5 Areas that Procrastinators Have All Wrong

Waste“What a waste.”

What kind of feelings did you just have reading the phrase “What a waste?”  Did you feel guilty?  Did you feel ashamed?  Did the phrase sound really familiar?

I grew up being pretty conscious of not wasting things, like food and material items. Conserve, conserve, and then conserve some more.  And then reuse, please.

Many years later, I read an article (I regret that I didn’t save it) that somehow linked being afraid of the idea of wasting things and Procrastination.  Essentially, those who are afraid to waste things are more inclined to Procrastinate.  At least that’s how I remembered the content of the article.

And that seems to make total sense to me.  If you are finely attuned to not causing waste, you are generally more inclined to hang on to things.  And you guessed it ladies and gentlemen, Procrastinators tend to hang on to things way too long.

A central part of my own recovery from chronic Procrastination was understanding that when I hung on to things, I was wasting the asset I should have been protecting most carefully — time.

Gradually, I started re-evaluating all of my movements.  Were they in line with my needs? Were they time-efficient?  Over time, I began to feel much more comfortable with USING time well.  I wasn’t saddled with an amorphous feeling of time waste any more.  I was able to develop goals that seemed bigger to me than “Don’t be wasteful.”  I now am happy to say, I use my time pretty well.

Here’s a list of items you might have thought were wastes of your time and energy that are actually essential to healthy living:

  1. Exercise
  2. Taking time out or having down time
  3. Spending time with others
  4. Cleaning and tidying
  5. Being thoughtful about your goals and intentions

The list above contains items that on first thought, might make us feel fearful of taking all of our time up.  But on second thought, each item on the list leads to us feeling lighter. Let’s feel lighter.

There’s always going to be a little bit of a time waste factor.  We’re human, not finely-tuned robots.  And time speeds by really quickly.  Enjoy those bits of waste as you learn to use the time that is yours with all the spirit you have.  You won’t be wasting your time.

News to share:

I invite you to join The Procrastination Coach Facebook Group if you are interested in recovering from your Procrastination and if you interested in being part of a thoughtful, supportive community.  Please go here if you would like to start.

If you’re ready to work with me in an on-line accountability program I lead, called Procrastination to Productivity,  please follow this link.  The next round of the program begins on February 1st.  If you have questions about the program, you can message me on Twitter@christineliphd or on Instagram@procrastinationcoach.

 

Subscribe to receive Procrastination Coach posts in your inbox and get your free 5-part guide ~"The Procrastination Coach Road Map: How to Examine What is Blocking You from Being Productive"

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    Why Do Procrastinators Suffer?

    Let's not suffer,shall we-I hesitated to use the word “suffer” in the title for fear of turning everyone who might read this post away.

    However, I think it is important for me to address ALL issues relevant to Procrastinators and not just the cute ones.

    In my experience, Procrastinators, myself included, associate a feeling of suffering with doing work.  The project due on Friday won’t be done until we face the ugly feelings that work can bring:

    • uncertainty
    • fear
    • frustration
    • feeling unprepared
    • feeling unknowledgeable
    • feeling unready

    It makes sense that we would begin to associate work with dread and dread with work. We are too smart to walk towards activities that cause us to feel dread, and so we walk away.  Or if you are like me, you run away as fast as you can.

    That, my dear friends, is where the suffering comes in.  We start out feeling relieved, but then find ourselves going in two different directions at once — thinking about the work we left behind while trying to do something else going forward.  The longer we stay away from our work, the more vulnerable we are to self-attacking thoughts, feelings of embarrassment, and lots of other negative experiences.  We turn away from those around us, and suffer privately, and seemingly constantly.

    Let’s not suffer anymore, shall we?

    Take a look at your own emotional signals.  Are they firing like crazy when you think about doing work?  Are you in emotional overdrive every time you walk into your office or drive to work or open your notebook?

    There really is no need to be in emotional chaos just because you have work to do.  You can focus and be productive and make changes without feeling burdened.

