How to Protect Your Day from Needless Procrastination

Tips to avoid needless procrastination in your daily life

Since January of 2017, I have been working with several people in my Freedom from Procrastination Membership Program who are committed to eliminating needless procrastination from their lives.  It has been a pleasure for me to have this opportunity to teach this group how to protect themselves from the negative consequences that procrastination brings.

Whenever I work with procrastinators, I am reminded we each have unique ways of being productive and of getting blocked from being productive.  Types of productivity blocks can include:

  • feeling like you don’t have any more energy
  • feeling like someone else should be helping you more than they have been
  • feeling too embarrassed by past mistakes to start over
  • feeling like your current project will never end
  • telling yourself “What does it matter if it’s delayed one more day?”
  • deepening depression
  • feeling overwhelmed by the obligations of daily life
  • feeling like you are too far behind to ever make any real progress

To tell you the truth, I get a real kick out of doing this work.  I empathize with my clients easily because I have been there.  I have felt the overwhelm, the exhaustion, the shame, and the feeling of “it’s never-ending.”  But I also get to provide my clients with hope and strategies for a different way of living, both of which are important for protecting your day from your impulse to procrastinate.

I provide hope by sharing how I made changes, step-by-step, to shed the excess from my schedule, closet, and thought process.  I provide hope by talking about how calm I feel in comparison to how anxious I used to feel in the not-too-distant past.  I provide hope by creating a space where people can communicate openly and honestly about what is really going on.  

Hopefulness is only one part of the recovery process in working with procrastinators.  We need some real and reliable structures to help us move forward as we grow and change.

Some of the strategies I teach my clients include:

  1. Take action daily.  No matter what your purpose is, work on it every day.  Taking active action on a daily basis provides us progress and momentum.  When we stop for even one or two days, procrastination can step in and turn our opportunities to get things done into another week down the drain.
  2. Break your projects down into smaller tasks.  This is one of my favorite go-to tips for helping procrastinators, including myself.  When I’ve got a roomful of items to go through, i.e. my current kitchen cleanout project, I commit to clearing out and reorganizing a small section of the room each day.  My commitment to take care of two sets of kitchen cabinets a day is relatively small and therefore feels much more doable than trying to redo my entire kitchen in a single go.
  3. Give yourself an actual time limit.  When we have unstructured time, we can have more difficulty maintaining focus and direction.  Setting time limits for yourself can help you remain aware of time and move toward your goal more quickly.  Time pressure is a great motivator.
  4. Take a hard look at the costs of your procrastination.  Instead of letting more time go by, assess what you are losing when you procrastinate.  Not only do you lose time, but you lose self-confidence and opportunities to grow.  Don’t fool yourself into believing your procrastination won’t do you any harm.
  5. Set up an Emergency To Do List for when times feel really tough.  This list includes names of people to call, activities to do, and actions to avoid when you feel you’re about to go into a downward procrastination spiral — the kind where all of a sudden your whole day has been taken away by Netflix or some other form of mind-numbing distraction.

These techniques are great because they are simple and effective.  Find your creative flow again by putting them into action.

Never lose faith in your own potential and ability, no matter how stuck you might feel.  Your efforts to escape procrastination will be worth the time and energy you spend.  Living without the heavy burden of procrastination will lift your spirits, empower your mind, and boost your energy so you can live your life to the fullest.

If you feel you might need some support in implementing the techniques I just mentioned, please consider joining my group coaching program, where I show members how to live free from stress, anxiety, and needless procrastination.  You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can kick your procrastination out of your daily life.  For more details about the program, go to this page –> Freedom from Procrastination Membership Program.

Related reading: 5 Ways to Get Moving When You are Really Stuck

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

6 Ways to Make Sure Procrastination Stays Out of Your Life

How to keep procrastination out of your life

Procrastination is a sneaky foe.  If we don’t pay attention to its presence in our lives, procrastination will just end up taking more of our free time, attention, and energy.

Thankfully, there are many ways we can stop ourselves from relying on procrastination to get us out of a jam.  Here is a list of some of my favorite go-to tips:

1.  Understand that the work you do is not a direct reflection of your value as a human being.  When we believe our work somehow will tell the world how much we are or are not worthwhile, we tend to find ourselves stuck and stressed out.  Avoid making too big a deal of your work.  How could any piece of work reflect who you are as a human being anyway?

