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What’s the issue with Procrastination?
One of the biggest problems we face, as people who are low in confidence, is our propensity to procrastinate. We think if we put something off enough, eventually it’ll go away and we won’t have to deal with it. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. What you resist persists. The more you try to push an issue, or difficult situation away, the more effort it puts into causing trouble.
Here’s an example… I used to hate doing the dishes. I’d do absolutely anything else, if it meant I didn’t have to stand in my kitchen and wash up. I’d put up shelves, change the bed, watch some drivel on the TV, anything that wasn’t cleaning dishes.
The problem was, surprisingly, the dishes would never wash themselves. So, after I’d done all this stuff I didn’t need to do, the dishes would still have to be washed. And I’d wasted at least a couple of hours, delaying the inevitable.
Then, one day I thought, I’ve gotta wash up eventually anyway, so I’ll see how long it actually takes me… less than 10 minutes. So for years, I’d been wasting hours of my life doing stuff that didn’t need doing. Just so I didn’t have to spend 10 minutes doing something I didn’t want to do… and I still ended up doing it anyway.
Procrastination affects everything
Most things in life are the same. We spend an inordinate amount of time delaying things we’re gonna end up doing anyway. So, wherever possible, as Nike says… Just Do It!
Most of the time, you’ll find it’s the idea of doing those things that causes the problems, rather than the actual thing itself. An extreme example is public speaking. Speaking in front of a group of people we don’t know, is the biggest issue reported by sufferers of low self-confidence. But, it’s not the actual speech that causes us the problem, it’s likely that we’ve we got everything we’re going to say written down perfectly.
It’s the thoughts we’re having about what could go wrong, that cause us to panic and stress us out. So, we might spend days worrying about this 5 minute report we’ve got to give, when really, worrying about it just makes it worse. By the time we’ve spent 2 days. or even sometimes, 2 weeks stressing about how bad it’s going to be, we’ve completely talked ourselves out of any confidence we had in the first place.
And if speaking in public is a problem you’ve got, there’s a free ebook available on the website that can help you with that, but you get my point.
If someone had said to you one morning, I’ve got a problem, Joe has had to pull out of presenting the weekly report in an hour. You know all about it and the details are all written down, can you just go through the sheet with everyone? Sure, you’d be bit stressed, but you’d Just Do It! Mainly because you haven’t had time to think about what could go wrong. It’s the procrastinating about it that gives us the time to find all the unlikely problems.
Make a decision to halt procrastination
So, make a point that, whatever it is, if it takes less than than say, 10 minutes, you’re just going to do it. What’s the worst that can happen, you’re going to experience the worst 10 minutes of your life so far. But, at the end of the day, you’d have had a powerful learning experience. Either, it was one of the worst experiences ever, in which case you’ll know what avoid next time. Or, it won’t be as bad as you thought, and then you’ve had another successful experience to add to your collection.
I know that the thought of doing some things can bring up thoughts of huge previous failures. But they’re not generally things that only take 10 minutes. If things that take 10 minutes is too much, try doing things that only take 5 minutes and work up to the 10 minute things.
Doing these little things that scare you as often as possible, starts to build a wall of resilience around you. So, as you do more and more things, you begin to realise that not everything is going to end in disaster. And that in turn, makes you more confident about what you’re capable of in the future.
Just remember, it’s the negative thoughts about an event that cause us the problems, not the actual event itself. And if you can make the decision to do these short scary things whenever they come up, your mind will get used to it, and they won’t be as scary afterwards. And you can build from there.
The main thing to remember, is to keep to small things in the beginning. If you try to just do something that really freaks you out at the moment, you’ll end up pushing yourself in the opposite direction. So, keep it simple and build from there.
If you have any questions, or comments, please leave them in the comments section below.
Podcast music: Is ‘Sweet Life’ by Twisterium.
Music Link: https://www.twisterium.com