    Work does require the work feeling, a feeling that tends to be heavier than the kind which comes when we are headed to get ice cream.  But we need to learn to tolerate that initial rush of frustration, fear, or dread.  It’s just your body gearing up.  You don’t run out of your car at the sound of the engine revving up, even though it’s a loud noise.  When we run away from our cars, it becomes extremely difficult to drive.  Don’t run away the next time you need to start up your work.  Try it today.  Figure out your destination and start heading there.

    Nobody wants you to suffer.  Especially me.  Now go and have yourself a great day.

    News to Share:

    1.  I recently started the Procrastination Coach Facebook Group.  A small group of people interested in working towards greater calm and productivity and I are co-figuring out how the group will grow and feel.  If you are interested in being a pioneer member, please send me a request to join here.

    P2PFeb

    2.  The next round of the Procrastination to Productivity program will start on February 1, 2016.  Consider joining this program if you have been struggling with Procrastination and think you would benefit from having a group and on-line system for establishing accountability in your life.  I’m proud to be offering this program, as it combines community, lessons, support, and opportunities for growth in a simple, manageable format. If you would like to read more about what this program entail, please go here.  If you are ready to sign up now, please follow this link.

    Subscribe to receive Procrastination Coach posts in your inbox and get your free 5-part guide ~"The Procrastination Coach Road Map: How to Examine What is Blocking You from Being Productive"

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      One Quirky Thing about Procrastinators

      2016 Goals

      I have been wanting to write this post for years.

      You see, every time I meet a Procrastinator in my office (or on a coaching call), I spend the first session getting to know my new client by interviewing them about their personal history and their current difficulties.  Oftentimes, before the end of the first session, I will assist the client to design something they can accomplish before we meet again in a week.  I take care not to overwhelm with large assignments or daunting tasks.  This is just a get-to-know-you kind of exercise.

      What happens in the next session is something that never fails to fascinate me.

      Almost invariably, the client will come in, looking and sounding dejected.  I will listen to the client admit to not getting the task accomplished and I will see how badly the client feels to be in this position.

      Here’s what’s so fascinating though.

      Almost invariably, I will listen more closely for the real story. What is the real story?  The real story is the client benefited from disclosing their history and current problems to someone else.  The story continues that the client goes home, back to real life, and does something very different: the client makes a change away from Procrastination.  Most new clients actually do a good amount of the challenge that was assigned to them in the first session.  But the interesting thing is, they fail to see their progress as progress. Even though they made real progress, they do not see or report it as such.

      So here are the takeaways I’ve learned:

      Procrastinators are mired in a negative way of looking at themselves and use negatively-tinged language to describe what they have and have not done.  This negative outlook causes Procrastinators to feel down persistently.  Procrastinators, over time, become unable to break the chain of sadness that comes with not moving forward and then find themselves completely stuck.

      And here’s the lesson I give back to my clients:

      I get to point out the reality that they cannot refute — they are fully capable of changing their behaviors as they please, but only if they realize how powerful they themselves really are.  I get to be a kind of translator for their experience.  I get to be excited for them.

      And here’s the lesson for you, Dear Reader:

      It is not important the size of the change that you are wanting to make, but it is very important that you take steps to make a change and to acknowledge it for what it represents.  You may need someone else’s help in this change process, but that is okay. You will be able to manage that process too.  You may need to write down the steps you take.  That is okay too.  This is the exact time of year to get a fresh notebook to track your growth and change.

      Whatever you need to do, go do it.  I know you are capable of making that real story unfold.

      Happy New Year Friends and thank you for continuing to follow my trail of thought crumbs here at Procrastination Coach.  I’m looking forward to good times with you this year.

      News to Share:

      I’ve decided to start a Facebook community for everyone interested in recovering from Procrastination.  I’m excited about this opportunity to get to know you better and to provide a space for you to get to know each other too.  If you are interested in joining, please go to The Procrastination Coach Facebook Group.  

      Subscribe to receive Procrastination Coach posts in your inbox and get your free 5-part guide ~"The Procrastination Coach Road Map: How to Examine What is Blocking You from Being Productive"

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        8 End-of-Year Maneuvers for Procrastinators

        FLOURISH

        I don’t know about you, but the end of the year has me cleaning.  As in wiping, dusting, tossing, and fixing up my surroundings at home and at work.  It’s a way to admit to myself that I get a bit stymied by the thought of the year ending.  It’s also a way to keep myself from living with dirt and grime #ewwww.

