My most embarrassing procrastination moment

sorry

It’s Day 3 of my giveaway of The Now Habit by Neil Fiore. It’s outrageously helpful in battling procrastination. Click here for rules on how to enter the draw. Good luck!

In the spirit of us sharing a story of when we procrastinated and it was baaaaad I thought I’d share too. One time I was connecting with a donor to my organization. They were a sweet couple that I knew from Church. They had invited me to dinner. For whatever reason that I cannot remember, I had to call to reschedule. I was pretty nervous about rescheduling because it’s usually pretty tacky. So I put it off, which anyone knows is a really bad idea when it comes to giving people warning that you’re not going to be able to make the engagement. Then, like most scenarios with procrastination, I forgot about it. I get a call one evening and the kind lady asks if everything was OK in arriving to their place for dinner.

I had never canceled. I was busy at my other (apparently) more important arrangement.

I was beyond mortified. I saw her at church the following Sunday and I’m confidence her perspective of me had completely shattered. I asked to reschedule and she brushed it off, obviously no longer interested. It was bad. Really, really bad.

That, my friends, is only one example of ways I’ve let myself and others down because I just haven’t faced the facts that I was a procrastinator. I’m still a recovering procrastinator.

Now it’s your turn. Share your story in the comments and you’ll be entered to win a copy of The Now Habit! Too scared to share yours? Trust me, take a look at what some other people have written and you’ll feel less singled-out.

Off course 90% of the time…

It’s Day 2 of my giveaway of The Now Habit by Neil Fiore. It’s outrageously helpful in battling procrastination. Click here for rules on how to enter the draw. Good luck!

appolloHere’s an excerpt from The Now Habit that I found enlightening.

“In his book Peak Performance, Charles Garfield tells us that the trajectory of the Apollo moon rocket was off course 90 percent of the time. By acknowledging the deviations from the expected path, the scientists were able to repeatedly make the necessary corrections and achieve an imperfect, but adequate, trajectory to the moon. They achieved a major breakthrough by sticking to the mission in spite of numerous setbacks.”

 

Announcing Giveaway #2

now habitA year and a half ago I decided to face my problem with procrastination. As with a lot of things in my life, the first step is to read a book. I picked up a book on my Kobo called The Now Habit by Neil Fiore. It came well recommended by reviewers online so I gave it a shot. I was surprised at how insightful and helpful it was. It was like the author was in my head telling me things about myself that I didn’t even know about me. The book is pretty dense with information and I didn’t get very far before I put it down and started mulling over what he was saying and seeing if I could identify those things in my life too and make some changes.

I picked the book up again the other day and continued reading. Guys, this book is GOLD. This book is to procrastinators as Dr. Henry Cloud’s book Boundaries is for people pleasers: it’s transformational.

The author addresses things like fear, our negative self talk, taking adult responsibility for our choices and our lives. It’s fascinating and challenging.

I want you to benefit from it. I’m going to post a bit about the book this week as well as doing another giveaway.

The Rules

  1. Leave a comment here sharing the time you felt the worst about your procrastination. What did you put off? What was at stake? How did you feel after?
  2. You will gain another entry for every social share (Facebook, Twitter, G+ etc), as well as if you follow by RSS, or by email. Leave a separate comment here telling me if you tweeted or shared on Facebook etc.

The role of vision in goal achievement

vision

Source: Nomadic Lass

The last week I’ve been mulling over the concept of vision and how it can motivate us as well as give us drive that we might not otherwise have. In connection with this, I’ve been thinking a lot about the shift that happened in my life that led to me starting this blog. I think it really has to do with a renewed vision of what my life could be. It was through that heart-capturing renewed vision that motivated me to make important changes in my life. Here’s what I mean:

Last fall I blogged these words,

A few weeks ago I was reading the ebook You Are A Writer by Jeff Goins. He wrote something that really got under my skin.

“Not too long after the race, I woke up early one morning, drank some coffee, and went for a five-mile run. After that, I wrote a few pages for my book and went to work.  

That evening, I looked back on the day and I was shocked by all I had accomplished. Getting up early, running five miles, writing over a thousand words — where did all this discipline come from?”

Those words really agitated me. I stayed up late that night talking with my husband about it. I hated that I didn’t have the discipline to have the discipline to run. I hated that I cared so much what people thought of me. I hated that I wanted to pursue writing, but there were things holding me back and I couldn’t figure it out. That night as we were talking I realized that my personal idol of acceptance/caring what people thought of me was the biggest problem standing in my way.

“I don’t want to be this person!” I exclaimed. Willy thought I was concerned with my weight, but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that I was letting things get in my way from getting what I wanted out of life, from achieving my goals. When I was a teenager I decided that I wanted to accomplish some things in life and I was going to do what I could in my power to make those happen. It’s one thing if Providence moves those things out of the realm of possibility, but at least I could say I did my best with my circumstances. That’s what I want to be about.

Those goals acted as a vision for what my life could be. They were things I wanted to be true of me. I imagined the next 60 years flying by and me ‘not having the time’ to make these changes and regretting it. Let me be clear: the things that I wanted to change were accents to my life. They were the pops of colour in a wardrobe, or the jewellery to complete the outfit. I am very happy with my marriage, my work, my life in Montreal in general. It was the “less important” things that I wasn’t happy with: the lack of hobbies (not that I didn’t have ideas of what I wanted to do, I just didn’t have the confidence or self-discipline to start). I will write more on this later.

Vision and belief

The first step was having vision or a picture of what things could be otherwise. This is beyond “wouldn’t it be cool if?” and more along the lines of “this is what it could be!” The next obstacle to surmount was to decide whether it was even reasonable. I’m a pretty rational person. I’m often too rational to the point where it can hurt people’s feelings, or I forget the people within the problems I’m trying to solve. I didn’t want to set myself up for inevitable public failure. I wanted to be somewhat sure that I could do these things. As I evaluated, I realized they were pretty reasonable. The one thing standing in my way was fear.

I refuse to let fear run my life.

Recognizing the obstacles

Recognizing the obstacles helped me find the resolve to overcome them after coaching myself into believing that they weren’t as important as I thought they were. Who cared what people thought? Who cared if people laughed and scoffed? Was their opinion more important than my own self-perception? Not a chance. The fact was, I was not happy with the momentum my laziness was gaining. It was humbling and embarrassing to come to terms with the fact that my laziness wasn’t Who I was but more like What I was allowing myself to be. It’s hard to change our nature, it might be even impossible! What we can learn is discipline and grow in maturity as a person if we identify the areas we’re lacking.

But it all started with a vision of the person I could be.

What about you? What do you want to have accomplished in 50 years? Are there things that require changing in your life now to achieve them? Do you believe you can change ? Share your goals or ideas in the comments here.

Confessions of a Recovering Procrastinator: Tip Number 5

When I wrote the post I published monday about procrastination I had to face a very unfortunate reality. Not only had I procrastinated in publishing that post, I had also procrastinated in a series of other things in my life. I made reference to this relating to my reimbursements and stuff. Today I spent three hours on reimbursements alone that I had put off since September. I have six piles of receipts waiting at the office for me to finish up in the morning.

I haven’t run in three weeks. This morning was a painful reminder of that as it was sunny out! And if I had looked at the weather forecast to even try to plan a run, I would have known it wouldn’t be raining and I could have run.

Might I add that I haven’t really done any element of my morning routine in the last few weeks other than wake up at 6:45, only to roll over and sleep for another 45 minutes?

I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from friends and family about this blog. People are telling me that they appreciate how honest I am about my successes and failures. Chalk one up for another in the failure category.

But! All is not lost. I was determined to set the ‘reset’ button today by diving into those reimbursements. I did have to break up the time so as to not go completely bonkers in the process. I went out for a walk and did some errands and came back to finish it. It felt good. It didn’t have to take 3 hours if I had done it regularly throughout the semester (like I had made my staff do! Gulp.). Yet, there was another moment in my day when a reminder popped up for me to start the next project and my first reaction was “put that off, it’s scary.” I half did. I thought about next steps for that problem and then stopped for another project that was way less difficult.

