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The Nike Guide to Overcoming Procrastination

The Nike Guide to Overcoming Procrastination


    You aren’t doing what you know you should be doing.

    And it’s eating at you. Every time this task you’re postponing and postponing crosses your mind, you feel stress and anxiety.

    But somehow you just take your mind to something else again, and postpone once more.

    And that’s exactly what procrastination is… The postponement that never ends.

    It steals your peace, joy and creative energy. Instead of crafting awesome words, works of art, or solutions, you sit with worries, stress, anxiety and a subtle realization that you’re still not the productive, task-accomplishing machine that you hoped to be by now.

    Just do it!

    Nike’s slogan is old news to all of us.

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    Still, when it comes to procrastination, it’s such good advice. No matter which way you look at the constant postponement that we label procrastination, there’s simply just one solution.

    Just do it!

    That task that you’re postponing that’s stealing your joy… Start with it, and start it now. There’s no such thing as tomorrow. We always only have the present moment. And we should use the present moment to do what needs to get done.

    Watch your thoughts

    Yes, this all sounds a bit easier in theory than it is in practice.

    But some simple awareness can help you overcome your obstacles. When you think of a task that you’ve been postponing, and you decide to do it, watch out for mental sabotage.

    Some thoughts will arise with reasonable excuses for not doing the task right now. These thoughts are the very reasons why you’ve been postponing the task in the first place.

    “I’m a blogger, so I’m not sure it’s a good idea to start webinars. I should rather just focus on my writing.”

    Or…

    “I know it’s important to sort out my office and I do believe the clean working space will give me more creative energy, but today’s a busy day, and I don’t have time for admin. I need to keep my clients happy…”

    These thoughts are the little foxes that sustain procrastination. You need to have your guard up, be on the lookout for them, and as soon as they appear, you need to counter them.

    And there’s only one way to counter such thoughts. You need to take decisive action, right now. Let me show you how…

    Take five minutes

    This is a short blog post. I like writing longer posts, in the region of 1,500 words. I kept this one short (at less than half my preferred length) to save you at least five minutes.

    And no, you can’t go on a tea break or catch up on the latest sport news.

    I want you to use that five minutes right now.

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    As you read this article, your conscience would have shown you a task that you needed to have done by now. What task was that? If there’s more than one, just pick one. Any one.

    It could be redoing your website’s about page. Or (more likely…) it could be starting that book you’ve been dreaming about for years.

    I want you to take 5 minutes right now, and start with that task.

    The idea is not to complete it right now.

    Just get a start. And don’t think bigger than five minutes. Only use five minutes.

    What might happen is that the energy you get from starting is so great that you work on it for an hour.

    Or after five minutes you’ll stop, but the feeling of accomplishment and the fact that you took five minutes and actually worked on it might get you to take another five minutes this afternoon or tomorrow.

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    It gets the ball rolling…

    Oh, and right about now your mind will be coming up with some clever little excuses. These are mere thoughts. The ones that cause procrastination. Awareness is key.

    Please ignore them and start. Take action. Do something! Right now…

    And then commit to taking five minutes (yes, only five minutes!) to work on your project every day.

    You’ll be amazed by the results. Just do it!

    I would love to hear about your experiences and your progress in the comments section below.

    (Photo credit: Motivational Phrase via Shutterstock)

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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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