In a time of poodle skirts and duck tail hair during the middle of the last century there was a hit parade tune titled Mañana (Tomorrow is soon enough for me, made popular by Peggy Lee). This joyful song talks of putting off for tomorrow what can/should be done today. Many of us use the message of the song as our own personal anthem, we procrastinate.
Procrastination, we all do it. Psychologists say the main reason is because it feels good. Procrastination allows us to avoid risk and change. We turn instead to actions which are more fun or easier to do and possibly with an immediate payoff. However, like many good things in life, too much of a good thing can become bad. Food for example. Too much can make us obese and unhealthy. How do we put procrastination in check with our lives?
Know Who You Are
To begin, learn to know who you are and what you are putting off doing. Many perform better under pressure. Is the quality of the work you put off for the last minute better than what you may have done had you not put it off? If so, continue what you have been doing with those things. Keep in mind unless you have super human powers like Superman or Wonder Woman, not everything can or should be done while under pressure. Be honest with yourself and do only those one or possibly two things under pressure.
Are the other things you put off costing you in some way? That is to say is it costing you monetarily, creating conflict with your friends and family, stress/anxiety? Are you paying for your procrastination in a negative way? If the answer is yes, then these are the things you must stop putting off. The best way to correct yourself is to write a list of all the things you need to do. There is power in the written word. Writing helps to better communicate with your subconscious, the power house of all our actions. I recommend using the following format by Stephen Covey. Categorize your “to dos” into four lists the evening before.
1. Important and Urgent
2. Important and Not Urgent
3. Not Important but Urgent
4. Not Important and Not Urgent
Knowing who you are and the true value of things in your life will help you fill in categories two, three, and four. Keep category one open for things unforeseen or not planned for but do require immediate attention such as a car accident, illness or natural disaster.
The next morning begin your list. Motivate yourself by analyzing the outcome of a completed job or task. Will it bring more money? Will it make someone you care about happy? What benefit will you get from it? How happy will you be? Whatever it might be, visualize and feel the end results. You may want to make yourself accountable for completing a task by letting others know you are going to do something. Tell them the value it has for you. Tell them how exited you will be when you complete the task. Tell them when you will finish the task and so on. There is nothing wrong with offering yourself a reward for completing a task. A nice lunch instead of your usual brown bag perhaps, may be a nice reward.
One Step At A Time
Now simply begin. Just start one step at a time. Do not see the whole task list as a huge monster or difficult to do. This only deflates the energy you need for the tasks. To better explain, think of climbing a huge mountain. From the lower ground this may seem like a huge and tiresome task. However just by taking one step at a time before you know it you have climbed a huge summit. You can now look down and see what a feat you have accomplished. Allow yourself to feel the pride of accomplishment. Inch by inch it’s a chinch.
Set your mind to do the things you’ve been putting off. Try the above approach. Make it your own, modifying it to suit you. Work with this formula for about six weeks. It takes about six weeks for new behaviors to set in. If you still find yourself using Peggy’s song of procrastination as your personal anthem. If you find yourself still tripping and not achieving success and you find it easier to take the negative effects of procrastinating, think self punishment. There may be some underlying reason. You may have fear of success or an underlying feeling of non-deservingness. If this is the case, come in to see me or someone like me to clear this up quickly. Everyone deserves the best for themselves.
Danny A. Cabrera C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist/personal coach practicing in Phoenix AZ for over 12 years. He works in private one-on-one sessions as well as workshops/lectures helping people improve their lives. Phone: 602 301-6551.
By Danny A. Cabrera C.Ht.
Published in N’Touch New(s) Magazine 2008