2.  Learn the importance of letting go.  If we feel that everything is important or meaningful, then we end up saddled with thoughts to worry about and too much clutter to bear.  Differentiate the important from the insignificant and put your focus where it needs to be.  Discard the rest.  You will feel okay once you start to let unimportant things go — it just takes some getting used to.

3.  Ignore feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment.  Procrastination tends to be our answer when we feel the negative feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment.  We worry how we’ll do when we’re about to speak in public, and then, lo and behold, we start to delay preparing for that speech.  It’s a vicious cycle which leaves us shaky and underprepared.  Fight the urge to run in the opposite direction of your work.  The next time you’ve got a speaking opportunity coming up, decide to focus on the quality of your speech and your delivery rather than how you’ll feel once you’re done.

4.  Write things down.  I’ve found that writing most things down gives me an edge over my tendency to procrastinate.  When I have notes scribbled, I feel more connected to the ideas or to the moment I was scribbling.  When I have a to-do list in front of me, I spend a lot less time needing to figure out what I am going to do next.  When I dutifully record notes and dates in my calendar, I avert missed opportunities and appointments and feel in control of my day.

5.  Track what you do.  Writing things down is a start, but actually tracking your activities and progress is an even more powerful way to make sure procrastination stays away.  I highly recommend using the Commit to 3 app to keep yourself moving towards your most important goals and for being honest with yourself about whether you’re really working or not.  You can use the free version of the Commit to 3 app on your own, but I recommend putting some skin in the game by upgrading to the paid version ($2.99 for one year, non-renewing) and being able to track your and a friend’s progress too.  A little friendly fun and accountability never hurt anyone!

6.  Work every day.  Procrastination doesn’t tend to hang around people who are working with a purpose every day.  And people who work with a purpose every day don’t tend to need procrastination so much.  Procrastination becomes a nuisance when you know what your priorities are, have a specific plan for achieving them, and work every day to make sure they get met.

Try any or all of the techniques above and you will likely find you’ve created some breathing room between you and your procrastination.  Take a step at a time and be patient with yourself.  Getting out from under the weight of procrastination is a gradual process of learning, healing, and self-discovery.  I know it will be worth it, and I know you can do it.

Interested in learning more tips to defeat procrastination?  Enroll in my Procrastination Coach Roadmap 5-day e-mail course to learn the exact tips, tools, and strategies that helped me kick the habit –>

  Click Here for Access to the Free 5-day E-mail Course

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

A Conversation about Procrastination and Creativity

I recently answered some podcast interview questions about the relationship between procrastination and creativity in a conversation with Rob Lawrence, host of the Inspirational Creatives podcast.  I wanted to share the conversation with you.  Rob is a wonderful podcast creator, thinker, and colleague.  Please give his Inspirational Creatives podcast a listen when you can.

A Conversation about Procrastination and Creativity with Rob Lawrence, host of the Inspirational Creatives Podcast and Christine Li, Procrastination Coach

Rob Lawrence

Rob Lawrence

Christine Li

 

Tell us more about yourself.  You’re a professional psychologist and procrastination coach: how did you arrive into this field of work?

I arrived into the field of psychology with a good bit of luck since I was really uninformed about the entire field and world of psychology after graduating from college.  After college, I had a job as a college admissions officer.  Through that job, I was able to interview and to speak with hundreds of teenagers eager to take their next step into college.  I was also able to sift through their life stories in their application essays.  It was through that process I realized I liked the subject of people’s lives and what they make of them.  A couple of courses in psychology later, I had confirmation that the field was a great fit for me.  I arrived at the specialty of procrastination several years later.  I discovered I was a severe procrastinator myself after having volunteered to lead a workshop on procrastination and after having begun to research the topic. 

What aspects of your work are you most passionate about today?

I’m excited about a lot these days.  I’m excited about learning how to reach procrastinators who might realize there is an easier way to get through work and life — a procrastination-free way.  I’ve been experimenting with different ways of encouraging procrastinators to take the steps to come forward and to start learning how to get things done without stress and strain.  I’m also excited about learning these days.  With podcasts, blogs, books, colleagues, and conferences, it seems like the sky is the limit.  Whatever topic you might want to explore — there’s so much to dive into.  I’ve been exploring topics such as the power of subconscious thought and the connection between the mind and body lately.

