Are you a professional procrastinator?
The minute I don’t feel like doing something, I sweep. Today instead of reading each page of my will that I need to revise, I swept. I also procrastinated by looking at my 7-year old son’s journal of intricate drawings of pigs. I also searched for “taco toys” and “unicorn poop” on Etsy.
Many hours passed. And then even more
My sister even came over to procrastinate family style. Having combed through hours of educational data, my sister’s brain was fried. Instead of working on her presentation, she wanted to procrastinate with a serving of juicy gossip. I enjoyed three servings of it.
Even my 5 year old joined the procrastination game. He didn’t want to eat his vegetables and was dancing around the kitchen and “accidentally” dropping pieces of his food on the floor to waiting furry mouths and wagging tails.
My stomach tightened again as I looked my “Last Will and Testament” and wondered how much longer I could procrastinate. After witnessing the heir to my queendom stick a green bean in his nose, I knew neither of us didn’t have much time.
Many times we think that by putting things off that are important, we can use the burst of fear to light a fire under our butts. While it can lead to getting things done, it’s never our best work and studies show that this kind of stress weakens our immune system and wellbeing.
So how do we stop procrastinating instead of creating our lives?
It takes a TACO and 4 steps.
- T =Try forgiveness.
Procrastination makes us feel terrible. We have nasty negative associations with it. We can’t just snap out of it all of the time. In studies, researcher and author Dr. Timothy A Pychyl revealed that one of the most effective way we can get though procrastination is through forgiveness of our selves for our procrastination.
In his study, students who had forgiven themselves for procrastinating on studying for their first exam were able to study easier without the procrastination on the second exam.
My intuition agreed with forgiveness. The moment I forgave myself for dragging my feet for reading and creating notes for my new will, I felt lighter. It didn’t seem like that big of a task. It was simply taking revision notes of a document that was already created. Creating forgiveness helped pave the way for the 2nd step.
- A=Always take a step, don’t wait for the feeling
Pychyl suggests that we don’t have to feel a certain way in order to get something done, just do the smallest task in that direction and that gets the wheels moving.
For me, it was to only read one page of my will a day. That was doable to get through all the legal jargon. For my sister, she told herself she’d need to be done at certain time with her presentation so that she could be home at a certain time. She created the step of creating a time deadline and she made her presentation happen before the clock ran out. For my son, he took the green bean out of his nose. It left us both at ease.
- C=Create a moment of awareness, contemplate and give yourself immediate feedback.
After you take a step. Take a moment or a deep breath and see if that moved you closer to your outcome? If yes, ask yourself what you could do to get even closer. If something isn’t working , try to pinpoint what happened or if you just need to try again during another time or circumstance. And then take another step.
- O= Others: Do it for others you love.
In life, it’s no secret that we do more for others than we do ourselves. So let’s take what we naturally do and make it work for us.
For me, if I don’t procrastinate, I will get the revision notes done for my will, and I will be able to take care of my loved ones. My sister will get my broom. My son will get a pig in the shape of a taco and my youngest will get unicorn poop. And anything left goes to my dear husband.
If she doesn’t procrastinate, then my sister will create a beautiful and intentional presentation to help inspire educators to create strong schools for the children who need it most.
And even my son stopped procrastinating and created meaning out of his beans. He would only eat his mixed vegetables if we dedicated each bite to a friend, or our dogs, or a stuffed animal.
Right now, in this very moment, your crazy beautiful life is waiting for you. Don’t procrastinate any longer. Forgive yourself quickly. Take a step in the direction that will help you. Check it out and see if it’s working. And finally if you can’t do it for yourself, then do it for those you love. I’m going to stop procrastinating and be thankful that I don’t have to use my will in this moment as I sweep up green beans from the floor. I’m glad we’ve had this time to T.A.C.O. about it. Now, get back to your amazing life. Namaste.