Why You Procrastinate (& What to Do About It)

You have a goal to reach but you often procrastinate. Why?

Let’s look at the three aspects of achievement,  go through the process of elimination and determine where the problem of procrastination might exis so that you can get started again.

There are three aspects to reaching a goal:

1) Where you are

2) Where you want to be

3) The method to get there

Anything within these three spheres can be trip you up, prevent you from reaching the goal , encourage you to procrastinate.

Think of your goal as the far side of a lake. You are standing on this side of the lake. The lake itself is part of the journey to your goal.

Some people seem to jet ski right over to their destination quite easily. But you have barely dipped your toe into the lake, you have procrastinated.

So let’s look at where your biggest issue might be in the process of achievement.

WHERE YOU WANT TO BE/ YOUR GOAL/ THE FAR SIDE OF THE LAKE

One aspect of goal-setting and ridding yourself of procrastination is making sure that the goal is something you want. That might sound too simple, but -honestly- we’ve all been trained to believe that we should want this, we should pursue that. But do we really want those things?

Have you checked in with yourself to determine whether the goal is yours and not simply something others have told you that you should want? At times, we procrastinate because we do not want to achieve that goal and are in denial.

At other times, the problem is that what we wanted before isn’t exactly what we want now, but we haven’t noticed the change in desire.

Circumstances change. You change. The goal changes. Your attention, what’s valuable to you, changes. You should adjust as the variables shift.

Example – Let’s say you’re a bachelor who wants to climb the corporate ladder, so you work late on weekends and it’s no big deal. Suddenly you are engaged to be married.  Is working on Saturday still interesting to you or would you rather use that time to become better acquainted with your future spouse?

If circumstances have changed, account for what it means and how it affects your perspective of your goals.

Write down not only the goal but the purpose for it. Review the purpose regularly to determine whether it still fits.

WHERE YOU ARE/ THIS SIDE OF THE LAKE

You have determined that the goal you are pursuing is the right one for you. Great! Then, your procrastination might be induced by a second aspect of achievement – your current environment.

Your physical space and surrounding area might be uninspiring. (Alter it to be a place where you want to live. Or perhaps it’s time to move.)

How you arrange your physical space or items can help or hinder you in your goal,  they can induce procrastination.

Example – You have the goal of jogging more often. Arrange your life to make that more likely to happen. You might choose the CUE-ROUTINE-REWARD Method for this. You create a CUE  or signal which reminds you to work on your goal. That signal might be to see your jogging shoes next to the bed or next to the door. Then you engage in the desired ROUTINE – jogging. Then you REWARD yourself with something that you enjoy very much – perhaps finally finishing that novel you have not made time to read. Whatever works for you.  Eventually your mind and body anticipate the Reward just by interacting with the Cue. Voila! You have a habit and environment that helps you achieve your goal.

However, environment means not only the physical space.

That which you ingest mentally can be discouraging. ( Be careful of what music, movies, books and concepts you absorb. They could create self-defeating attitudes.)

That which you ingest physically can be energy-draining. (Eat the most health-giving food that you can afford.)

Those with whom you spend time can be knee-jerk negative people in general or those who find nothing beneficial in your goals. (Spend time with others who are more encouraging. You must counter-act the negativity with truth, of course, but also with the will and the team to help you see it through.)

Everything around you or in you is your environment.

You can use the CUE-ROUTINE-REWARD method on each aspect of your environment to help you create the habits you need to conquer procrastination.

THE METHOD TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOAL/ THE BOAT ON THE LAKE

You’ve decided that the goal you have set is the one you really want to reach. You have found ways to create an environment that will help launch you towards your goal.

But procrastination still has you by the throat.

Now let us consider the third aspect of achievement – the method to reach your goal. The method might trip you up.

Example – If you wish to rid your diet of all sugar, you might decide to toss out all sugar and anything else sweet from your house right now.  In two weeks, you’re still craving sweets and you sneak out to a store late at night to buy a forbidden Snickers bar.

The “no sweets” method doesn’t seem to work for you, at least not at this stage. But you don’t give up.

You try a different method.

You decide that you will keep something sweet in your life, as long as it’s not sugar or chemical sweetener substitutes.  You begin using exclusively Stevia Reboudiana – a naturally sweet plant with fewer calories than sugar. You hire a nutritionist to be your accountability partner.

You must continually tweak the variables that do not work for you with different methods.

Procrastination doesn’t necessarily mean you are a broken human; it simply means that the procrastinative behavior brings you something that you want. Do you want more time with your family, so you go home early, and that’s why you haven’t put in the time to turn in your TPS reports at work? Do you want not to smash your fingers again while hammering a nail and that’s why you’ve procrastinated on nailing those frames to the wall? Do you want to avoid a person at the party and that’s why you haven’t bothered to dress yet when it’s time to leave? Determine what procrastination gives to you and find another method to gain it.