Who do you typically work with today?

In my private practice and my online work, I work with many college- and graduate school-aged clients, and I work with them through graduation and their post-graduation journey.  Many of my clients have a history of procrastination, anxiety, or difficulties getting past emotional blocks.  I enjoy working with people in the creative fields, where I feel there is a huge payoff when procrastination is done away with.  After procrastination is dealt with, creativity has room to blossom.

How much do you feel procrastination, and this personal business of us being stuck, is a bit of a “taboo” subject today?

I feel talking about procrastination is one of the last remaining taboos.  There is such an emphasis on perfection, comparison, and success in our culture that talking openly about being stuck can make us feel incredibly unsafe and vulnerable.  I think the perception that there is no way to talk about the issue without hurting our own reputation is one of the main reasons people keep procrastinating — even when it no longer makes any sense and is causing significant harm.

Why do you believe we get stuck as creative beings?

There are so many reasons.  But many of those reasons fit into the category of fear.  We get stuck because we fear judgment, comparison, criticism, failure, inadequacy, frustration, achievement…the list is pretty much endless.  These fears tend to be about what other people will think of us.  We worry whether we will still be accepted and loved.

What do you believe is the biggest challenge for anyone wishing to improve his or her own motivation towards overcoming procrastination?

Ironically, oftentimes we pose the greatest obstacle to our own recovery.  We fail to see our improvements after becoming accustomed to spotting every fall and failure.  Sometimes our mindset is stuck in “nope, no way this is going to happen”-land.  That is why having support from other people is often necessary for procrastinators to make meaningful changes that stick.  We have to learn how to get out of our own heads.

Where does procrastination typically start?

Procrastination starts when the individual finds him or herself with more work that can be managed in a particular period of time.  The other option is when the person finds him or herself with more anxiety about the work that can be managed before the deadline arrives.  As you can tell from these descriptions, procrastination can happen at almost any time when there is work to be done.

How can we spot it?

That’s easy.  When you find yourself focusing on everything but the work, that is when you are procrastinating.  For instance, when you are engaging in “What ifs…?” and worrying, worrying, worrying.  And then, of course, there is the classic, “I just need to read one more thing….”  If you are complaining, chances are there is a good bit of procrastinating involved in that too.

How much do you believe ego comes into all of this?

Ego is often the reason why procrastination happens in the first place.  The ego wants to protect us from danger.  When we perceive judgment to be dangerous to us, we then stop working altogether.  So, yes, ego is big here.

The good news is, when we take ego out of the equation and do work just for the work’s sake, procrastination becomes unnecessary.

And what about fear?

Fear is, in many ways, just a part of life.  There is no way to escape it fully.  However, it is critical that we learn how to function in spite of our fears.  Be courageous instead of fearful; we are all really safe.  Most of us aren’t facing grave dangers when we fuss and fret over our fears.  I wish we were all coached into bravery as much as (if not more than) we are coached into fear. 

How do we begin to overcome procrastination as creatives?

Step by step.  Daily work.  Daily progress.  Making sure to eliminate the self-critical voice and enabling our creativity to emerge as a result.  I think we have creativity inside of us, but we also need to be open to the ideas that swirl around us also, e.g. the inspiration in nature and in daily living.  I think it is so important that we take care of our physical bodies and emotional selves in order to have that creative space be at its fullest.  There may be real obstacles to our success outside of ourselves, but we cannot turn ourselves against ourselves.  We must manage our interior life as best as we can.  We must be the champions of our own work.

I remember you talking recently on a webinar with Pam Slim about the benefits of batching similar tasks – can you tell me more about what you mean by that?

Yes. Batching is a terrific technique where you do tasks that are similar to each other with each other to save the energy that it takes to start working.  For instance, doing several loads of laundry in quick succession rather than having to do laundry multiple times over the course of a week can be a real timesaver.  You save yourself the 5 or 10 minutes it might take you to get over to the laundry room each day and thereby create more time and energy for your creative work.  We can use batching as a way of managing our energy across the day to make sure we are working during our hours of peak focus and resting during the times when we feel less energetic.

Why is becoming unstuck so important in the world today?

