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.
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.”
“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.
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.
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)