Lately I’ve been procrastinating a bit more than normal, and of course it doesn’t feel great.
The truth is, though, that there are a number of good reasons for my procrastination:
- I’ve had some serious jet lag and sleep issues, which means my mind is tired and just needs some rest. So I am trying to be patient and take care of myself.
- I’ve had a lot on my plate, and it’s been overwhelming. Not just work stuff (though there’s lots of that), but family stuff too. So instead of holding myself to impossible standards, I have to be compassionate and allow myself to create some space, to simplify, to find a path that works for me.
- I’m pushing myself into lots of uncertain territory this year. That brings up fears. I’ve been running from those fears at times, through procrastination. This is natural, and I shouldn’t beat myself up for it. Instead, I can be compassionate, and mindful, and find a path forward.
So if it’s not such a bad thing, my procrastination, and I shouldn’t beat myself up about it , problem solved, right? Or actually there’s no problem at all?
Well, yes, there’s actually no problem. This isn’t anything to feel bad about. However, I do believe that we should find an antidote (or two) to our procrastination, because it usually means we’re not doing the meaningful work we want to do in the world. It’s worth figuring out.
So in this article, I want to offer a few antidotes to procrastination, so that we can all find a path to doing the meaningful work we want to do, a path to offering our gift fully to the world.
Procrastination Antidote 1: Self-Care
The first thing to ask yourself, if you’re procrastinating, is: “Am I tired? Do I need to take care of myself?”
Often my procrastination is simply because I haven’t been getting good rest, or I’ve been doing so much that I’m tiring myself out. Maybe I went for a hard run in the morning and I’m not feeling energetic in the evening. Maybe I’ve been working hard on a project for a week without a mental break.
When this is the case, the answer is to get some rest. Take a nap. Sleep in. Disconnect, and read a paper book. Go for a slow walk, not for exercise but to get a mental breather. Meditate. Do some yoga.
The main ideas are to sleep, disconnect, get away from everything, and perhaps meditate. Reflect, contemplate, and find stillness and quietude.
Once you’re refreshed (and it might just mean a 20-minute nap and a short meditation), you can find mindful focus again.
Procrastination Antidote 2: Make a (Small) Commitment
What helped me during one point of my procrastination was to make a commitment to a friend that I would do a bunch of work at a specific time. And if I didn’t do that work, I would have to suffer a consequence that we both agreed to.
Needless to say, I stuck to my commitment. I got the work done, no matter what it took.
Tomorrow I’m going to make a commitment to my wife to record a series of videos over two days. If I don’t, no coffee for a week!
When you make a sacred commitment to someone you respect, you’ll elevate the act from something you want to shrink from, to a vow that you want to uphold. Then doing the work will be something you want to do!
Protip: Make the action you commit to doing be fairly small. That will make it easier to get started, and you’ll be able to launch into your commitment without too much trouble.