Kick Procrastination to the Curb

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Kick Procrastination to the Curb! “ In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” —Theodore Roosevelt


ne of my favorite phrases is “It’s easier DONE than SAID.” (Read that again, because it’s backwards from how we usually say it!) Every time I hear it, I break out in one of those ear-to-ear grins and can’t help but giggle. Why, you ask? Because I feel totally BUSTED! When looking at my big goals, I used to say, “If I can’t do it perfect right now, I’ll just wait until later, when I have (more time, more resources, more inspiration, more information)”— you get the picture. This only created a stack of loose ends, taking huge chunks of time, energy and productivity away from me each day. This kept me busy on trivial things, getting a whole lot of nothing done! When facing decisions, I played it safe and remained stuck in the comfort of my status quo. I’d think, “I just need a little more time to make a choice, so I can be 100 percent sure it’s the right one.” But the truth is, I was scared of making the wrong decision, or of disappointing someone, getting hurt or failing. I believe deep down, we all know the power of our own decisions, and this is why so many of us resist making them. We let things happen to us and hope that by staying in a constant state of indecision, we won’t have to take responsibility or accountability for our lives. But as author Jim Rohn states, “Indecision is the thief of opportunity and will steal our chances for a better future.” Can you relate to dragging your feet when it comes to getting things done? Seems we all find it difficult to get started at times, especially on tasks we don’t enjoy doing. If you’re ready to shift from being busy to being exceptionally productive, these tips will inspire you confidently forward to new levels of personal and professional excellence.

Take-Action Tips to Beat Procrastination 1. Redefine “perfect”: Procrastination is the evil stepsister of perfectionism. Check to see if you’ve set the bar WAY TOO HIGH for yourself. Take on a new perspective that allows you to set realistic expectations with the time, resources and circumstances you have to work with. Commend progress instead of demanding perfection. Would it help you breathe 38


a little easier if you began to consider perfectionism a character defect? Just remember, you’re already perfect in your imperfection. 2. Break it down: Take your BIG GOAL and write all the action steps necessary to complete this goal. Break it down into doable chunks of time that are scheduled in your calendar just like any other important appointment. Set the timer for 10-20 minutes and revel in a sense of completion when you’re done with that chunk of time. Commit to taking the first step within the next 24 hours, OK? You’ll be thrilled to see how small, continuous actions create unstoppable momentum. 3. Conquer fear: Often we resist taking action because we don’t want to make a mistake. So instead of risking doing it wrong, we don’t do it at all. Don’t be afraid; a mistake is really just a mis-take. There can always be a take-two. If you’ve ever felt apprehension about whether you’re making the right decisions, let this wonderful quote from Theodore Roosevelt reassure you: “In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” 4. Act “as-if”: We can stall out if we give in to self-doubt or lack confidence in our abilities. If we would approach life as if everything is definitely possible, and if we would remove the doubt, we would achieve a lot more. Ask yourself, “What would I be doing if I believed I could really achieve this?” Then muster the courage to take one bold baby step forward. 5. Clean up, set up, get up: Are you surrounded by piles of papers or folders or stacks of miscellaneous things in your office? If so, you probably feel overwhelmed just looking at all that stuff. Your mind can’t focus well in a cluttered space, so do what you have to do to clean up the mess. You’ll enjoy a greater sense of clarity when you start your day in a fresh, clean space.

6. Let it ripple: Build the courage to take decisive action so you can live as the most productive version of yourself. When you are fully engaged and making progress, your energy is contagious, and others can’t help but be inspired to tackle their own tasks with more enthusiasm. It takes discipline to move ahead even when you don’t “feel” like it or you don’t particularly enjoy the task. But remember, others are watching what you do. Whether it’s children, teammembers or peers, others are more likely to follow your actions than your words. Be someone whose choices ripple out into a cascade of accomplishments around you. 7. Think “for now, not forever”: Instead of pressuring yourself to have every little detail figured out before you get started on a project, think “I’m making this choice for now, not forever. I give myself permission to be flexible, tweaking things as necessary for this project to be completed successfully in its final form, but for now I will simply get started.” This will release resistance and spur you into motion. You can always course-correct as you go along. 8. Celebrate yourself: Small rewards are the best encouragement. They are inexpensive and convenient, and they provide positive reinforcement. All of us love recognition, so appreciate your own efforts with praise or an honest compliment. Perhaps treat yourself to a much-needed nap, a long soak in the tub, some quiet time with a favorite book, a walk

in the woods or a cup of tea in the sunshine. Seeing your todo list dwindle is sure to lift your spirits and strengthen your resolve to keep going. The bottom line is: You can’t move forward if you’re standing still. Everything is energy, and the first wave of momentum has to be generated by you. Make a commitment to even the simplest step, and take action NOW, even if it’s not perfect. Here’s a wise reminder from Lord Chesterfield Stanhope:

“ Know the true value of time! Snatch, seize and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” What do you say? Let’s lock arms and seize the day! Q

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Summer 2012


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