused and deliberate action. Happy Holidays!

      Featured photo credit: Stress Therapy via flickr.com

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