        Thinking that I might not be the only person on the planet who gets twerked up at the end of the year, I thought I would lend you a hand.  I’ve already got a handwritten manifesto of how I’m going to declutter three rooms in my house, so I’m good.  Now here’s looking at you…

        8 End-of-Year Maneuvers for Procrastinators

        1.  Connect with someone you love and have been meaning to reach out to.  Someone who has recently experienced loss?  Someone who moved away?  A teacher who was fantastic?  A newspaper deliverer, bus driver, or post office person? Your barista guy or gal?

        2.  Say no to excess stuff, meetings, and projects.  There will be time in the future for more.  For now, take advantage of having the opportunity to create a schedule with less. Less of everything.  It will be okay.

        3.  Dump anything unnecessary from your life.  If it isn’t working for you, leave it.  If it blocks or drains your energy, say “Goodbye.”  Toss the clutter and feel lighter and refreshed immediately.

        4.  Do one thing that promotes your health.  Make it a habit to floss daily.  Eat some more vegetables each day.  Get outside more.  I tell you, the app on my phone that tracks my steps during the day may have already added another year to my life.

        5.  Set something up to look forward to.  I used to be terrible at this, and I still have much room to improve in this area.  It’s the planning, people.  Figure out a day, a long weekend, a vacation week coming up that you’d like to plan out.  Do a quick Google search for some ideas, discuss options with your loved ones, and schedule it.  Go ahead and lock it down. Enjoy the good feelings that come with knowing fun lies ahead, long before the actual date comes around.

        6.  Complete something you have been procrastinating on by the end of the year. Let someone else know about your plans, before and after they are completed. Don’t walk into 2016 with extra baggage.  Get done what needs to get done. You still have a number of days left.  You can do it.  Do a little piece of it each day and log your progress. Make the end of this year your absolute deadline.  Why?  If you ask me, I wouldn’t say because the New Year is a big deal.  It’s not.  But your Procrastination is, and you can take steps to get rid of it today.

        7.  Pick a word to guide you in the upcoming year.  My word is FLOURISH.  It’s a word that came to me when I was thinking of words to guide my next year.  The dictionary definition makes the word sound awesome.  Flourishing involves 1) growing luxuriantly, 2) achieving success, 3) being in a state of activity or production, and 4) to reach a height of development or influence.  Well, why the hell not?  I just wish my word for my 2016 year didn’t have FLOUR in it #glutenfreegirl.

        8.  Design a vision board for what you are hoping to accomplish and to receive in 2016.  Please don’t get nervous about this one.  You don’t have to be creative to get this task done.  Take a moment to envision what you would like for yourself next year. Health? Wealth?  Ease?  Friendship?  Productivity?  Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to keep your eyes on your goal.  I read something this morning that indicates we do all sorts of things, like exercise, to get to our intended goals.  Why not expand this exercise to encompass our larger aims?  It’s not silly at all.  It’s setting our intentions.  Write and doodle your goals down, and then keep that vision board posted near your workspace.  If you’d like inspiration for your vision board, check out Diane Bleck’s tutorial here.

        News to share:

        P2P

        I will be hosting the Procrastination to Productivity course again, starting January 4, 2016. It’s a 28-day program complete with an action guide, live webinars with me, and an on-line system for logging your progress daily and for interacting with me and other members of the program.  I hope to see you there in just a few days!  If you would like more information on the course, please read this. Bonus: Early bird sign ups receive a $10 discount!

         

        Subscribe to receive Procrastination Coach posts in your inbox and get your free 5-part guide ~"The Procrastination Coach Road Map: How to Examine What is Blocking You from Being Productive"

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          7 Ways to Get More Comfortable Taking More Risks

          Procrastination is a very elaborate way to prevent ourselves from taking risks.  We get trapped in our fearful thinking.  We obsess about everything that could go wrong and everything that already is wrong.  We imagine how humiliated we might end up feeling. We decide we aren’t prepared enough, strong enough, or smart enough to even think of trying something that’s new or important.  Even if that new or important action might change our lives for the better.

