If you want to procrastinate less, it means becoming more proactive. This can be hard for folks who have procrastinated for most of their lives. It feels like travelling down a road you’ve never known existed. Nothing feels the same when you go through life ensuring you are ahead of schedule instead of just on time. Today, let’s focus on how to you change your mindset to make this shift and then we will dive in this week to how to make this change.
In a world where people fear missing out on events and activities others get to do (FOMO), it can be difficult to understand the difference between an opportunity and a distraction. That great weekend ski trip with friends is a distraction when it will result in you spending a week trying to get back on track with the big project you have due by the end of the month. Instead, pass up the opportunity to go and understand it will only distract you from your priority this month.
How do you tell the difference? An opportunity opens up doors without taking your attention and resources away from priorities you already have. An opportunity brings a new level of freedom without making more work for you in the long run. Say no to anything that doesn’t ensure you complete what’s already on your plate.
When you say yes to things you don’t really want to do, you create cognitive dissonance and end up feeling some type of way about what’s on your plate. You regret saying yes, you resent the person who asked, and you spend your time figuring out how far you can put it off before working on it. It becomes a “must do” instead of a “get to do” item on your list.
How do you tell the difference? When you have things to do that you may not like to do but agreed to do because they help your life become better, you feel good about doing them and struggle with procrastination because you have a bad habit. Don’t say yes to things you don’t want to do by setting strong boundaries with your time, like we discussed yesterday.
When you set strong boundaries people may begin to say you are inflexible or aren’t a team player. Folks may start to resent that you are stronger and aren’t allowing people to walk over you anymore. Do not mistake having strong boundaries for inflexibility. Switch your mind to understand that your strong boundaries actually allow you to become more flexible over time, as you know exactly how much time you have available and where you can accept new projects.
As you get used to having strong boundaries, remember to ask people what they would like to give up having you do for them in exchange for the new tasks / projects they are asking you to complete. Someone who is inflexible wouldn’t offer. Someone with strong boundaries knows they don’t have the capacity to do the new thing well so they make concessions.
Understanding the proactive way of looking at things, knowing the difference between the thought patterns that keep you tied to procrastination versus being more proactive, will help you become a stronger person. As you become more proactive, you will be better at work, home, and play. Your friendships will become stronger as you start to keep your word more often, and on time!
This week, look at some books to help you beyond these blog posts. A book I enjoyed reading and am going to pull out again as soon as I wrap up this post is Switch On Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf. It helped me several years ago to make some good changes in my life with how I looked at things. While it doesn’t focus on procrastination, the information will help you with accomplishing your goals and becoming more proactive in general.