An Underwhelming Blog Post: How to end Procrastination Part 1

February 20, 2015

You must be a true supporter of my blog. I have already forewarned you in the title that this blog post will be underwhelming, yet you still clicked on it, and here you are actually reading it (I bet you are already regretting this decision). This week’s post sets out to target the overly familiar sensation of being overwhelmed.
Over the years, procrastination has become my best friend – Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Soundcloud or whatever the latest social media site is. In fact, it could be anything – when I decided to turn off my phone and laptop for a month, much to my family’s dismay, I started playing the piano as procrastination. My point is, I always find something else to do instead of the task at hand!

Many people believe that this is a reflection of them and the kind of person they are – ‘I always leave things to the last moment, that’s just me’ but I want to challenge this. I don’t think it is related to the person, as much as it is related to the task. Everybody has procrastinated, but at the same time, every person has at one time not procrastinated so if every person is capable of both, I do not think it can be a reflection of them. In effect, it is a defence mechanism to avoid an inner fear about what the completion of that task could mean. I will explain this in further detail but in order for this to be done, we need to divide these scenarios into two categories. This distinction is necessary as they usually have slightly different motives and worries behind it and thus have a different practical solution. (Truthfully, I found this topic too overwhelming, so I had to split it into two parts).
When you have too much to do

We have all been there, you have too much to do so you do nothing. You see the difference between what you want to do and what you have done and decide it’s too big a difference so what is even the point? You are never going to get it all done anyway. This also works with diets – the diet you want to have is so drastically different from the diet you have at the moment that it just doesn’t seem possible. Even more so, because of the latest trend that it isn’t about diets and it should be a lifestyle change. A lifestyle change is a much bigger feat than a diet. In fact, this works with almost anything. You write a long list of resolutions, most of which are out the window by the time you are reading this post. You decide you are going to be more positive and stop complaining but that’s worlds away from your mentality at the moment.

So how can we avoid this urge to give up and not do anything? You’ve heard it before, take small steps. Except when people take small steps, their steps aren’t small enough. Put all that focus into that tiny step, and when it is achieved, this is the important bit, take a minute to feel proud and relish in your sense of accomplishment. Then move onto the next step. So how small are these steps? If you want to stop complaining, start by complimenting one person a day. You don’t need to change your bitching and moaning, just add one compliment in, but make sure it’s a genuine one. Want to lose weight? Eat fruit or vegetables once a day. Do that for a week, then the following week do something else, in addition to the last thing. Start forming the building blocks by adding more of what you want in your life, and the stuff you don’t want will begin to be squeezed out as there is less room for them. By focusing on the things you do want, you will have more direction and you will start to notice the positive benefit of this change in behaviour.

So next time you write a to-do list, pick one thing. Stop thinking about the list and decide that for the next 24 hours, this one thing is all you need to complete.

Tune in next week, for the second part… which will explain the title!