Published on March 7, 2014
Proud Of Calling Yourself A Professional Procrastinator? (This article is from a blog post in JersPassageway.com) I’m quite tired and sick of it really. Every now and then, I would see a self-proclaimed “professional procrastinator” at someone’s profile of a certain social network. Seriously? Snap out of the jokes already. It isn’t funny any more. Yes, everyone procrastinates. It’s wired in us humans. Just like we’re wired to be selfish animals. What you’ve got to know is that it’s KILLING us. Procrastination is deadly! It’s preventing us from doing the things that really matter to us. The things that truly feed our soul, I like to call it. Charles Dickens is quite right when he says procrastination is the thief of time. It’s probably one of the most deadly enemies preventing us from achieving the things we really want out of life. And until we become aware and start a conscious battle with this weakness in us, we’re never going to get any REAL work done.
Stop procrastination right now and let’s beat this together. Not later, not tomorrow, RIGHT NOW. A Step-By-Step Guide To Overcoming The Procrastination Devil 1. Your inner voice There’s always this one particular thing at any point in time that matters most to me. Yes, I will have my other routine stuff do get rid of, and probably various miscellaneous tasks to complete for the day as well. But I know I’ve got to get this one particular article out soon. So what’s my excuse? - “It’s okay, my practice session is really important. The concert is only in a months’ time!” - “I might not be writing, but managing my Facebook fan page is part of the work too!” - “Alright, in order for me to write, I should be immersing myself in the personal growth niche a lot so I won’t suffer from a writer’s block.” - “I can write all I want, but I need to learn how to drive traffic to my site!!” Bullshit! Deep down inside, I know these are all crappy reasons for not doing any real work. There is a tiny humble inner voice inside me that tells me I ought to be doing something else instead. The thing that MATTERS MOST AT HAND. All these excuses might actually be true, but they aren’t the real reasons as to why I put off my writing. As procrastinators, we tend to cover those real reasons up. Because those are the stuff that really makes us feel crappy.
Just imagine me giving myself this reason. “I’m overwhelmed by my own thoughts of the subject. I’m intimidated by the task of organising my messy thoughts in order to get them written down so that readers would understand my points clearly.” That would make me feel like a loser if I don’t take action right? 2. Identifying your RESISTANCE and your response to it So now you know you have this little guardian inside you telling you to do the right thing. Now you need to identify your resistance. The REAL reasons that’s causing us to procrastinate. Pause for a second and ask yourself. What’s REALLY holding you back? Apart from being intimidated by the task of organising my messy thoughts, here’s some of the more common resistance I face when procrastination has gotten the hold of me from writing. The fears, I would say. 1. I’m not an expert – A part of me would always feel like I’m not qualified to write. For ALL my articles to date. Every other personal growth blog I visit, people just seem like they know a ton more than me. But what I do realise also, is that most started out not knowing much either. What they all had in common was the fact that they felt they had something unique to share with the world and were passionate about their work and what they write. And I know I’ve got that. That being said, it is still rather intimidating for me. But I’m actually glad I compare myself with my so called “competitors,” because it has really stretched my boundaries of my writing skills. 2. Fear of not being unique – Tons of people have written the same thing. Furthermore, I’m not an expert. Why should anyone be listening to what I have to say? Crafting the way I write in such a way that it is interesting and unique for my readers is hard, I have to admit. And then I would ask myself. What if my related life experiences are lame? I treat blogging seriously and I don’t wait for something to inspire me before I write. Same goes for waiting for a particular “interesting” life experience. I use some techniques for having unlimited ideas, but when I’m uninspired, I crack my brain anyway. I’m a firm believer that the PRO is consistent and shows up no matter what. The amateur waits for inspiration. The end result is that I learn how to churn out awesome articles even when I’m “uninspired.” 3. It’s just plain difficult! – Writing in general is tough for me. I’ve never thought I would be writing and I never felt like my English was anywhere near awesome. And to think of all the research and reading I have to do before writing… That just scares me.
