We Put Things Off
Do It Now
How to Prevent Procrastination
Q & A
Being productive makes you feel great, so why do you put things off and drive everyone including yourself crazy. Why? Because you’re human.
All of us put things off sometimes, so all of us can relate. We know that the job has to be done and will get done - eventually - sometimes by somebody else because they simply can’t wait – but we still don’t ‘do it now.’ It’s always later.
The topic for the July issue of Powerful Living is productivity.
Why do we fight it when we actually enjoy being productive? Like I said, all of us put things off occasionally. But, for some of us, procrastination becomes an ingrained habit. It becomes a way of life, driving everyone crazy.
Joseph Ferrari, a psychology researcher at DePaul University found that when procrastination becomes a lifestyle, procrastinators put off everything, everywhere – at work, at home, and even socially – and they are not happy campers. Their behavior makes them anxious and this can even lead to depression.
Most of us aren’t that bad. Occasionally, we put things off but it doesn’t consume us.
Why do we put things off?
They have low tolerance for frustration –and we’re stressed out a lot because things don’t always work out the way we’d like them to.
If this is you, think of what you’re telling yourself. Chances are you’re thinking negatively. You’re saying that you ‘can’t’ or the job is too hard. Then you dodge the uncomfortable thoughts, by diverting your attention into something else - the internet, video games, chat rooms, phone, TV, you name it. There’s no lack of things to do to escape what has to be done.
Procrastination is common among perfectionists. You’d think that these people would not put anything off, because it goes against being perfect. Not so. Perfectionists prefer to let others think they’re not trying, too busy, or whatever…..rather than let them know they can’t do it or they have a problem with the job..
Do It Now!!
How to Prevent Procrastination
1) Acknowledge that you don’t like what you have to do.
2) Notice what you’re saying to yourself and then stop it.
3) Challenge yourself to do a small part of the job – a manageable part – then take a break, but set a time limit - 10 minutes.
4) After 10 minutes, decide whether you want to continue - once you’re involved, chances are you will.
5) Keep your goals small and reward yourself after each goal is achieved.
6) Don’t beat yourself up with guilt.
7) Remember -you are not lazy.
8) Time management won’t work, but procrastinators often underestimate time. Add 20 – 30 minutes extra to your schedule.
This behavior may have developed as childhood rebellion, but it can have huge consequences in your adult life. By changing your behavior, you’ll increase your productivity, and achieve self satisfaction. It’s worth doing it for yourself and everyone around you.
Unhealthy Behaviors (smoking, emotional eating etc)
If you recognize any of these traits in yourself, follow these techniques to reduce stress, and keep working at it. This is a slow process. Use this newsletter as a reminder that you have to do every day. New habits change slowly and need repetition.
Techniques for Stress Management.
Managing Time Put yourself on a schedule – and write things down. When everything is spinning in your head it causes more stress. Prioritize your day/week and it becomes manageable.
Coping Skills Ask yourself how stress is affecting you and others around you. Think of alternative ways that could work instead of what you’ve been doing – and try them out.
Ask for Help Let other people know how you’re feeling. If you're lucky enough to have a supportive family or friendship network talking to them is a great stress reliever. Reach out.
Exercise Any exercise gets you out of your head and frees your thoughts. You have to be positive to make positive changes.
Do a Feel-Good Activity – a hobby, meditation tapes, volunteer work – something that validates you.
Learn to Relax – and don’t give yourself excuses not to do them eg: aromatherapy, tai chi, massage, breathing exercises etc
Don’t focus on the Future Concentrate on now. You don’t have a crystal ball so you’re only stressing yourself out with your own insecurities – you are not a prophet so stop driving yourself crazy. Make the most of the present, then you can create a positive future.
Celebrate Success Compliment yourself on your successful changes. If you’re only negative you hold yourself back.
Sometimes the stress feels too much for you, or you don’t want to share with a friend or family member. In this case, contact a therapist, a counselor or religious leader.
or send me and e-mail if you need advice.
You’re not weak if you cry or express anger appropriately. It’s important to let out your feelings – but it’s also important to learn new strategies so you don’t have to cause yourself and others an unreasonable amount of pressure.
The following question was chosen from the many questions that I received on last months e-zine. It was printed with the author’s permission.
Can you please tell me if stress changes the way you think? My mind sometimes goes blank and I can’t remember things. Also I have sleep problems. Can this be stress?
Absolutely! I’m sure you know of students who’ve blanked out during an exam – and they knew the work. This is due to stress. Stress can also make you impulsive, and do and say things that you wouldn’t ordinarily do. It can make you forgetful because your mind is overloaded. Long periods of stress can lower your immune system and then you’re more susceptible to colds and illnesses. You are also more likely to suffer from anxiety, headaches, back and neck pain, insomnia, heart palpitations and panic disorders.
Before you go to sleep do something relaxing to take your mind off the pressure of the day: listen to music, drink warm milk, avoid sugar etc. Don’t get worked up ex. play or work on the computer, get into an argument, think negative thoughts.
If you need more help consider speaking to a family doctor or mental health professional who can evaluate your symptoms.
Let me know how it works out.
If you have a question or wish to add a personal story to help others, tell me and with your permission you can
share it in the zine.
Productivity: Are you on top of your game?
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