          Because Procrastination can be so dangerous to our well-being in this way, I decided to suggest ways to encourage you to take more risks.  Here are some of the ideas I have:

          1.  Stress less.  Focus more.  Since our negative, catastrophic thinking tends to keep us from moving forward, let’s not focus on those thoughts.  Let’s instead turn them right around.  Let’s think about what could go right.  Let’s think about how much freer we will feel.  Let’s think about crossing lots of things off that life’s to do list.  Let’s imagine the sky is the limit, because it really is.  Once we have unburdened ourselves of that heavy, negative, pessimistic thinking, we actually will gain the advantage of having greater focus when we do take action, and that will help us to keep moving in a forward direction.

          2.  Choose your actions based on how much impact they can have.  Instead of proceeding inch by inch, envision how you might arrange your behaviors so they have larger impact.  As a simple example, instead of decluttering one magazine issue at a time, decide to toss all the back issues and consider cancelling the subscription to the magazine so you don’t have to deal with unread clutter of this kind ever again.  Small actions take energy just as big actions do, so I figure it’s better to go big if you are going to go at all.

          3.  Revolutionize things.  If your past behaviors have not brought you to a happy place, change the way you do things.  Consider changing the entire process.  If you think about it, there are really almost no rules you really have to abide by.  As I was taught when I was in training to become a psychologist, you need to show up on time, pay on time, and not do anything violent.  I figure those are pretty good life rules.  Everything else is up to you to design.  Again, if it’s not working, fix it.  You can do this.

          4.  Accept that you are in charge.  Procrastination grows when we act in passive ways. Procrastination is like mold.  If you don’t take care of it, it just takes over.  The next time you have to make a decision, be mindful of whether you are acting with an active mindset or a passive one and then act accordingly.  Don’t live with the mold.

          5.  Complete every loop that you are in, no matter how painful, awkward, or difficult.  For so many of us, just finishing something is the equivalent of taking a risk.  So figure out what is waiting for you, and take care of that business.  Face your fears, face your frustrations too.  And by the way, don’t think that completing loops always means extra work.  See if there are open loops in your life that you can close by letting go of them, by deciding that these loops are not worth your time and attention any more.

          6.  Don’t fuss and perfect things anymore.  This category too is the equivalent of taking a risk for many of us.  We get stymied when we feel we can’t release our grip on work that might be less than perfect.  We end up feeling like we are suffocating from the pressure of needing to have everything be just so.  What’s the answer to this type of stress?  Catch and release.  Catch and release.  Catch and release.

          7.  Loosen up and let other people in.  When we stress too much about how we are or are not doing things, we forget how important the people in our lives are to us.  Since we feel too strung out to have fun, we decide we can’t have fun.  Since we feel behind in every area, we decide we don’t deserve to have happy, well-working relationships.  That is just hogwash, so connect with someone you need to connect with today.  Life’s greatest rewards come when we allow ourselves to take good risks in our relationships.

          What inspired this post?  Some of the inspiration came from the fact that I took the leap to be on Periscope, the live streaming app.  Here’s a sample of what I’ve been doing there:

          I took a risk to show up on Periscope and I’m hoping it will help me to spread the messages I have about recovering from Procrastination.  Once I decided I was okay with taking the risk, the opportunities Periscope provides opened right up.  It was yet another lesson that fussing doesn’t get us very far, but action really does.  I invite you to follow me on Periscope — I’m Procrastination Coach there too.

          Let me know what risks you’re up for taking.  I’m with you all the way.

           

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            Let’s Try to Avoid the Tendency to Think SMALL

            See what you can announce to the world.As a psychologist, I’m able to see patterns in the types of topics my patients talk about. They often resemble what I see within my own life, but since I’m intently focused when I’m working, I tend to see these types of patterns more clearly when I’m at work.

            One pattern I consistently see is the tendency to think small.  I mention this pattern here, because I think this pattern of thinking small is particularly appealing to Procrastinators. Procrastinators think small in many ways, such as believing their actions won’t make a difference or that their efforts won’t get them far.

