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.

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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


      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.

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            On the Importance of Developing Compassion for Yourself (a.k.a. Life without the Jackhammer)


            This week I found myself going around in circles creatively, and not in a good way.  I had just finished a few major projects, including wrapping up teaching my on-line course, Open to the Possibilities.  I was left with a little more time on my hands, and nothing that was urgent or pressing on my plate.

            That should have felt good, or at least okay, but since I have been in recovery from chronic Procrastination, I am loathe to waste any free time I might have.  It’s not that I don’t rest — I do.  I just really like to be productive when I have the space to do so.

            My going around in circles probably had something to do with my not knowing what I wanted to focus on next.  Should I offer the course again?  Should I write some more? Should I explore making some instructional videos and let it all hang out on YouTube? Should I just sign up for belly dancing class instead? #serious

            Instead of feeling free to explore, I felt like a bit of a flattened out mess.

            Then today, I made peace with that reality and I regrouped.  I decided although the first half of the day had been “lost,” that didn’t mean the second half had to be too.  I opened up a blank page on the computer and started typing up a quick chart of what I wanted to get done in the rest of the day, without moaning or groaning.  And by the end of the day, I was on my way towards greater activity and effectiveness again.

            In case you are in a period of going around in circles, I’ve put together a quick list of suggestions for you to try in order for you to develop a sense of compassion for yourself:

            • pause
            • meditate for five minutes
            • take deep breaths through your diaphragm (put your hand on your belly — breathe so you can see your hand moving instead of your chest heaving)
            • remind yourself everything including what you are going through is temporary and transient
            • figure out what part of your situation is actually enjoyable or the start of something good
            • decide for yourself that you can break away from the state you have been caught in
            • call or text someone just to let the stress out

            You could also take a different path.  You could decide to take a tornado’s way out of things.  Blitz through all that is in front of you.  Make all the decisions.  Send all the texts. Plan out the next two weeks.  Whatever your needs call for.  Or you can just decide to resume as usual, but without the burden of having to carry your jackhammer around all day long.

            What jackhammer?  Oh, the one you’ve been working with.  The inner voice that beats you up when you are not productive and the one you don’t need to keep in your toolkit anymore.

            What’s in your compassion toolkit?  What helps you to cope with periods of low-to-no productivity?  I look forward to hearing from you.  Please remember to follow me on Twitter@ChristineLiPhD for more insights into breaking free of Procrastination and zooming around the rest of your life.

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              How to Develop a New Habit and to Break Old Ones (with a Free Download)

              Habit Tracker

              Repetition is your friend.  Repetition allows you to get comfortable.  It allows you to feel at ease in your performance.  It allows you to preserve your mental space for more complex matters you need to concentrate on. But sometimes, being able to repeat certain behaviors seems to be a very hard thing to accomplish.  There are many reasons for this:

              • we forget
              • we get busy
              • we get distracted
              • we lose faith in our ability to keep our behavior on track
              • we get bored when we think of the idea of having a “routine”
              • the excitement wears off

              One habit that has been supremely hard for me to develop is meditating in the morning. We’re talking years of on-and-off “trying” to meditate.

              I decided to design a printout for myself to keep track of what I was and was not doing for the last week in July.  This printout was meant to satisfy my desire to put pen to paper and to “see” what I was really up to.  I listed four activities, including meditating, that I was interested in remembering to do on a daily basis and one activity that I wanted to remember to avoid.

              The habit tracker sheet allowed me to wake up the next day feeling no resistance to the idea of meditating.  My mind was already primed to think I was going to meditate.  I had made a plan and I was going to check off that box no matter what.  I learned it didn’t really have to be a do-or-die kind of situation.  I just meditated.  And that felt slightly better than staring at my meditation pillow and running a few circles around it like I usually do.

              Why don’t you try tracking your habits too?  If you are game, print out the August Habit Tracker Sheet that I have made for you to use.  My suggestions for using the August Habit Tracker Sheet are as follows:

              1. Limit yourself to five habits that you would like to work on.  Getting overwhelmed never helped anyone make good changes.

