As a lifelong procrastinator, I finally have fully embraced the mantra “do it now!” I had a habit of putting things off until the last minute for many reasons. At no time is dealing with procrastination more relevant than in our “bonus years”. At this fabulous time in mid-life, I am so grateful for each morning, particularly when I reflect upon those for whom their life ended far too soon. So, putting off the important things in my life was a luxury I no longer could afford.
Here are my 3 challenging issues and keys to help you do what’s important now, with less procrastination.
Issue #1: I thought everything should be done perfectly or it just wasn’t good enough for others or myself, so I put things off and not get started on projects. I’d get so close to the deadline and find myself running out of time and say, “well, I just didn’t have enough time for it to be perfect.” It somehow justified I couldn’t possibly have done it perfectly.
Key #1: I realized “perfection” simply doesn’t exist….there will always be something better at some point in time, and someone else’s definition on what’s perfect. What might be a perfect meal or perfect experience is only so at that moment…it’s relative to timing and how I experience it.
Action: Now, I ask myself—Does this truly give me pleasure now or will it in the foreseeable future? Is this result fine for the situation, the amount of time and the amount of energy I am willing to invest? Is it really that important?
Issue #2: I thought I had all the time and energy in the world. Everything felt unlimited to me.
Key #2: I truly believe I do have “enough” time and “enough” energy to live a full, valuable life. However, it no longer feels unlimited today where there are more years lived than years ahead for me. (Ok, let’s not get into the philosophical or spiritual perspectives at this time—that’s another conversation entirely.) I have come to terms with the fact I have a finite amount of time left on this planet. I also know I have the same 24 hours in the day as everyone else.
Action: Now, I am more aware of what I’m doing, who I’m spending time with, and how I feel throughout the day’s activities.
Issue #3: Scrambling and sliding into a deadline to finish something gave me an adrenaline high and I really believed I did my best work under pressure. (After all, I received many “A’s” on term papers, written during those infamous “all-nighters”! )
Key #3: I still love the feeling, but have found ways to experience “the highs of life” in other, healthier ways. I also know I do not do my best work under pressure—that was flawed, outdated and just bad logic!
Action: Now, I’ve learned that pre-planning, setting a reasonable schedule to get things done, and allow for time to review and revise along the way, I have saved money, have had better things show up, and had time to truly enjoy the process.
Simply start from right where you are! Something small, a baby step, move in the direction of your dreams….right now!
There has been research that shows that actually making resolutions is useful. That if you do you will be 10 times more likely to achieve your goal than if you had not made the resolution! This year I did not make any. Does that mean I don’t have plans or expect to achieve big things? Nope!!!! I expect great things. Let me explain.
There was a study done at Brigham Young University that compared what people said and what the expected outcome was. Here are the results…pretty interesting.
The people that made the statement “that’s a good idea”, had a 10% chance of making a change.
“I’ll do it” statements stood a 25% chance of success.
By stating “when” you will do it your chance of success goes up to 40%.
Set a DETAILED PLAN and success rate increases to 50%.
Those that committed to SOMEONE ELSE that they would do it, moved their odds up to 60%, and of those that set a specific time to SHARE THEIR PROGRESS with someone else, 95% were likely to reach their goals.
I did just that. I wrote out a SPECIFIC PLAN, I put a TIME FRAME on each item, I shared it with my Mastermind Group, and I will check in MONTHLY at our dinner to update what I have done, or not done. This is great for me because I have a group of trusted, respected people who offer encouragement and constructive advice when we get together every month.
Interestingly, there are only four of us in our group. We are all in very different businesses, with very different lives and a genuine affection for each other. I encourage anyone who wants to meet a goal to find a group of a few people you enjoy and respect to begin your own Mastermind group. Ours has been meeting every month for nearly five years, and we all make it a priority. We all have had our successes and our challenges and the support has helped each and every one of us when we needed it most. This is an example of what the strength of women working with women can achieve. Give it a try and let us know what happens.
Join Nancy and Cherryll as they talk about how “You are the most important person in your life.”
What’s your touchstone? Join our conversation to find out about ours.
Join us as we discuss the changing of the seasons.
In times of major transitions, we impatiently want to leap ahead of ourselves and onto the next thing. Often without much thought. In my experience, this rarely works….the best forward movement in these times seems to be by small turtle steps. Remember the tortoise and the hare? Most of us have moved through our lives like that rabbit….hopping along and moving quickly. We dart around to get where we need to be, avert possible disasters, and react to the immediate situation.
Now consider the turtle who slowly moves ahead and arrives (in the story at least) well before the rabbit shows up. Another thing about the turtle, she has everything she needs with her. Aren’t we really more like a turtle at this stage in our lives as we move forward with all we need, including self-protection? It simply requires slower, smaller steps along the way.
I am learning this “turtle step” business. Before, I would add to my ever-expanding “to-do”list—write book, run 1/2 marathon, lose 20 pounds, and take vacation. Could I do any of these in one giant leap? Of course not. Plus each of them is overwhelming in magnitude and would stress me out. I either sat frozen in place or darted around like a crazy rabbit!
When I break the big stuff down to one small thing at a time, it feels inconsequential, but surprisingly it gets done. And that leads me to the next small step and then the next…and before you know it, I’m there.
So, wherever “there” is for you….start with a small step. And before you know it, you’ll arrive at your destination.
It’s so important to just “start where you are”. It might be scary, but join us, and jump right in to whatever you want to try! It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to get started.