            We fall into the trap of thinking small because it seems to provide us with a sense of security.  What do I mean?  I mean the security of:

            • making sure we don’t hurt someone else’s feelings
            • thinking we have everything under control
            • believing we’ve taken on just enough for us to handle
            • being able to predict the benefits we’ll gain from a small win
            • avoiding being emotionally overwhelmed by our teeny, tiny goal

            I wouldn’t be saying “boo” about this topic, except that I also notice the people who tend to think small, also happen to be sitting on huge talent and possibilities.  They work dutifully for other people, but try to make themselves invisible.  They have great, creative ideas for change, but they don’t believe they have the authority to voice them or to play a part in making that change happen.  They put aside their own projects and ambitions in order to distance themselves from feeling and being BIG.

            Perhaps there’s a feeling that may be better than having a sense of security, when that security is based on something that is too small for us?

            So here’s are some challenges for you, dear readers, to help you go BIG.  See what you can play up this week.  Can you put 10% more of yourself in your next presentation?Your next essay?  Your next hug?  See if you can ignore the thought that seems to hold you back.  Can you proceed as if everyone around you will be accepting of what you have to bring?  See what you can announce to the world.  Will you launch a blog? Start a new club?  Will you stand up for yourself the next time someone makes an unwelcome comment?  Will you develop better eye contact, handshake grip, and confidence in the short space of one day?  What did you have in mind even before you read this post?  Do that.

            What tricks do you have up your sleeve?  I’d love to hear about them.  Please write to me with your thoughts, reactions, and experiments relating to this idea of not thinking small anymore.  I’m looking forward to reading about them.

            Subscribe to receive Procrastination Coach posts in your inbox and get your free 5-part guide ~"The Procrastination Coach Road Map: How to Examine What is Blocking You from Being Productive"

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              Stop Trying to Be Impressive and Discover How You Really Stand Out

              Stop Trying to Be Impressive

              In so many ways, the experience of making it to adulthood involves a constant stream of needing to impress others and to perform to others’ standards.  And that is just what’s involved in getting a proper education.  Add the need to dress fashionably, to speak without making errors or saying “um,” and to be in just the right mind frame, job, and sports utility vehicle, and you have the recipe for an unwieldy impressiveness machine.

              The constant monitoring of how impressive we need to be drains our personal resources — our time, our bank accounts, our energy, and sometimes, quite unfortunately, our self-esteem. The problem with trying to be impressive is we get pulled away from who we really are — and then we get pulled away from our real strengths.  It’s ironic, I know.  Not only is it ironic, it is also often futile, because being impressive is a state that needs to be constantly maintained.  Here’s why:

              • people’s views change
              • there will always be an endless supply of new people to impress
              • we’ll need to work harder and harder to make the money to keep up with our impressive habits
              • we’ll be wasting a lot of time “fixing” ourselves up
              • we’ll likely end up feeling insecure anyway

              We can get stymied in our work because of our underlying wish to be impressive.  We get lost trying to figure out how to say something instead of deciding what we need to say.  In order to circumvent that, I suggest connecting with the idea that completing what we set out to do is noteworthy in itself.  Show yourself and others you can handle things.  Make that the goal for now as you develop a better sense of who you are, without the need to be impressive to others.  When you are not as concerned about who is looking, you end up doing more focused, higher quality work anyhow.

              Take a few minutes and think for yourself, what would you want to do to your fullest? What chance would you like to take to see what might happen?  What could you do or change in order to make yourself feel bigger, stronger, calmer, abler, or more you?

              There will always be the temptation to want to be impressive to others.  And of course, there are wonderful versions of this, like expressions of love and generosity, and displays of pure talent and great humor.  I encourage you to find what you need to focus on for yourself, in order to have your brightness be at its glowing best.  What a lasting impression that will be.

              News to Share:

              P2PI’m gearing up for the next round of the Procrastination to Productivity Program, which starts Monday, November 9th.  If you are interested in receiving 28 days of support for your Procrastination recovery, complete with live chats, small-group support, and a daily on-line accountability system, please read more about the Program here.  If you use the coupon code EARLY by midnight tonight, November 3rd, you’ll receive a $10 discount off the full price of the Program.

