Have you ever been frustrated with yourself for not getting done everything you wanted to? Have you ever found yourself panicking to get things finished at the end of the day and remembering all that time you wasted earlier in the day faffing around? It’s something we see every day at the clinic. People have been putting off coming for physiotherapy or sports therapy to get their injury sorted. When they finally do they feel so much better about it. It’s a relief.
Today’s blog looks to help you apply the principles we use in the clinic to get people to take action with their injury and apply them to your everyday life. Of course if you are injured you should stop procrastinating reading countless articles on your condition and pick up the phone and book in with us. See what I did there?!
Before continuing on my merry procrastinating way I feel I should credit firstly Bev Maxted from Process Through Change. It was her inspiring talk last week that has lead to me sharing all this wonderful information with you good people. Secondly, Brighton Chamber of Commerce who put on the event as part of their bite-sized learning programme. For any Brighton based entrepreneurs I can heartily recommend the chamber and the events they run. It’s good to feel a part of something.
What Exactly Is Procrastinating?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as: “To delay or postpone action; put off doing something. Alternative: Putting off until tomorrow what should have been done today.”
In real terms of course it’s when you want to get something done but something is stopping you from actually doing it. In injury terms it might be that you’re scared that it won’t be able to be fixed. Or that someone will tell you there is nothing that can be done. The logical side of your brain of course knows this is nonsense. But it doesn’t stop the thought arising in your head.
In day to day life it may be that you do everything other than what you need to get done because it’s boring. Perhaps you don’t know how to do it and that puts you off.
Why Do I Procrastinate?
It may be that it’s a habit formed during school exams. Cramming all the revision in the night before the exam. It probably wasn’t a great strategy then. It’s certainly not a great one now but it’s how you’ve always done things. You’re not alone!
It could be that you’re easily distracted. I know I feel better if I can just cross things off my epic to do list. It doesn’t matter that they’re not even remotely important but it makes me feel momentarily better that the to do list is one item less. Of course that means the big important items of work just get put back and put back putting me under more and more stress. It’s a vicious circle that’s taken years to perfect!
You may be waiting for the perfect time to do something. The right place. To have the right amount of money. Sadly none of these things will ever happen as perfect just isn’t possible. By its very definition.
A classic reason for not getting round to things is simply not knowing how to do something. We keep mulling it over in our heads, over and over again. Fear is a classic problem that can hold us back. Thinking that you’ll look worse if you do something and fail rather than not do it at all. It’s ok to fail. I have to deal with it all the time. As much as it pains me I am not able to fix everyone. It’s just not possible, I’ve tried! As a colleague once said “I’m good, but I’m not God!”
Fear comes on when things get big and scary. Some projects are almost too big and intimidating to take on. You feel like you need an army of people to help you and there’s no way you’ll be able to achieve it all alone. You could ask for help but you don’t want to show weakness or look stupid.
It really is quite impressive what depths the human brain can go to to make us feel bad! But fear no longer. These emotions are simply part of being human. Stay calm, don’t climb inside these emotions and keep reading…
How Do I Feel When I Procrastinate?
Annoyed. That’s how I feel. Frustrated with myself for faffing around so much it heaps more pressure on myself. I already have enough to do thank you very much! You may feel guilty for not getting things done. It may feed into any self doubt issues you may have and make you feel more anxious. It can even make you end up feeling helpless.
On the flip side we may find it reassuring. It may give us a false sense of security by avoiding something so that you don’t have to face it just yet. You can feel vindicated in how busy you are as I do. You can look at your to do list and see how much you have achieved. The fact that all you achieved was very low priority if neither here nor there!
How Do I Feel When I Stop Procrastinating?
The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! It can be a liberating feeling. You may feel a sense of relief. Like for a example when I finish writing this Blog! You gain a lovely sense of achievement. Maybe you even feel some freedom. You feel released from the shackles of your own procrastinating.
Perversely for some it can be a time for further negative self chat. Berating yourself for not doing things sooner and saving yourself all the aggravation. Chastising yourself for not learning from making the same mistake countless times before.
How Do I Stop Procrastinating?
We’ve chuntered through quite a lot of negative internal chat there so now’s time to put a more positive spin on things. What can we do to make life better, take pressure off ourselves and be more relaxed in our new found super-efficiency?