I’ve come to believe that being stuck, as opposed to being just at rest, is a dangerous position for a person and a physical body to be in.  We are moving organisms, and everything inside of us is in motion.  I associate wellness with movement these days.  It is important to learn how to be unstuck to learn that we each have incredible power and agency in our lives.  Learning that lesson well will be life-changing for anyone who gets the message.  What is created after the person gets unstuck is just the extra bonus!  Just imagine what we can produce.

What does leading a successful life mean to you?

For me, success means being able to lend other people a hand where I know how to.  I’m trying to do that with my procrastination work.  I try to live focused on joy, and I have been very lucky to have experienced so much of it in my life.  Leaving procrastination behind has taught me that we have all that we need inside of us and in our lives as they are.  We don’t need to achieve or to have things in order to feel like a success.  I guess living without a lot less stress has had me feeling like a success lately.

Who or what’s inspired you most recently?

I am routinely inspired by patients I work with.  Trying to break free from the chains of procrastination is no small feat.  It has been inspiring to see people reach new highs in productivity and well-being after many years of feeling disorganized and unhappy with themselves.  I think anyone who ventures into therapy or coaching or into any path of self-development is inspiring.  Anyone who is trying to find and to use their full voice is my hero.

What are you grateful for today?

Everything.  Life is really daunting, but it is way more mind-blowingly cool than daunting.

Where can folks find out more about you and your work?

I invite your listeners to my website which is www.procrastinationcoach.com.  I have a Free Resource Library (with 13 downloadable items) to share at www.procrastinationcoach.com/freelibrary.  I’m creating new content every week, and I look forward to helping the community of people who want to recover from procrastination as best as I can.

Thank you, Rob, for inviting me onto the Inspirational Creatives podcast and for challenging us all to go more deeply into our chosen work.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

How I Easily Save Time Each Day

Save TIme Every Day with the Moment App

In my work recovering from my chronic procrastination and in teaching others to do the same, I have found that learning how to save time is essential.  When we use our time mindfully, we are better able to resist the lure of procrastination and we are able to find more satisfaction across each day.

The more we figure out ways to save time, the more we feel:

  • empowered
  • calm
  • focused
  • capable
  • centered
  • grounded

But there is more. 

The more we learn how to use our time mindfully, the less we feel:

  • distracted
  • harried
  • overwhelmed
  • incompetent
  • out of time

Time appears to expand when we are mindful of our time and when our focus is clear.  The opposite happens when we fall behind schedule, are worried about the future, and feel unclear and overwhelmed about what to do next.  Time contracts when we feel stressed.

How I Easily Save Time Each Day by Using the Moment App

I had been hearing about the Moment App, a free tool that tracks how much time users spend on their phone.  I figured I should give it a try, since I’m game for any productivity-enhancing app.

I approached it with some resistance — the resistance of seeing how much time I was ACTUALLY spending on the phone.  You might know what I mean here.

I made it a promise to myself to go through with the experiment by announcing on Instastory that I was going to use the app.  That sealed the deal.

Then I worked a full work day with the Moment App tracking my phone use from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 pm.  The results were: 

1 hour and 24 minutes of screen time and 19 pickups

The results didn’t blow me away (either in a good or bad way), so I decided to continue using it for a few more days.

Now those results I paid attention to. 

I initially saw my phone time go way up — probably because it was the weekend.  And it went up substantially.  Enough to make me take note. 

Then after another few days, I realized the extra self-awareness I had because of the Moment App encouraged me to curb my phone use.  My self-awareness was now switched to “ON.”

Whenever I just wanted to linger on the phone a little longer I didn’t. 

When I had no specific reason to pick up the phone I didn’t. 

Bam.  That right there probably saved me an hour a day.  Pretty sweet.

I encourage you to move past your own resistance to looking at your own behavior and life.  I highly recommend the Moment App, but if you have some other way to examine your actions more closely and to save time that works for you, do that. 

I’d say there are few investments better than those that rescue your time.

Enjoy having more time and more freedom in your day.

