You’re probably procrastinating for at least one of three reasons, but what are you missing out on in the process? Today’s post will help you stop procrastinating and start loving your life again.
It’s day three of our Soul Decluttering challenge, and today we’re going to talk about something we’d probably rather put off… procrastinating.
I just might be the world’s best procrastinator. If I don’t want to do something, I can come up with a hundred valid and very convincing reasons why later is the best time to pursue it.
Sink full of dirty dishes? I should spend time with the kids. I’ll take care of it when they’re in bed.
Entryway full of junk? I can do inside work any time. We should enjoy this beautiful weather while it lasts!
This pile of stuff needs to be donated. Why make a separate trip? I’ll deal with it next time I’m out.
If there was an Olympics for procrastinating, I’d take home the gold every time.
For example, this book has been sitting on my shelves for at least seventeen years. Want to guess how many times I’ve read it?
If you guessed a big fat zero, you are correct! The irony is not lost on me.
Unfortunately, this habit isn’t limited to one area of my life. I’ve also found myself putting off pursuing dreams, and nothing’s worse than realizing you’ve wanted to do something for years and taken little to no action to make that dream become a reality. (Ask me how I know!)
I think our reasons for procrastinating usually boil down to a few things: avoidance, perfectionism, or fear.
Not wanting to complete an unpleasant task is understandable. After all, who likes to do things that are unpleasant? When we’re dreading doing something, it’s easy to come up with a million reasons why it can wait, but what if we’re only making things worst for ourselves in the long run?
If life’s taught us anything, I’m sure it’s that sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do, and the only thing worse than having to do something we don’t want to do is having to do a bunch of things we don’t want to do!
When we avoid tasks that have to be done, our dreads grow. We end up feeling bogged down and overwhelmed by things we hate, which is a horrible way to live.
Instead of putting off these tasks, we should approach them in one of two ways: what needs to be done and what can be stopped.
Some of the tasks we dread are things we don’t really need to do. We can either remove them from our life or delegate them to others. This way, they can be taken care of by someone else, thereby freeing up time and energy for our own lives.
If there’s a task that needs to be done (dishes, cleaning the bathroom, cat litter… ugh), and it can’t be delegated, ask yourself how long that task really takes to complete, and if you have the time, just get it done! I’ve found that, more often than not, the tasks that I dread and put off indefinitely actually take very little time to complete. Once it’s done, I feel a hundred times better and always end up thinking, “What took me so long to do that?!”
Sometimes, we put tasks off because we’re worried or know that we won’t be able to complete them perfectly. We want to research, research, research and are convinced we don’t actually have the knowledge or skills we need to get started. We get stuck in “analysis paralysis” and then wonder why things don’t change.
The truth is that we’ll never do anything perfectly. Despite all our planning and revising, we’ll probably always be able to find ways we could improve upon what we’ve already done.
Furthermore, the best way to learn how to do something or improve current skills is to get started! We can learn so much from our successes and failures that we can never learn through just researching and studying.
Fear just might be the biggest motivator at all, at least for me. I think in some ways it’s even at the heart of these other issues.
We may fear completing a task because it would mean missing out on something else or not doing well enough on a task and embarrassing ourselves.
What we sometimes fail to realize is that by passing up on what we need to or should be doing, we’re siding with fear. We’re playing small in our own lives and missing out on some of the most important things we could ever experience!
Missing out on the joys of a happy, well organized home.
Missing out on the exhilaration of trying something new.
Missing out on the rewards of fulfilling our dreams.
Missing out on the peace experienced by living a life without a nagging to do list hanging over our heads.
When we side with fear and live small, we’re missing out on some of the best experiences we could be having, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to waste another minute not experiencing those things.
Today, we’re going to reflect on the tasks we usually put off doing.
- Without editing or judgment, make a big list of everything you put off and dread doing. There are no wrong answers here, but the first step to making any change is acknowledging what’s going on.
- Think about and write down why you put these tasks off. Is it avoidance, perfectionism, fear, or something else? Once we’re able to identify why we procrastinate, we can be proactive about changing things.
- What can you do about this task? Can you put an end to it or delegate it to someone else? Can you make it fun by asking a friend to do it with you or turning on the radio? If it must be done, how can you think about it differently so it doesn’t feel so dreadful or daunting? Instead of, “I hate doing the dishes” maybe thoughts like “I love how quickly I’m able to get this done” would help.
- Choose one task from your list, and get it done now! Be proud of yourself for taking action, and when you’re finished, enthusiastically scratch it off your list!
There are so many amazing experiences waiting for us on the other side of avoidance, perfectionism, and fear. Let’s not waste another minute not enjoying them.
Other posts in the Soul Decluttering series:
3 Reasons You’re Procrastinating & Why You Need to Stop (Day 3, this post!)