              2.  Enter three tasks that you would not want to forget to do on a daily basis.

              3.  Enter one new habit that you would like to try to be consistent with, e.g. meditation, walking in the morning, writing down ten ideas for your business, reading for twenty minutes.

              4.  Enter one old habit that you would like to avoid doing, e.g. eating sugary foods, random apologizing, impulse buying.

              5.  Have fun filling in your daily boxes.  Do it your way.  You could circle the number in the box, x it out, fill it in, color it in, or make a check mark.  Go crazy.

              6.  Feel the flow of your new habits start to take hold.  Stick with the August Habit Tracker Sheet and keep going.  Realize that you are stimulating the broader habit of completing what you set out to do.

              Bonus Tip: Take a peek at the beautiful daily artistic habits of my friends Crystal Moody and Corinna Jaeger. You’ll be impressed by their gorgeous creative work and by their personal reflections on the ups and downs of forming meaningful habits.  Enjoy.

              Have you developed any systems of your own for keeping yourself on track?  I’d love to hear about them.  If you enjoyed this post, please share it with those you love and/or follow me on Twitter for more ideas on how to get past Procrastination in your life.

              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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                Let’s Get Rid of the Most Potent Factor Causing You to Procrastinate


                Let’s try to figure out what’s getting in your way.

                Why can’t you finish what you’ve started?

                Why do your ideas never see the light of day?

                Why can’t you introduce yourself to that cute new neighbor of yours?

                Why is your workspace a cluttered mess?

                Here’s my opinion for the day: you are overburdened by self-doubt.  Self-doubt tells us:

                • we should not try
                • we should not defend ourselves
                • we should not stand up for ourselves
                • we should keep the things as they are as best as we can because it is what we know
                • no one will listen
                • it’s not ready
                • I’m not ready
                • it’s not good enough
                • I’m not good enough
                • it’s ridiculous
                • it’ll take too long
                • it’ll be too hard
                • there’s not enough time
                • take your time
                • hiding out is a better option that showing up
                • we can never change
                • we can never grow
                • we can never be our full, operational selves

                Wow.  Self-doubt is a kicker.  It kicks our motivation, and sometimes even our inspiration, to the curb.  It makes us believe we were never really that motivated in the first place.

                In case you haven’t had your share of healthy nutrients today, here’s some powerful juice for killing your self-doubt:

                You are more capable than you can even imagine.

                You have more potential for action than you could ever use in a lifetime.

                You can change your pattern of doing things within the next hour.

                You are in charge of yourself and the thoughts you allow yourself to listen to.  You do not have to listen to trash talk and lies about yourself anymore.

                You are the best person for changing things in the right direction for you.  You do not have to rely on anyone else and you do not have to fear anyone else any longer.

                Self-doubt is mental and emotional clutter.  It can get out of control very quickly and very easily.  It can take up so much of your time that it really does feel like there is no time left to work.  The truth of the matter is you do have the time, but you will not have the emotional energy and mental fortitude to do your work if you are burdened by the clutter of self-doubt.

                Do one thing today to prove to yourself your own capacity for action and change.  And then repeat this action over and over again until your self-doubt is gone.  Best wishes to you.

                Today’s post is lovingly dedicated to the members of the Open to the Possibilities Group who have bravely faced their personal blocks and self-doubt in order to make breakthroughs in their battle against Procrastination.  Today’s post is also dedicated to my neighbor Michele, who has given me kind encouragement to keep my blogging efforts going strong.  




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                  There’s Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You

                  Your dissatisfaction can go now.There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.

                  I’ve been trying mightily to train myself to let things be.  This is harder than getting a Ph.D. in Psychology y’all since I managed that but still struggle with the other.

                  Many life moments have brought this important life step to my attention.  Facing loss, illness, stress, and unwelcome surprises.  Watching some people let things be so magically and watching others spend every spare second figuring out what to worry and stress out about next.  Wanting to get clearer on my own life’s purpose while also trying to reduce any sense of heaviness or burden in it.

                  Getting into this as a practice of daily living has been interesting so far.  I have tried to be more mindful of my approach.  Simplicity helps.  Limiting how much I worry helps. Believing everything will be alright helps.