              Subscribe to receive Procrastination Coach posts in your inbox and get your free 5-part guide ~"The Procrastination Coach Road Map: How to Examine What is Blocking You from Being Productive"

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                7 Tips to Help You Become a Master Scheduler

                7 Tips on How toBecome a Master SchedulerAll of us have limited resources: limited energy, limited brainpower, limited willpower, and limited time over the course of one day.  When we have multiple activities we’d like to get to in one day, leaving the schedule up to chance is a recipe for having our intentions go unfulfilled.

                Give yourself a much better chance of feeling satisfied at the end of each day by training yourself to be a master scheduler.  No, you don’t have to micromanage everything to do this.  You just need to take an honest look at your own plans and engineer them so you can be sure to make them happen.

                Here are 7 suggestions for becoming a master scheduler:

                Invest the extra time to do proper schedule planning.  It may be as little as 7 minutes or as much as 45 minutes, but whatever amount of time you need to organize your schedule will pay off when you execute your plan.  Knowing where you are headed will enable you to invest your energy into making the plan happen. You won’t be wasting your willpower and mental energy constantly figuring out where to invest your attention throughout the day.

                Ruthlessly eliminate unnecessary items on your schedule.  Gradually get rid of the tasks and activities that drag you down and make your free time seem to disappear. Decide what you want to focus your heart and mind on, and head in that direction instead of to the mall or to the black hole that is the internet.

                Make sure to pre-plan what is necessary in your schedule.  One example of this is your meals.  So many people make the mistake of skipping breakfast, arguably the most important meal of the day, in order to feel like they are maximizing their time. Schedule in your meals and your exercise and any routine appointments to make sure you keep yourself in top form.  And remember — never skip breakfast!

                Tightly limit how much time you allot to your projects.  Don’t throw time at your projects.  Instead, estimate how much time you will need and allow yourself just enough time, no more.  This way you’ll be more inclined to push yourself towards the finish line, saving yourself time in the process.

                Schedule in significant breaks between periods of work.  When we work for hours on end our creativity and productivity wane.  Allow yourself a proper break whenever you are intensely focused or involved in medium-to-high-stress activity. Determine how long you want your break to be ahead of time, in order to protect yourself from turning your break into unnecessary Procrastination.

                Clearly differentiate between work time and play time.  This is an area that chronic Procrastinators have difficulty with.  When we Procrastinate, we end up thinking about work when we are playing, and being mentally checked out when we are supposed to be working.  Being able to separate work time and play time is a skill that can be learned over time.  Try to start putting it into practice by scheduling your time more wisely today and throughout the upcoming week.

                Balance heavy and light.  Be aware of busier days and make sure you schedule lighter days around them.  This will prevent you from burning out and will increase your chances of making it through the week with some energy left over.  Weekends will be that much more joyful as a result.

                There are many more tips on scheduling to share, but if you stick to the ones listed here, you’ll be well on your way towards having more time for your work and for the rest of your life.  Use the extra time you have to build a better week ahead and of course, towards a brighter future.

                News to Share

                P2P

                I’m happy to report the Procrastination to Productivity Program has started off with a bang! Program members are enjoying the on-line accountability system and the camaraderie of being part of a group. It has been a pleasure for me to watch as their productivity and mood levels rise.  If you’re interested in learning about the next 28-day session of the Program, please read more here.

                 

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                  How Have You Been Lying Lately?

                  -...telling lies, even small ones,jolts us our of alignment with ourselves.- (1)I think it’s about time I wrote about lying.  It’s such an important topic in the sphere of Procrastination.  There are so many different types of lying, I could categorize and describe them all day.  But since none of us has all day for that, I will just talk about a few.

                  1.  Lying to others

                  This is the most broad category of lying, I suppose.  I remember learning in my Developmental Psychology class that lying starts to kick in at around age 7.  Being able to tell lies about what is real is a powerful tool in navigating everyday life.  It gets dangerous however, when we feel we need to rely on small (or large) lies in order to just get through the day.  The lies seem to have more power over us than we do over the lies. Not good. Not healthy.  Very distracting.