——

Ridding yourself of procrastination and achieving your goal is like crossing a lake. How is the launching pad? Do you really want to get to the other side?  What about your method to travel across the lake? Would you rather take a jet ski?  A dingy? A paddle boat? Would you rather swim and test your mettle? Would you rather stay on this side of the lake –a familiar side- and make the best of it?

Understand that any one of these variables could be your stumbling block. Consider each of the three aspects of achievement, determine where the issues lie to get started again.

Above all, have patience with yourself and do not give up.

Sincerely,

Deborah

Further resources for stopping the habit of procrastination

Journal Prompts for Writing about Childhood

Hi! It’s Deborah.

I’m part of a journal writing group on Facebook. One of the members mentioned that he has used old family photos as journal prompts. You start writing whatever the photo brings to mind and get a glimpse into your own mind, or record an old memory. What a great idea!  Especially if you add a copy of the photo on the journal page.

Do you need journal prompts for writing about your childhood? Here are few to get you started:

  1. What is your earliest memory? [The other year, I read What Your Childhood Memories Say about You . . . and What You Can Do about It” by Dr. Kevin Leman. In it, the author posits that since the brain always remembers what happens to you, the memory that you subconsciously select as your earliest one reveals your true perspective on life.]
  2. What is one thing that you enjoyed doing as a child?
  3. Did you have pets as a child? Which was your favorite? Why?
  4. Choose a piece of childhood memorabilia. What stories does it bring to mind? How did it come into your possession?
  5. Where did you attend school? Did you enjoy it? Why? Why not?
  6. What did imagine you would do as an adult? Did you do it? Why? Why not?
  7. What foods did you enjoy as a child? Which ones did you dislike? Do you still enjoy/dislike them? Why?
  8. Write about your parents. What are their names? What are their occupations? How would you describe your childhood relationship to them? How does that compare with your adult relationship with them?
  9. Were your parents great with handling money? Why? Why not? Did you learn anything from the way they handled finances in your childhood?
  10. List 2 people other than your parents who stand prominent in your childhood memory. Who were they? What relation were they to you? Did you enjoy that relationship? Why? Why not?
  11. What were the family traditions? Have you changed any of them in your adult life? Would you like to change the traditions? Why?
  12. If you’re the letter writing type, write a letter to someone from your childhood in your journal. (You do not need to send it. This is simply a device to help you explore your past.)
  13. How is your spouse’s childhood similar to yours? Or does it differ? How have you dealt with this?
  14. What childhood would you like to provide for your children (or future children)?

That might hold you for a fortnight (or longer if you’d rather not write in your journal every day).

Peace be with you,

Deborah

It’s Deborah. [Content Revamp]

04-29-2017

Let’s get real.

One of the biggest blocks I’ve had to business success is believing that I am not an expert in anything. We are all expert in something, even if it’s merely being two steps ahead of someone in the blogging world or knowing the best restaurants in town. Still, my offers seemed to ring hollow to me. Could I really help you brainstorm your career? Yes. But what would be the rate of success? I don’t know.

My website and business have endured many different iterations:

  • Pivot Point Consulting – Helping you brainstorm your non-traditional career
  • Inspiration Haven – A lifestyle blog with vacation pictures
  • The Observer – Curating online business tips and making business-related observations
  • The Custom-Tailored Life – Helping you design a life that fits

I have never felt that I am an expert in any of it. However, I am an expert in being me. Thus, instead of promising you that I can help you achieve your goals, this website will become more show-and-tell oriented. I will share the things that I’m learning so that we learn together, rather than my pontificating from on high.

Today, I become more vulnerable and revamp this site into a journey, a journey into personal development, thoughts on introversion, musings on the scanner/multi-potentialite nature, coming to terms with being a highly sensitive person, and journaling (lots of journaling). We also might take occasional stabs at teaching blogging; since I’ve blogged for 10 years, I  know a lot of things that do not work and a few things that do. I’ll share the few things that I know on the subject.

The name will be “It’s Deborah.” [5-20-17 Update: The name is “Deborah Observes.”] I hope you will join me.

Sincerely,

Deborah

1 Business Tip to Stand Out from the Crowd

Remain distinct from your competitors by creating the shortest distance possible between the client’s problem and the solution you offer. This is how your company remains remarkable even with stiff competition.
The greater number of steps between the customer or client and her end goal, the greater risk of error or confusion. This often leads to customer frustration and possibly not completing the sale.
Here’s an example from this year.

Continue reading 1 Business Tip to Stand Out from the Crowd

Dignity. Always, Dignity.

When dealing with anyone in any situation, look for the dignity of each person concerned. Preserve everyone’s dignity even if the other person does not seem interested in the same goal.

Yes, there might be an irate customer or a disgruntled employee and they are irritating you. Perhaps you wish to be respected first. Put those ideas on the back burner for something more important.

Your business must become known for respecting the people it encounters, whether client, customer or employee. In the long run, presenting consistently positive  and respectful encounters will draw more customers and more hard-working and loyal employees. In addition, you are upholding the value of human life.

