Why do we procrastinate? Well, if you asked 10 people that question, you would likely get 10 different answers. However, the actual reason we procrastinate is FEAR. When our body senses that doing something could cause us pain in some kind of way, we reject the activity. You may be thinking, “Chasity, cleaning my garage is not painful.” Yes, you are correct, but wouldn’t watching an hour of television be more entertaining? Your brain computes this as “I am afraid of missing out on something more pleasurable” and there for procrastination begins.
Now think about what you are afraid of:
- Are you afraid of rejection?
- Are you afraid of failure?
- Are you afraid of success?
- Are you afraid you do not have enough information?
- Are you afraid you will be wasting time?
- Are you afraid of not being good enough?
Really think about what you have been putting off and WHY you have been putting it off. What are you afraid of?
What has being afraid cost you?
Get out of your “rut”
When actions are repeated over and over again it can cause our brains to automatically preform the actions – good or bad. For example, every time my mom would get into her car, she would smoke a cigarette. So when she decided to stop smoking, she would automatically reach for something as soon as she got into a vehicle because her brain was “in a rut.”
Scientist at MIT have proven that repeated behaviors puts our brains into a sort of rut, making it much more difficult – but not impossible – to change our behaviors. Our brains respond to repeated stimuli and creates neurological pathways, over time these pathways become a “rut” or habit and the path of least resistance. Naturally, we are more likely to travel the path of least resistance, therefore we subsequently resist change.
A habit is categorized as “mindless behavior” and can be useful to us, such as eating, breathing, bathing, etc. but can also be harmful, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, mindlessly scrolling social media etc.
The first step in addressing a bad habit is to simply acknowledge it! Once you have identified the habit that you want to change, start actively choosing to replace it with a desired habit. Example: If you pick up your phone every time the screen lights up, turn you phone face down or put it away while you are working. Remember, good things come to those who wait. You will not be able to change a habit over night, so take it one day at a time.
Take time for yourself
We wake up with the blaring of the alarm that jolts us awake – several times if you’re addicted to the snooze button – we have 15 minutes to shower and get ready for the day. We rush out the door only to get stuck in traffic, we turn the radio on to listen to the news (because we have to be well informed, of course.) You get to work, phones are ringing, customers are demanding your time and attention, your boss needs you to finish todays tasks early because she wants to send them in, you eat a processed lunch from a fast food place, but at least you’re making a living. On the way home, you have the radio on and phone stuck to your ear – you must be great at multitasking!
You arrive home and the kids need help with homework before you have to drive them to their little league game. After the game, the kids are starving, but you’re exhausted and pick up dinner – again. The kids are finally in bed and all you want to do is close your eyes and get ready to repeat the same thing the next day.
As a society we have made being “busy” equivalent to being “successful” however, is that really the case? Where do YOU fit into YOUR day? You are constantly being pulled in every direction from people who need your time, attention, or knowledge but you’re not giving yourself the time and attention you need.
Don’t be so busy trying to get to your destination and that you forget where you’re going.
Start by giving yourself 5 minutes a day to simply be present with yourself, your thoughts and feelings. Soon you will want more and start to carve out even more time for yourself. During this time you will likely discover ways to work smarter, not harder. Remember, not always being available could make people respect you and your time more.
If I continue down my current path, where will I be next year? In 5 years?
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