                  2.  Lying about time

                  I think I may do this type of lying just about every single day.  Maybe multiple times a day.

                  • “This will only take 10 minutes.”
                  • “I have enough time to finish.”
                  • “She won’t care if I’m late again, since she knows how stressed out I am.”
                  • “I will start the project when the time is right.”

                  You know the drill.

                  3.  Lying about what we are doing

                  This type of lying is for the dribblers and the drabblers, the dibblers and the dabblers.  We are good at dithering and frittering time away, but not very honest with ourselves about what we are doing to our productivity, our actual time, and our self-esteem when we lie to ourselves and believe that we are being substantially productive when we are not.

                  4.  Lying just to feel like we have some control over the situation at hand

                  Sometimes we impulsively lie to fix some part of our self-image in the presence of another person we want love or respect from.

                  • “No, I don’t mind.”
                  • “I’m totally ready to handle that.”
                  • “I’d love to see you today.”
                  • “I have time to help out.”

                  When we do this type of lying we end up weakening our own willpower.  We tell untruths and then feel twisted up about what we’ve said. It’s just how are bodies and minds are — they like to be in alignment, and telling lies, even small ones, jolts us out of alignment with ourselves.

                  To demonstrate how lying can operate, I will tell you about this very blog post.

                  After my summer vacation, which was a good one thank you, I felt rested, relaxed, and ready to get back to blogging weekly like I had been doing prior to vacation.  Then one week went by, and another, and another.  I told myself, “This is going to be easy.”  I told friends, “I’ve got to write a post.”  I spent quite a bit of time sifting through different blog titles and subject matter in my head.

                  Finally, today, I had had enough of the useless chatter inside my head about the fictional blog post.  I had a few minutes and I just started banging away at the keyboard, releasing the pent up energy I had been keeping trapped by lying to myself.  I do feel a lot better, even though I haven’t even finished writing.

                  If you are in the habit of lying to get out of sticky situations, or because you feel stuck in some way all the time, I hope this post helps you to be more aware of your actions.  I also hope that extra awareness enables you to try speaking truthfully for awhile, just to see how differently you might feel.  Both lying and telling the truth are charged with energy, but when we learn to tell the truth consistently, we are able to function with much more clarity than when we depend on lies to get us through.

                  News to Share:

                  Although I have not been blogging, I have been very busy.  I have been designing my next offering for Procrastination Coach readers and anyone else who might be struggling to get out from under their Procrastination habits.

                   

                  My new program is called Procrastination to Productivity.  It’s a 28-day program to teach Procrastinators how to regain their energy for making good on their word, for doing the activities they really need and want to be doing, and for feeling creative and capable.

                  What is unusual about this program is it has an accountability component built in to the program.  When you register for the program, you will be entered into a small group of other registrants and you will go through the program together.  You will receive feedback on your daily progress from me and the other group members, and you will be able to offer support and feedback to your fellow members as well.

                  If you would like to hear more about the program or if you are ready to join, please visit this detailed preview of it.  If you have any questions about the program, please write to me at procrastinationcoach@gmail.com.

                   

                  Subscribe to receive Procrastination Coach posts in your inbox and get your free 5-part guide ~"The Procrastination Coach Road Map: How to Examine What is Blocking You from Being Productive"

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                    How to Empower Yourself by Identifying Your Internal Conflicts

                    ConflictWhy should I put myself out there?

                    In some ways, Procrastinators are really really smart.  They know what’s up when they say to themselves – “If no one is looking, why should I put myself out there?”  After all, if we don’t put ourselves out there, then:

                    • time stands still
                    • we get to feel comfortable
                    • we get to avoid what we are afraid of
                    • no one will no how we are feeling
                    • we won’t have to feel embarrassed
                    • life will just proceed as usual
                    • we won’t have to deal with the stress of handling new challenges
                    • we won’t have to discover new things about ourselves, including areas in which we are weak
                    • we won’t have to exert ourselves

                    Writing this makes me think of what striving actors must go through.  Going to audition after audition, many of which may not be ideal, and going all in.  Performing with as much unleashed within themselves as they can manage.  Some may even have performance anxiety or stage fright, but audition after audition, they go forward.