 

Find the Benefits

When you are in transition between where you are and where you would like to be career-wise,  find the benefits of the current situation.

List the benefits and keep them in a place where you can easily see them daily. This helps you to see what is good about your situation and reduces stress.

 

How to Conquer Your Anxiety When Someone Un-Subscribes

When someone unsubscribes from your blog, stops following you on Twitter or un-“likes” your page on Facebook, what is your response?

Some think nothing of it and move on with their lives. Some treat themselves to a reward to soothe the rejection. Some panic – as I did, recently- and ask  business mentors what to do with this useless anxiety.

Anxiety Over Social Media “Likes” is Linked to a Weak Sense of Purpose

Continue reading How to Conquer Your Anxiety When Someone Un-Subscribes

How to Prepare for Fear

Dr. Susan Baili says in her book Live a Life You Love: 7 Steps to a Healthier, Happier, More Passionate You”  that when embarking on a goal we must prepare to be afraid. When an opportunity that you want arrives, you might feel pangs of fear. This is not a signal that you will fail; it’s a natural reaction to something new.

Dr. Baili says she uses the fear to congratulate herself: “Well done! Fear means you’re getting closer your big dream.” This calms her down immediately.

Continue reading How to Prepare for Fear

4 Books for Your Business

Do you need to read yet another business book? The stores and libraries are filled with them. You’ve read most of the popular ones and some of the obscure ones. At this point you’ve heard it all and now there is nothing more to do but take action, to do something.

I’d like to challenge you.

Continue reading 4 Books for Your Business

10 Full-Time Bloggers You Should Know

Here, in alphabetical order by surname, are great bloggers whose expertise in their craft are useful to entrepreneurs, bloggers and other online creatives.  They each have garnered a full-time income from writing online. They are each generous to their readers. Read the squibs below about their work, then explore their worlds. Get a sense of how they interact with their audience and what stands out to you. What do you like about what they do? What would not work for your brand? Why?

Enjoy!

Continue reading 10 Full-Time Bloggers You Should Know

Is Your Website or Blog Mobile-Friendly?

Google.com has become synonymous with searching online; it is even used as a verb. (“What’s the name of that guy in that film? Never mind. I’ll Google it.”) When this giant of information makes major changes in its search engine algorithms, people pay attention and adjust accordingly.

In response to the increasing number of online searches on mobile devices, Google began to return search results for mobile-friendly websites first.

Continue reading Is Your Website or Blog Mobile-Friendly?

The Bulwer-Lytton Writing Contest – Patterns of Success

originally published 3-18-2015 on Summer Haven Blog

Today, Summer Haven will help you win a fiction writing contest by showing you the patterns in the winning entries.

“It was a dark and stormy night,” starts Sir Edward George Bulwer-Lytton‘s novel Paul Clifford (1830). The first sentence of the novel has become infamous as one of the worst lead lines ever.

In 1983, Professor Scott Rice of San Jose University started a contest to commemorate Bulwer-Lytton’s most notorious achievement, asking participants for a bad opening sentence to a made-up novel. The very worst would win first prize. This contest continues today and has had winners from around the world. Check their website for contest rules.

Continue reading The Bulwer-Lytton Writing Contest – Patterns of Success

1 Tip to Understand Your Multiple Career Interests

Author Barbara Sher is known for coining the term “Scanner” to refer to people who wish to incorporate more than one interest in their careers or who wish to have multiple careers in a lifetime.

Through her books, including Refuse to Choose, Ms. Sher has helped to shift a paradigm for a number of people. The one which sticks out to me lately is the eating analogy.

When you wish to change careers, says Ms. Sher, you are not necessarily a quitter.

Continue reading 1 Tip to Understand Your Multiple Career Interests

When to Stop Researching If You Are On a Deadline

One useful thing to learn in research is when to stop.

In this era of unprecedented information access, where the acronym TMI (Too Much Information) is used to ask someone to stop sharing, it’s great to know when to push away the plate of info and say, “Thank you; I’ve had enough.” Continue reading When to Stop Researching If You Are On a Deadline

Facebook: How to Edit or Delete Your Comment (Computer or Mobile Device)

Typos and grammatical errors happen all the time. Sometimes they happen when commenting on the popular social platform Facebook. I’ve seen people make a mistake in the comment section under a Facebook post, then type another comment underneath explaining their error above.  I’d swoop in to the rescue, giving them a briefer version of the instructions I will give you today.

Continue reading Facebook: How to Edit or Delete Your Comment (Computer or Mobile Device)

How to Delegate Without Losing Control of Your Goals

An entrepreneur can be a great visionary who takes on far too many tasks to be effective. Today, we look at three steps to help you release your tasks to others while still remaining in control of your goals.

Sometimes a dysfunctional team has disappointed an entrepreneur over and over. He or she develops  a subconscious habit of not trusting someone else with major responsibilities. This habit can hinder progress. Here is what you do instead. Continue reading How to Delegate Without Losing Control of Your Goals