The reality of it is that not getting it done doesn’t make it any easier! You only get better by facing those difficulties head on. And if it’s something that means a lot to you, (which it does for me) then that’s exactly what you’ve got to do. Constant improvement. Successful people know that in order to achieve great things, you not only need to have passion for what you do, you need to be excellent at it. These 3 things that hold me back from doing my work is actually just what I need. Once identified, it gives me some pressure to fight against. I have a piece of piano music that I was working on. I’ve left it alone for weeks already, but I don’t find myself saying, “damn, I hate practising this part. It’s so hard, but I need to get it nailed because I love the piece so much.” You see, piano just isn’t important to me right now, so I don’t give myself any resistance to fight against. And when that happens, I’ll probably be extremely slow with my progress on it until it starts to become important to me again. The more something that needs to be done means to us, the more resistance we will face. That’s something we should really be aware of. It gives us a chance to fight for what matters. Resistance is a good thing! But the magic only happens when you bust out of your comfort zone, face your resistance head on, and get started. So how do we do that? 3. Getting started… This is so cliche but so true. About 50% of the battle is won when you just get started. Everything becomes easier and when you gain momentum, you don’t stop. Need to practise my piano? Just sit at the piano bench and start the first note. Once there, I’m usually stuck for hours. Need to write? Just write my first sentence. Once that is done, I ALWAYS complete the article. One thing that I’ve learnt recently is the “2-minute rule” by David Allen. If there’s something that takes you closer to your goals and just takes 2 minutes to complete, DO IT. The bigger picture might be hard, but something that takes just 2 minutes must be easy right? 4. The war is not over yet… Your battle against the procrastination devil is far from over even after getting started. Along the way, you will still bump into all sorts of obstacles. Even disguised ones.
You do research before you buy something new right? Maybe a mobile phone, or a camera. I know I do mine in the middle of writing my articles sometimes. So here’s introducing you to Colin Powell’s “40/70″ rule. Don’t take action if you have only enough information to give you less than a 40% chance of being right, but don’t wait until you have enough facts to be 100% sure, because by then it is almost always too late. Today, excessive delays in the name of information-gathering breeds “analysis paralysis.” Procrastination in the name of reducing risk actually increases risk. — Colin Powell If you are researching too much, you are procrastinating. Find that sweet spot in between using your own discretion, and drop your obsession with perfection. Don’t bother with making things perfect the first time round and just GET STARTED. Your first attempt will suck, no matter how hard you try! So what about all the distractions along the way? Simple. As soon as you lose focus, pause whatever you’re doing and get yourself into a reflective mode. Now listen to what your inner voice is saying and repeat steps 1 and 2. 5. Having a system in place A good piece of advice to follow as you fight the war against procrastination is to find a system that you will stick with. In my case of writing, I make sure a new article is out within 7 days of the last published article. It doesn’t matter if I release 2 or 3 articles within a 5-day period. The idea is that I stick with a system that tells me I’ve got to get an article out at all costs within 7 days of the last. Another powerful method that I also recently learnt is a system created by an American comic, Jerry Seinfeld. You can call it the “Seinfeld Strategy,” as James Clear calls it.
You get a huge 1-page calendar for the entire year and hang it up somewhere where it would be prominent. Whenever you complete a daily task, you get to mark that date with a big cross. After some time, you would have a really long chain of crosses that you would absolutely NOT want to break. This task must be something small enough for you to be motivated to follow through, and yet has to be effective in bringing you closer to your goals each day. Let’s say I want to learn a new piano work. It is far better to tell myself to nail 2, 5, or 10 bars of music a day, than to practise the work 30 minutes a day. One clearly brings me closer to my goals, but the other wouldn’t necessarily do so. Personally, I would do this for fitness. Something like 50 push-ups and 100 sit-ups a day. Sounds very achievable right? The thing that makes having a system in place so powerful is that you wouldn’t want to break it after going at it for a long time. Because the longer you’re at it, the more awesome you’ll feel. And the more awesome you feel, the more shitty you’ll feel when you stop! Just imagine that calendar. I would kill myself if I see even a single hole in the chain after half a year! ~ To sum up what we’ve learnt. Steps 1 and 2 is for you to start being conscious and aware. It serves to provide you with a more emotional kind of motivation. Listen to your inner voice because it already knows where you should really be heading, and identify your resistance to give yourself something to fight against. It would definitely help if you write down the resistance you face clearly, along with why you should be fighting these resistance. Steps 3 to 5 is the more practical approach. The physical motivation. Remind yourself that if something takes just 2 minutes, get your ass off and DO IT. That includes getting your first 3 sentences written down. If you get distracted and lose focus, revisit steps 1 and 2. When there is a need, do your relevant research but not too much that you’re put into a state of “analysis paralysis.” Lastly, keeping a system in place is powerful. Just remember. Don’t break the chain!
This has been a long article. One that was inspired by my own procrastination in writing another article. Do pause and reflect on how you’re going to use the information here to benefit you. Remember, procrastination is deadly. It’s hard and probably impossible to get rid of entirely. But the journey towards improvement begins with our thoughts. You must say that as of today, you are going to embark on a never-ending battle against your procrastination devil. And stop the “professional procrastinator” thing already. This is serious business. This is our lives at stake here. A life spent procrastinating is as good as a dead soul. ~Helping you become the best version of yourself~ Jeremy writes about everything Personal Growth at his blog, Jer’s Passageway. Do give his blog a visit, he would love to connect with you!
1.Proud Of Calling Yourself A Professional Procrastinator? (This article is from a blog post in JersPassageway.com) I’m quite tired and sick of it really.
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