I met with a client recently who found herself always busy in her job, but seemingly never working on the most important and weighty projects she needed to complete. She is a productive and effective professional, but still couldn’t get herself to really engage with what most needed to be done. At a deep level she just really didn’t want to work on those projects! Sound familiar?
The problem with getting things done that we don’t want to do is that there is usually an emotional piece to overcome. There is the challenging project, but there is also how we feel about the challenging project. Those feelings might range from feeling inadequate, bored, overstimulated, anxious, sad, or angry. Procrastination comes up for each of us for different reasons, but the emotion is always the key to what is holding us back. Here’s how to sort through your own procrastination responses:
Set time aside to work on what most needs to be completed. Start with 10 minutes a day if you like, or as much as an hour. Make it a priority to just sit down and engage the project as the first step, not necessarily doing anything yet. Step one is showing up and being with the project.
Use that time in one of two ways. 1) Work on your project. 2) Deal with what you are feeling about working on your project. If you set aside 30 minutes and spend that entire time in frustration and feeling overwhelmed, that is actually a success. By allowing that to surface and dealing with it, there is less subconscious energy directing you away from completing your work. Commit to that 30 minutes of being with your project and fully showing up.
Be patient with yourself as you cycle between #1 and #2. You may start to work on the project and then feel overwhelmed or angry, and need to pause and be with those feelings. Whatever you do, stick to your commitment to the project- not necessarily to getting it done, but to being with it.
You can beat procrastination, the key is to feel what you’re feeling!