Before You Go

What will you do with all of your new-found time?  Take advantage of the time you will save with the Moment App.  I’ve designed the TIME TRACKER sheet to help you plan your actions and ensure you’ll feel good about what you’ve accomplished at the end of the day.  The TIME TRACKER sheet will encourage you to be strategic about your planning and to be mindful of what you do and don’t do.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

How to Use Your Schedule to Find More Time for Yourself

Use your schedule to find more time for yourselfTime is very tricky.  Time can slide by us.  Time can get away from us.  We can throw time away.  We can crave more time.  We can even arrange our schedule so to make more time for ourselves.

Fascinating.  (Let’s do that last one.)

I want to help you feel like you have control over your time and that you have enough time to do what you want and need to do.  Fortunately, the process for getting sanity in your schedule is neither complex nor out of your reach.  You can do this.  It does take a bit of planning though.

How to Use Your Schedule to Find More Time for Yourself

Step 1. Download and use the Emergent Task Planner

The Emergent Task Planner

The Emergent Task Planner (a free download)

The Emergent Task Planner is a single sheet free download from David Seah.  Grab your Emergent Task Planner here.  Use it to organize your activities over a single day, plan your priority items, track your time usage, and keep tabs on your entire To Do list.

You will feel more connected to your plans if you write them down and if you see them written down. You will feel more inclined to get something done when you see the range of things you have to get done laid out in front of you in an organized way.

Gone are the days where you just hope that your tasks get done before the end of the day. You’ve got a plan now.

Step 2.  Commit to Accurate Scheduling

Here’s where the planning starts to pay off.

Get in the habit of assigning a time for each of your to do list items to be done.  Build upon that habit by making sure you do things as you have planned.  Each task has its own time slot.  You will know what to focus on just by looking at your schedule.  No need for confusion or indecision anymore.

This step will be difficult to follow through on at first if you have been Procrastinating for a while.  Just stick with the idea and practice of accurate scheduling and take things day-by-day.  You will soon be able to work in synch with time instead of feeling like you are always falling behind.

Step 3. Avoid overwhelm

Procrastinators are accustomed to feeling overwhelmed.  Overwhelm can take so many different forms including:

  • not having enough time
  • feeling incredibly anxious
  • feeling pressured by expectations from others
  • not being organized
  • being exhausted from lack of sleep
  • not knowing what to do next

Keeping your activities organized with the Emergent Task Planner will help you avoid overwhelm.  Accurate scheduling will also help you to to feel calm. You can take the planning one step further by making sure you make room in your schedule for proper rest and breaks, good meals, socializing, exercise, and sleep.  When you arrange your schedule mindfully, it will support your progress and sense of well-being throughout the day.

Make sure you remember to plan sanity into your schedule.  We cannot function like robots because we are not robots.  We need to take care of ourselves first, before we can do good work for ourselves and others.

Step 4.  Eliminate anything unnecessary

In order to have sanity in our schedule, we need to have a To Do List and a Not To Do List. We need to make decisions about what to eliminate and to make them wisely.

These decisions can feel tough, because many of us like to cram every.little.thing.under.the.sun into our schedule.  It can feel fun to try everything, but if we are being real, we need to come to terms with the truest of truths — we cannot do it all.

Consider what you might do without, so you can have more sanity for yourself:

  • binge watching television shows or movies
  • monitoring the news constantly
  • reading the entire Internet every time you pick up your phone
  • worrying and second-guessing
  • saying “yes” to everything

I know, it’s a tough list to think about.  It might be tougher to take this important step of cutting something out of your schedule.  Please know that your decision to manage your time more carefully will actually bring you more enjoyment and freedom in your life — not less.

When you make good decisions about how you use your time, you will end up feeling like you have more time to use.  You’ll need to trust me at first on this one, but that’s okay because these strategies really work.

Love your schedule, love yourself

You might feel some resistance to the idea of using your schedule to combat Procrastination.  After all, there are so many factors that make it seem like Procrastination is here to stay.  But, as we all know, Procrastination is the thief of time and a pain in the a**, and time is truly precious.  So let’s start moving so we can kick Procrastination out the door.

Let’s remember to be kind to ourselves as we try new techniques and ideas.  Let’s not get overly frustrated when things don’t feel like they are going perfectly from the start.  It is important to stay the course.  Love your schedule in order to love yourself.  The rewards of finding productivity and flow after leaving Procrastination behind are tremendous.  Don’t miss them.

