Do something today that your future self will thank you for

Do something today that your future self will thank you for

As I sit here, racking my brain for an engaging topic, thoughts of “Clean Eating 101,” “Juggling Life,” “Finding Balance in Life” or “Priority Management” all spring to mind. Then, I realize that one of the biggest obstacles I put in my own way - something that makes all these ideas more challenging on a daily basis - is … procrastinating.  I mean, seriously, think about it. Do you hit the snooze button in the morning? Do you ever leave that heaping basket of clean, dry towels until tomorrow to fold? Do you put off meal prepping on the weekend and struggle to put together a healthy lunch during the week? Do you scan Instagram for hours at a time when you have other things you could be doing?

YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I admit it too … I procrastinate!

So, then, I’m thinking, WHY? Why do I procrastinate? Why do I put things off until later when it is probably much simpler and more efficient to do them now?

Well, what about feeling tired? Nah. I’m sure none of us is so fatigued, out of energy and just plain exhausted by the end of a full day or week that one last thing - like folding laundry - seems like the largest, most insurmountable task that anyone could think of at that given moment, are we? Well, … yes! Yes we are! We’re only human right? There is a limit! So, feeling tired. That’s one of the reasons I procrastinate.

Time. Does it ever feel like there’s just not enough time to fit everything into one day? Does it feel like you just cannot do - or even begin to do - that one job or assignment or report. It’s overwhelming and, well, let’s face it, why start something now when there’s no way you can finish it today?

Sometimes, I just, simply, don’t feel like it. Wouldn’t you rather watch that next episode of Grey’s Anatomy. You know the one where Station 19 overlaps and both casts are in the one episode? Love that episode. Actually, there are 2 in a row if I remember correctly. Can’t miss that! I have to watch it … NOW! It’s funny that,“Most of us seem to tacitly believe that our emotional state has to match the task at hand. …But that’s just not true. I have to recognize that I’m rarely going to feel like it, and it doesn’t matter if I don’t feel like it.”  (Washington Post, April 27, 2016). Reality check! That is so true! I even tell my own children as well as my students that, sometimes, we have to do things even if we don’t feel like doing them right at that moment.

There are books and studies and so many articles written on this exact topic. Also, “The process of overcoming procrastination can (only) begin once you’re able to admit that. when you avoid taking action, you’re really avoiding pain. … Without realizing it, most of us instinctively retreat to a comfort zone and try our best never to leave it.”  That pain may simply be that you’d much rather enjoy scrolling through Facebook than emptying the boring, old dishwasher but, think of the other side. How will you feel in the morning when you can grab a big, clean mug out of the cupboard for your morning coffee, instead of having to see that dishwasher full of clean dishes just waiting to be emptied? It would’ve been worth doing it the night before – guaranteed! So, how do I practise what I preach, as they say? Where do we start?

1. ASK YOURSELF: DO I PROCRASTINATE? It’s so true that the first step is to recognize and admit that you have a problem. It doesn’t really matter what you’re talking about, the same holds true.

2.THEN, ASK YOURSELF: WHY DO I PROCRASTINATE? Once I realized that I was avoiding tasks because they were unpleasant or boring, or I just plain didn’t feel like doing them, I could start planning to overcome this lifelong habit of putting things off. Sure, being tired, feeling like I just don’t have enough time, those are all real feelings, but think of the end game. How will this change your lifeor even the next day of your life (start small😊)?

3. JUST DO IT! Even if you do feel tired and unmotivated, just do that small task like folding the laundry. Make those lunches the night before. Start that report. You’ve got this! I’ve been trying this for the past month and guess what? I feel amazing! Instead of leaving all these little tasks until tomorrow, I’m doing them right away or, at least, as soon as possible. I’m feeling calmer, more confident, more in control of my life. Who knew that making my bed every morning, folding towels as they come out of the dryer and consistently making my lunch the night before could make such a positive difference in life?! Focusing on the end result has been life-changing! Now, each “next day” is going more smoothly because I did those things yesterday. I know,it’s early days, and this will take time until itbecomes a regular habit but, so far, so good.

4. CHUNKING: Often, we procrastinate because we’re unsure of where to start, so we don’t start at all. Does that sound familiar? Try this:Look at the task, determine what the first step would be (even if it’s Youtubing a video on how to do it!:)) and begin with that first piece. You know Newton’s Laws of Motion? The Law of Inertia – an object at rest will stay at rest – or on the couch😊 – and an object in motion will stay in motion - unless acted on by an outside force – blah, blah, blah. Let’s focus on the staying in motion part. Push yourself to start and get into motion. Easier said than done, for sure, but get into motion. That is key, and the biggest hurdle I’m working to overcome.

5. MAKE A PLAN: Make a To-Do list, prioritize the tasks, schedule, set deadlines and STOP PROCRATINATINGH! Ok, that last bit was for me.:). This step is a whole separate post.

It all sounds easy, right? Well, maybe not, but it is doable. So, where to start? Start at Step 1 and go from there.

Honestly, once I recognized that I have a tendency toprocrastinate and that I often feel overwhelmed by the one million things I have to do in a day, my life started to become less stressful and things are now getting done! On that note, I’m off to begin report cards which, by the way, aren’t due for another 3 weeks. The schedule is set to do a little each day with a day of editing at the end. Woohooo! We’ve got this!

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