mindful and kindful



I’ve had an enlightening 24 hours about procrastinating.  I started listening to Ari Meisel podcast (which by the way is very interesting).  One of his guests was Tim Pychul who specialises in researching Procrastination.   I listened and read lot of his stuff and I’ve had a lightbulb experience.

I’ve always been hard on myself about procrastinating – telling myself I do it a lot and then beating myself up for doing it.  I had already had an insight that when I did procrastinate, I actually felt bad in moment (even though I thought I would feel better because now I am reading, or surfing the internet, which I wanted to do).  And then I felt bad later too, when I rememberd I had procrastinated.  And then still felt bad a few more times when I saw that “to do” the next day, and then the procrastinating cycle starts again. I found out this is called cognitive dissonance – whenever you realize that you should be doing something but that you aren’t .  

Here are my top thoughts from Tim’s work

  1. Tim says procrastinators want short-term mood repair – I want to eliminate the negative mood or emotions now, so I give in to feel good. I give in to the impulse to put off the task until another time.  But for me, I only feel better for a moment, and then the self beating up starts and I don’t enjoy my distraction.
  2. Becoming very friendly with my future self.  I distance ourself from my future self and forget that my future self won’t want to do the “to do” either,so I imagine myself tonight or tomorrow, or next week with that thing done.
  3. Mindfulness – be with  the feeling of uncomfort, boredom, fear that is coming up as I face a task I don’t want to do.  I am gentle with myself and say “not wanting to do something is not necessarily a reason not to do it”.  What am I saying to myself to justify my procrastination?
  4. Just get started.  It’s not usually as bad as I think.  Just do 5 minutes.
  5. Change the task and see if I can make it interesting – see how fast I can get it done, or other trick. Or, can I add a sweetener, like  listening to a podcast while I do it eg. hang out clothes
  6. What’s the next step – often tasks are too big – classic example write a book.  Break down big tasks into small steps.
  7. Use a timer.  I love my timer.  I think Flylady got me onto it a few years ago with “you can do anything for 15 minutes”.  Now with the timer on my iphone it is easy.  I set a limit on how long I am going to work on something and do it.  I have a spreadsheet, divided into 15 minute segments and each day I do my to do list and then slot it into a 15 minute slot.  It really keeps me on track.
  8. Don’t let perfect, get in the way of getting it done.  This is a sneaky one or me – I think I tell myself I’ll be able to do a “better” job tomorrow, next week etc.  Just get it done, even though not perfect – this blogpost is a classic example.  In the past I would have tried to find the perfect picture, and made the whole thing perfect.  Now I think – just get it posted.
  9. Stay away from surfing internet – I don’t think I need to elaborate!

The fact that I’ve written and published my second blog – after procrastinating for more than a month says it all for me.

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