Related reading:  

7 Tips to Help You Become a Master Scheduler

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

My Latest Greatest Secret Weapon for Getting Things Done

A secret weapon for getting things doneGetting things done is a high-priority item for me since I’ve recovered from chronic Procrastination.  Alongside my recovery has been an avid interest in exploring tools, tricks, and apps that might help me to get things done more quickly and easily.  I want to share with you my latest and best find, which has helped me in small ways that have yielded tremendous results.

The app is called Magnet.  As far as I can tell, it is an app that is used for laptop or desktop screens, and not smartphones.  But that’s great, because Magnet will change the way you work on your laptop or desktop.

What it does is simple.  Magnet enables you to click your work to the left/right/bottom/top of your screen so you have room to view another part of your work on the other available part of your screen.  Basically, the app allows you to split your screen so you can see different sets of information on the same screen without having to toggle between tabs on your computer.

Wham!

Here’s a sense of what Magnet can do with what’s on your screen:

Magnet is an app for getting things done!

This is such a timesaver.  But what I have found is that it makes my efforts to create a new blogpost or on-line course (or anything I’m writing on my laptop) so much easier.  I can stay in “flow” with my course of action because I don’t have to switch my brain off in order to find another piece of information from another tab.  This app proves that a simple idea can have the most powerful effect.

I hope you’ll take my word on this one and give Magnet a try.  Use it to multi-task (#shiver), to toggle between tasks, or manage your empire.  Enjoy getting things done with ease and of course, the extra time that comes with that.  Boom!

P.S.  If you use a PC, please research options for split-screen apps or options for PC users.  Working without the need to switch back and forth is wonderful.

Please share any tips, tricks, or apps you might secretly use to rock your productivity. We’d love to know!  Remember to join the Procrastination Coach Facebook Group for camaraderie, support, and information on getting things done if you haven’t already.  Let me know how I might be able to help you in your efforts to get rid of your Procrastination in the Facebook group. Finally, to receive access to a Free Resource Library for Procrastination Coach readers, please click this button  –> Click Here to Get Access

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

What Can Minimalism Offer to Procrastinators?

A look into how a minimalist lifestyle offers the recovering Procrastinator many more choices for freedom, growth, and personal calm.

 

Why all the fuss about Minimalism lately? How might it be relevant to you in your attempts to recover from Procrastination?

My plan today is:

  • to describe some of my own history with Minimalism and how it enabled me to embrace Procrastination recovery;
  • to share some things I learned this week after watching a screening of the Minimalism: A Documentary about the Things that Matter;
  • to recommend some wonderful bloggers who offer great content and inspiration for people looking to make positive changes for themselves; and
  • to inspire you to give Minimalism a try.

My own relationship with Minimalism

I haven’t written much about the actual steps I have taken to recover from Procrastination, but I can tell you that going simple and minimalistic was the very first step I took.

When I simplified my belongings, I stopped tripping over my stuff. Literally stopped tripping. That was a plus.

After that, I became more effective in the mornings, because I didn’t have to get through as much stuff. Another plus.

Soon after that, I started worrying less, sleeping better, and making better choices.

I really could go on and on, and I will because I think it’s important to share these growth points:

  • I was clearer mentally
  • my schedule became saner
  • I commuted to my office with a sense of calm instead of with a sense of dread or a panic about being late
  • I began to look more put together, because all of these small steps and decluttering led me to look that way
  • I was able to spend more time — really good time — working on the projects and relationships that mattered most to me
  • I explored more methods to break away from Procrastination
  • I started this blog!

Need I say more????

What I learned from a documentary by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, The Minimalists

I had the pleasure of attending the screening of the movie Minimalism: A Documentary about the Things that Matter this week.

*Now imagine me making a two thumbs up gesture.*

The documentary was informative, eye-opening, enlightening, and well-crafted. The love for the message of Minimalism was obvious throughout. The film drove home the message that we all have tremendous power over our own choices, and our choices matter so much.

Here are some of the lessons I took away from the film:

Minimalism allows you to work on your personal development. It takes the focus off success for success’s sake and puts the spotlight on the things and people that are important to you.

“Minimalism is not a radical lifestyle, it’s a practical lifestyle.” — Joshua Fields Millburn, of The Minimalists.

