A Simple Cure for Procrastination

We’ve all been there. We face a pile of undone To Do’s, and we don’t want to do them. Why? Nine times out of ten, the real reason is something we’d never suspect.

It’s not that we don’t want to do what’s on our list. We DO want to do those items.

But in the back of our little minds is something else, some impulse we’re struggling against. Some urge we’re fighting off with that guilty conscience or that forceful “get the planned work done first” edict. And the impulse may actually be a work-related task.

But in fighting that strong impulse, we’re sabotaging ourselves.

So, the truth to procrastination on a long To Do list is that we just don’t want to do those items right now. What we really want to do right now is something else.

The cure is to go ahead and do that one thing we’re longing to do, that’s not on the list, that’s driving us crazy in the background. Bring it to the fore, and do it.

Then we can get to work on our big list.

It’s amazing how effective this trick is. I can’t count how many times I’m supposed to write my weekly article or work on an editing project or vacuum the bedroom, and I just can’t seem to get myself in gear. In the past, I’d spent entire days feeling bad because I couldn’t force myself to get busy with my appointed tasks for the day.

Yet, because I’m so good at hiding things from myself, it took me years to realize my procrastination problems came from trying to ignore those desires I wasn’t allowing myself to acknowledge and act on. Maybe I just wanted to go for a walk. Maybe I felt like doing research instead of writing. Maybe instead of editing that day, I felt like cleaning house (I work from home, so I’m my own maintenance crew). Maybe a family problem was bothering me so much, I had a strong desire to call a family member to discuss it.

Whatever it is, these days I listen to my inner self. On any day when I can’t get going, I start looking deeper at what it is I really am wanting to do but have been shoving aside while trying to force myself to be productive on the tasks on my schedule. And as soon as I take care of that lurking interest, I find myself plunging right in and getting all my scheduled projects done.

Learning to hear those inner pleas for attention and going with that flow can make us even more productive than we ever thought possible. It’s fighting them that gets us into trouble.

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