                    What is it about actors that cause them to bypass their own anxiety to move forward?  Do they not have self-doubt?  Do they not fear rejection and failure?  Hmm.  My guess is, actors have figured out a way to perform even as they experience feelings of conflict.

                    Let’s get back to talking about Procrastinators.  Procrastinators feel they need to shut down functioning once they decide they have reached the end of their safety zone. They are no longer willing to move forward, no matter how important the task is to them, no matter how prepared they might be, and no matter how much they may or may not want to succeed.  Interesting.

                    Investigate what is the point at which you stop.  Is it:

                    • when you’re asked to provide your personal opinion?
                    • when you’re asked to be personal?
                    • when you’re asked to express feelings?
                    • when you are asked to state facts?
                    • when you feel you need to be perfect?
                    • when you feel you need to provide the right information?
                    • when you sense someone is depending on you?
                    • when you feel your status or stability might be in jeopardy?
                    • when you feel moving forward might launch you into adult-type troubles?
                    • when you believe you are not skilled enough to move forward?

                    There are more types of conflicts than I could ever begin to list fully.  And of course, your conflicts will be very different than my own.  You want to know mine?  My conflicts include:

                    • feeling too unimportant to be the main actor in any given situation
                    • feeling doubtful of my capacity to be successful
                    • feeling like I’m not knowledgeable
                    • feeling like I’ll be troubling other people if I need something from someone else
                    • feeling like other people won’t understand what I need

                    Procrastinators turn away from looking squarely at their internal conflicts and instead, believe their conflict resides just within their work.  Now that seems silly to me after doing twenty years of work coaching Procrastinators.  This is silly because never in twenty years has it been just about the work.

                    When we get stuck, we feel we need to blame something, and it’s nice and tidy to blame the blank page on our desk or computer.  That blank page is so perfect and innocent, and it doesn’t ever yell back or tell you you’re sadly mistaken.

                    Does this mean we need to rid ourselves of our conflicts?  Though it may help to reduce the power of our internal conflicts, we will probably never be totally clear of them.  After all, they help to make us who we are.  We are human, flaws and all.  What may be more helpful is reminding ourselves — through our actions — that we can proceed with our lives in spite of our conflicts.  We can have full range of motion when we stop allowing our internal hangups to hang us up.

                    Getting Ourselves to Act

                    The following is a short list of some techniques to help you get yourself to act, even when you feel burdened by internal conflict:

                    1. Do the tiniest bit on the first day.  Repeat this the second day.  Gradually increase the amount you can work each day thereafter.
                    2. Write down the conflict that is holding you back.  Then write down five reasons why you should not pay attention to the fear that conflict generates.  Then do Step 1.
                    3. Remind yourself of the multiple benefits of going through with your task.  You’ll be happier.  You’ll be more satisfied.  You’ll be rid of your feelings of dread.  Then do Step 1.
                    4. Let someone know you’re ready to work.  Tell a person or a group of people that you’ll be done with your project by next week.  You can even let them know that you are conflicted about it, in order to release the energy you have trapped by not working.  Then do Step 1.
                    5. Remove the distractions which destroy your focus.  Create a working “zone” where all you can focus on is your one piece of work.  Then do Step 1.

                    You do not need to be perfect to get things done.  You do not have to be organized to get things done.  You do not need to be in the right mind frame to get things done.  Get used to working on the fly, in between appointments, without overthinking.  Gradually get rid of the feeling of struggle that tends to get paired with work.  Step by step you’ll move past your areas of conflict, and you’ll get there.

                    Do I have it totally wrong about actors?  #onamissiontoproveI’mnotknowledgeable  Do you experience areas of conflict which seem too large to shake?  Do you have tricks of your own to be productive even when you are feeling in conflict?  Please share here if you feel comfortable doing so.  And remember to follow me on Twitter@ChristineLiPhD because I love it over there.

                    Subscribe to receive Procrastination Coach posts in your inbox and get your free 5-part guide ~"The Procrastination Coach Road Map: How to Examine What is Blocking You from Being Productive"

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