Of course this will be individual for everyone have a read of the list below and see what works best for you.
1. Remove Distractions
This is an absolute gem for me personally. I’ve spent countless hours trying to write witty, entertaining, relevant blogs – one day I might even get there! But the amount of time I waste by losing my focus. A new email comes in that all of sudden becomes the most important email ever and commands immediate action. Then I answer a couple more emails just to tidy up my inbox. Then I remember something that needs to be done so I add that to my to do list and whilst I’m there I realise that there’s something else that needs my urgent attention. By the time I’ve gone through a couple of iterations I’ve forgotten what I was doing in the first place!
Phone off. Email shut down. Locked door. Favourite tunes as required. Get it done!
2. Follow The 5-minute Rule
The 500 page epic that is my to do list. There is a school of thought that says you should only have 3 items on your to do list at any one time. Personally I like to get ideas in my head out on paper or at least onto a word document – otherwise my head explodes when there is too much in it.
With the simple 5 minute rule we can reduce the amount on our to do lists and increase efficiency. If you haven’t guessed already the rule is if it takes less than 5 minutes just do it. Genius!
3. Don’t Be A Perfectionist
I may have mentioned this already and many times in previous posts. I also have to frequently remind the wife that perfect isn’t possible. So why bother trying. Good is usually good enough. Spend your time getting your work to a suitable standard and move on. Don’t spend excess time on perfecting it creating more work and stress for yourself. Maybe it’s easier to get someone else to check through your work as a fresh pair of eyes.
4. Make A Smart To Do List
This is a new one for me. I think it’s got much potential. On your to do list for the day or week only put the things that you are avoiding doing. That way you will get those annoying things done that you’ve been meaning to do for ages. Nice and liberating. Free that mind!
5. Break Things Down
How do you eat an elephant? A little bit at a time. It sounds so simple when you put it like that. As mentioned above some tasks are just big and scary. The only way to even get it started is to break it into manageable chunks. Another key thing to remember is that you don’t have to know exactly how you’re going to get to the end goal. It’s not possible to have an answer to every problem that will need solving along the way.
Just think of landing on the moon. The idea came first. Then they figured how they were going to manage it.
6. Ask For Help
Too many of us are too proud to ask for help. Maybe you feel it shows weakness. Certainly this is something I’ve been guilty of in the past. These days I’m quite the opposite trying to find anyone and everyone who can help get further down the dreaded to do list!
7. List Why You’re Procrastinating
Write a list of the reasons why you’re not doing what you should be. When you’ve finished go through the list and cross out any that are an excuse not a reason. If you have any left at the end make these ones a priority to enable you to get on with the original job.
8. Go Public
Shame yourself publicly! If you tell everyone you know that you’re going to get something done by a certain point in time it may motivate you to actually get it done. I think you have to be of a particular mind set for this one. Personally I’m very proficient at shaming myself and beating myself up if I don’t get something done!
9. Pick A Role Model
Visualise someone you know who has already achieved what you are trying to achieve. Picturing it being done can inspire you to do it. I’d love you to pick me as your role model but I’ve procrastinating about my post on procrastination! Do as I say, not as I do.
Finally, as the classic Nike ad simply states, JUST DO IT. Just get on with it. Even if you don’t know exactly where it’s going to take you. If you have been mulling over various options on how to do something. Pick one and try and find any reason not to do it that way. If you can’t find one then just get on with it. You’ll feel better for it. If it wasn’t the right way and you come up with a better way whilst doing it then great.
Procrastinating is a frustrating and stress inducing process that we only really have ourselves to blame for. Hopefully the information above will have given you fresh hope and ideas on how to to put in place some life changes to help reduce the stress we are all causing ourselves.
Are we ever going to be the perfect non-procrastinating super efficient pan-dimensional beings? Of course not. But if we take a step in the right direction then we will be better, happier, more relaxed and less prone to injury. I hope you people appreciate how much these posts do me out of business!
For those of you with injuries who’ve read this far without giving us a call get on with it! It can be scary making that first step to finally getting something sorted but we’re used to dealing with such feelings. As soon as you take steps to resolve the injury, or any problem for that matter you feel empowered and start feeling better already immediately. If you would like out help you know where we are!
If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy our post on getting more out of work: 10 Tips To Enjoy Work More And Avoid Injury.