One of the reasons procrastinators put things off is that they have a low threshold for stress and discomfort. They aren’t used to doing things as they come in, so they push them off and lie to themselves that they will have more time later or will do it better when under pressure. Unfortunately, being uncomfortable is a part of life. This does NOT mean that you allow others to walk on you or that you accept being stressed as a lifestyle. It means that you put things into place so your discomfort comes from being outside your comfort zone mentally and your stress is self-induced not because of your surroundings.
Because you are new to being proactive, it is going to feel like you suddenly have a LOT more on your plate daily. This is because you used to do in a day or a weekend what others spread out over multiple days. We need to get you thinking more like an athlete who builds up endurance and tolerance for their sport. A runner starts with walking and then builds up to jogging, and then will begin running miles a day. But if they ran miles their first day without knowing how to walk without getting cramps, their body would be hurting! Instead they learn how their body reacts after walking a half mile, a mile, two miles, five miles. Then they hear what it says to them after a light jog, a more intense jog, a longer jog. By the time they run, they now when they will need to ice and heat certain parts of their body after various distances.
How does that relate to you? Start small. Implement steps that help you become proactive a little at a time so you aren’t piling 16 hours of work on yourself this week! Instead, think of what you would naturally put off for later, and break it down into little pieces this week or carve out the time to work on it sooner than you would have. As you begin to schedule more into your regular days, you will where you are overscheduling yourself due to procrastination versus where you are just flat out keeping your schedule too filled.
I’ve made this point a few times over the series, and will make it a few more: Do what you can do NOW now. Have a blocked time within your day where you only work on the “little things” like tasks that take less than 15 minutes, projects that just need a quick sign off or review, responding to emails that only require a calendar booking. Have a two-hour block daily during which you tackle the little things ensures they don’t add up to too much later on in the month.
We all get upset , it’s a part of life. Anyone who says they don’t isn’t in touch with their emotions. As a proactive person, you have to be in touch with your emotions since frustration and stress are two big reasons we tend to put things off as procrastinators. You have to manage your emotions to know which ones you can work through and which ones require you to step back and take a break.
When you are working with others and it’s the work the frustrates you, communicating the problem is the best way to resolve it. Be sure to complete the work you have to do (if you can move forward without it first being resolved) and then ask for time with the other person to sit down and talk about what could have been better. Learning to communicate with others will reduce stress and frustration because you will often learn the other person doesn’t realize that they are causing you to feel those things.
After procrastinating for so long, it can be difficult to feel okay with how much work is on your plate daily. It will feel like a lot more at first. However, as you continue to be proactive, you will start to appreciate weekends, holidays, and time off more because you will learn how to fit all your work-related tasks into a work-related window, personal / family / home tasks into a their own windows, and leave time for the things you love. Then you will love that you did this challenge and set yourself up for success for the rest of the year!
Get comfortable with doing the things you don’t LOVE. Answer the emails, make the calls, work on the tedious reports, do the chores you put off until end of month. Whatever those tasks are for you, do them this week and celebrate that you did by posting “Done” in the comments or giving yourself a high five. Whatever feels best for you.