When we adopt a minimalist style of living, we come to value what we have instead of feeling anxious about what we don’t. That process of learning how to add value to our lives without pulling out our credit cards feeds our sense of well-being. We can develop our sense of personal freedom when we are not weighed down by our need to hunt (for stuff) or by the latest marketing message or throw-away fashion trend. We have enough => We are enough.

And now, my groupie fan-girl picture for your viewing pleasure #likemeetingtheBeatles:

The Minimalists and Me

What does this mean for you?

As with recovery from Procrastination, going minimal is a step-by-step process, where you learn more about yourself with each step. You go against the well-worn grain by making these changes, but these changes re-instill your sense of gratitude for the life and opportunities you’ve been given and those which you’re about to have.  That’s a plus.

You gain confidence in yourself and in your choices. Another big plus.

Yes, you get so much from going minimal. Funny, right?

If you’re struggling under the burden of Procrastination, I very sincerely encourage you to explore what Minimalism has to offer.

As promised, a list of helpful resources to get you started in your exploration:

One final resource is MY MINIMALISM START, a planning sheet I put together to guide you in your first steps towards trying out Minimalism.  Everything on the sheet is doable within the space of a single day.  It’s simple and practical.

Click here to receive the MY MINIMALISM START planning sheet to help you get on your way today!

It seems I have a lot to say about a movement that tends towards the minimal.  I think you’ll find when you try going in this direction, like I have, that embracing the tenets of Minimalism brings you energy, focus, and spirit like crazy.  I hope you enjoy the ride.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

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.

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.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

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.  

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

Get Creative When You Feel Like Procrastinating

Today, I thought I’d model what I sometimes do when I’m feeling unable to follow through with my regular routine.  I have a general expectation for myself that I write and publish at least one blogpost per week.  Some weeks that expectation is a no-brainer to fulfill.  It sometimes can even be pleasurable.

Other weeks, for different reasons, the idea of writing something new and (hopefully) interesting makes me want to crawl under the nearest rock.  I may not be feeling focused enough.  I may have other obligations I need to take care of.  I may just be plain not feeling up to it.

Generally when I feel like I’d like to delay writing, somewhere, somehow there is a feeling of fear lurking.  It might sound like “this post won’t make a difference to anyone.”  Or it might just as easily sound like “this post might make a difference to someone.”  Either way, I end up feeling some resistance to moving forward.

And here’s the part where the drumroll begins and I show you today’s solution to my resistance — some pinnable quotes I got from Pinterest.  Ta dahhhhhh.

Feel the Fear

{ohsolovelyobsessions.tumblr.com}

Small Steps

{ahouseinthehills.com}

The Struggle

{theglowingfridge.com}

I decided to turn to Pinterest for some inspiration for me and for you. I’m not generally a Pinterest user because I tend to feel dizzy and overwhelmed by all the visual input there and because I think Pinterest might be a little too easy for me to Procrastinate with.

But I have been itching to try different things in my posts. So I did something new, got creative, and got going on Pinterest. I found many inspirational quotes I wanted to share, and realized the ones I was drawn to really matched my message about Procrastination and Procrastination recovery.

In the process of collecting pins, I forgot to take notes on where the pins originated, and so you’re only seeing a few pins here. Though the results of my efforts were scant, I’m glad I went through this new journey to find another way to create a post.

What creative alternative route can you use to sidestep some of your own resistance? Has there been something you’ve been curious about but have not begun to explore?  

Use the pinnable quotes I chose to share here to guide you.  You will feel fear, but you can work your way through your fear.  You can take a small step today and the next day to continue making your overall efforts that much stronger. You will feel a twinge of difficulty and struggle (as I did with Pinterest) when you try your new idea, but you can then turn that into part of your new story.

Add something to your toolbox for working today.  It might be something you learned on Twitter or Pinterest.  You might use video.  You might do an interview instead of just relying on your own voice.  You get the idea.  Go have fun and try it out now.

For further inspiration, I’d like to share a wonderful post by Crystal Moody, who happens to have designed my Procrastination Coach website and logo.  In it she outlines 100 ideas for creativity and productivity.  And she and they are great.  Enjoy.

MORE NEWS TO SHARE:

Free Webinar

I’m offering a free, informational webinar on Wednesday, June 24th at 9:00 p.m. EST. Follow this link if you’d like to learn more and/or register for it.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone