What is the one thing you should accomplish this week? Something that has to get done or else you are not moving towards the life you want? We all procrastinate sometimes but whatever the reason for putting things off, there are ways you can move through the discomfort and get uncomfortable things done.
It's time to prioritise and pick one task that's more important than anything else, something that will change your game and help you to take a major step towards your goals. Are you shying away from the task you know would make a huge difference? I know I have done exactly that in the past as it's scary to dream big. Allocating your time to bits and pieces will keep you looking and feeling busy. Big and important things are uncomfortable so we come up with all sorts of excuses, we start waiting for the right moment or inspiration to strike.
In the past five years, I've heard the dreams and goals of over 1,000 women and it's clear that we women are not held back by lack of role models or support. We are held back by procrastination. Action turns possibility into an opportunity.
If it feels like those possibilities are simply passing you by and you find yourself putting things off try these eight steps to remove obstacles and start doing the things you don't want to be doing. (Or find out that they weren't that important and take them off your to-do list forever).
1. Clear your mind from noise.
If you wake up in the morning with a lot of stress and disturbing noise in your mind it will be difficult to tackle uncomfortable tasks. 'Morning pages' is a great way to clear the mind from nonsense and self-doubt. Write down everything that's in your mind, yes every single thought - sensible or not - and this way empty the unnecessary and unhelpful thinking. Try to get 3 to 4 hand written pages done and throw the sheets out afterwards.
2. Start with your 'frog.'
The key to getting the uncomfortable task done is to start with it first thing in the morning. Open your email and half a day is gone before you know it. You must start with the task you are avoiding.
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day” said Mark Twain. Your 'frog' is the big thing you are most likely to procrastinate on. Brian Tracy says the key to reaching high levels of performance is to develop the lifelong habit of tackling your major task first thing each morning.
You must act immediately, according to Mel Robbins you have about 5 seconds before your mind starts providing excuses and help you to put off the task.
3. Establish the reason for avoidance.
Establish why you are avoiding the task. Write it down and be honest with yourself. There are two main reasons for avoidance: 1) The task is outside your comfort zone, or 2) the task isn't important at all, it doesn't sit within your authentic path.
If you are in the early stages of your journey to a more truthful life it may be difficult to distinguish between the two. Our mind is a master in making things up and creating a negative inner voice to avoid things that are outside of our comfort zone. But you may also be holding onto old patterns and the best thing to do would be to let go of the task completely.
Get still and connect with what is deeply important to you and you will find the answer. If it's important then get it done. If it's not, cross it off your list.
4. Forget perfection.
Perfection is the greatest enemy of progress. Whatever it is you should do this week, just make a start. Even a lousy effort is better than no effort at all. Get the ball rolling and then improve what you are doing.
5. Do it reluctantly.
Accept the fact that you will go into the job reluctantly. We don't have to enjoy everything we do. I think the fact that everyone is so desperately chasing happiness these days has led to an idea that we should be inspired and passionate about everything we do.
6. Take small steps.
Some tasks can be divided into sub-sections. Chop yours into five chunks and do one per day this week. If you have to deal with relationship issues (at work or in personal life) this strategy doesn't work, unfortunately. You just have to swallow the whole pill at once!
7. Root out doubt.
Do you find yourself doubting if what you have to do is really necessary, or are you afraid you might be disappointed if the massive effort you are going to put into your work may not yield the desired result? How will you ever find out? Can you take the risk not to try?
8. Imagine the worst case scenario.
If you still find yourself putting things off or waiting for inspiration (or a better moment, better weather, better alignment of the stars...) try to imagine the worst that can happen if you keep postponing the inevitable and the necessary. By putting things off you are delaying a chance to grow, succeed and to be on this exciting journey to a more authentic life.
Let's be brave and move through procrastination. Please do share your comments on what you have to tackle this week and how it's going!
This article originally appeared in Driven Woman.