1. It’s Not Pointless

If you’re anything like me, killing procrastination sometimes feels pointless. “I’ll do it some other time when I have more character,” or whatever our excuses are. We know we need to do it because it’s really not helping our life very much, we know we need to do it as a part of ‘growing up’ and ‘surviving the real world’ yet it can be so darn intimidating.

2. Win the ‘war’, lose some battles

The lie I believed for a long time is that one failure equals total failure. This is not true. We can lose a battle but win the war. Learning this has helped me have big wins like today when I actually faced that literal pile of crumpled receipts and still walk away OK with the fact that I didn’t win every battle I faced. “That’s cheesy to call it a battle, Jess, it’s not that big of a deal.” Maybe. But for me sometimes it feels like a really big deal. A really big deal that through wins and loses I want to come out on top.

4 Tips for Procrastinators

A twitter friend recently asked her followers to keep her accountable to going to the gym that day. As I followed up with her to see if she did, I asked her if she noticed how good it felt to actually keep to her word. That’s something I’ve really noticed recently as I’ve been starting to run. Every time I did it, not only did the exercise feel good, but doing what I said I would felt even better. For those of you who are not procrastinators you may not be very familiar with this feeling because you’re used to just doing things.

I am not.

My name is Jess and I am a procrastinator. I am a terrible procrastinator even though I am a lot better than I was as a teenager. I think procrastinators know how much procrastinating is like drugs. You do it, it feels really good in the moment, but after it feels terrible because there are consequences to your procrastination. It’s this awful cycle of procrastinating, feeling overwhelmed by the tasks, then procrastinating more to feel in control, and then the tasks pile up etc.

But I’m a recovering procrastinator! I have learned a few things about myself. Here are 4 key things that have helped me just do it when I don’t want to.

1. It doesn’t feel good.

I have come to recognize that the cycle doesn’t feel good and it feels much better to actually do stuff NOW. A lot of times I need to coach myself and remind myself of previous times when the reward for doing it now was much greater than putting it off. It goes a bit like this: “Remember the last time you went for a run even though you didn’t want to and it was your favourite one? And it felt so good to not let your laziness rule your life?”

2. The problem you’re trying to avoid will be bigger and badder if you don’t face it.

If you put off approving this reimbursement right now like you said you would, it will go into a pile of things to do that will pile up more and more until the pile is actually overwhelming instead of just appearing an overwhelming. Not confronting this person right now will make it much harder and likely more messy later on. No one wants that. If I take the time to think through the consequences of my procrastination I usually see that it isn’t worth it.

3. You can build momentum by just doing it.

I found this as I was starting to run. I did it and it was good, which motivated me to do it again, which was exciting, which motivated me to do it again, which was thrilling. Every day I didn’t put it off I found I gained more momentum in just doing it because I hadn’t let that good feeling of doing it wear off or did diminish. If you stick to your plan, you don’t feel that guilt. The last two weeks I have nott run, yet I didn’t procrastinate. I didn’t run because the sidewalks were icy and I was trying to figure out what was next for me. I didn’t let guilt build (which often promotes procrastination because you feel crappy and disempowered) because I gave myself grace to figure out this new situation. I’m still excited for my next run when I have the opportunity and I won’t put it off.

4. Procrastination is a sign of disorganization in my life.

The reimbursement example was me. I also have two other finance related things that have been put off since August that I keep forgetting because I got out of the habit of using my system I first blogged about. These are important signs to me that my life is piling up and I’m not managing it properly. It’s a sign to me that I’m making poor choices. It’s a sign I need to re-evaluate and get back to that. I read a very important book a few years ago called Organizing Your Private World which talked about how if our inner, personal life was out-of-order there would likely be evidence in the “real” world. Messy desks, filled up inboxes, piled up laundry, empty fridges to name a few examples. For me it means I’m feeling overwhelmed and I need to get back on top of things. By staying on top of my inner life (do I feel overwhelmed and stressed? Or empowered and inspired?) I am better able to manage my outer life. Sometimes though, like today, I just need to hit ‘reboot’ and get control of my life again. With time, I think it will become more and more natural.

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