                  There’s an essential anxiety about living.  Tension in every moment perhaps.  Fill it or let it be?  So many of us choose to fill, fill, fill.  Letting it be seems like a loser easy way out.

                  But there’s the rub.  We’ve been faked out.  We Procrastinators stop functioning because we get scared or frustrated or too busy or freaked out or bored or befuddled or apathetic. We respond to the moment by listening to our feelings about it rather than to the moment and what it calls for.

                  So here’s what I’ve been meaning to tell you.  You needn’t worry.  You needn’t struggle to find out the gazillion ways you know this moment doesn’t suit you or isn’t perfect.  Your dissatisfaction can go now.  It might leave slowly, but it can definitely go.  And you can handle what is in front of you.

                  And here’s something I’ve been telling everyone I can: listen to the James Altucher podcast, episode number 119 with Michael Singer — The Surrender Experiment.  It’s a great discussion of how to work the letting go and accepting mindset.  Enjoy.

                  What do you have difficulty accepting?  Which feelings prevent you from being okay with what is happening around you?  What can you decide to let go of?  Please share some thoughts with us here.  Best wishes to you today.  

                  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 the Procrastination Cycle Gets Underway (and How to Break It)


                    A Real Path

                    There are many paths by which simple Procrastination develops into a full-blown Procrastination Cycle.  Perhaps you know a few of them.

                    One avenue by which Procrastination takes hold is the absence of communication. When we are reluctant or unable to speak what is on our minds, we teach ourselves that only we can manage our own distress and that we are voiceless.

                    When we start to feel that way, our anxiety begins to escalate and then the stakes seem even bigger, because all of a sudden we become the only person responsible for the outcome of the work we are supposed to be doing.  As our anxiety begins to escalate, we feel confused about how to break away from it.  We begin to focus on calming our anxiety. This draws our focus away from our work.

                    As time goes on, we lose the connection between the start of the assignment and the end and we get very lost in the middle space.  We know exactly what needs to be done, can even think of it as being “easy,” but cannot push ourselves to get to the finish line.  The Procrastination Cycle drains our motivation and our spirit for doing our work.

                    How did we let ourselves get this way?  How did we allow this cycle of inefficiency and stress to take root?

                    Before you begin to answer these questions, please consider that you began your Procrastination Cycle in order to take care of something.  Perhaps you meant to:

                    • save someone the trouble of having to help
                    • spare someone the time that they would have needed to contribute
                    • act like a good kid, a good student, a good employee, a good patient, or a good spouse
                    • spare yourself the trouble of communicating to someone who wouldn’t be able to understand you or what you needed

                    Perhaps you were going to answer the questions above by responding “I am lazy.”  I want to stop you from doing that.  In all my years of doing this work, I have not found any Procrastinators to be lazy.  They are not lazy because they care, they are motivated, and they are invested.  They may be misunderstood as being lazy, but they are not actually lazy.  But they are trapped. Trapped in the seemingly never-ending cycle of stress-avoidance-stress-avoidance.

                    I believe whole-heartedly we all can break the Procrastination Cycle.  The good news is that all it takes is one behavior to break a cycle.  The not-so-easy news is we have to have the courage to change our ways.  We don’t just have to change our actions, we need to change the underlying beliefs we have which tend to keep the Procrastination Cycle in constant motion.

                    So if it is a lack of communication that keeps you stymied — communicate.

                    So if you feel you need to be a good ____________ all the time, assume you are always good and — communicate.

                    So if you think you need to protect someone else’s schedule, decide to let them decide for themselves what they’ll do and – communicate.

                    So if you want to unburden someone else of their chores, start focusing on your own burdens, ask someone for help and — communicate.

                    You’re really not going to break anyone by talking out loud.  Ever.  What you will get from talking out loud is a sense of what’s going on, how to feel, and how to get going on your way again.  You’ll know just how to get out of your Procrastination Cycle.  Find a real path to your own freedom and take it.

                    If you’d like to hear more tips and thoughts on Procrastination and how to break away from it, please consider signing up to receive regular blog posts from me.  You can also choose to join me on Twitter@ChristineLiPhD.  

                    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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