Procrastination is a big one. I hear it a lot in my practice and in my personal life because a lot of people struggle with it.
And often, when we don’t get things done, when we put stuff off, when we chose to binge watch Netflix or scroll through Facebook for hours on end creeping in on people’s personal lives, by the end of the day we realize we’ve accomplished a big fat nothing, and you and I both know that does not fill us with a whole lot of joy and satisfaction.
To go a step further, it also often leaves us feeling either anxious or depressed.Anxious because “Holy crap, I just wasted the whole day, got nothing done and now have even more on my plate for tomorrow, and how the heck I’m I going to get it all done?!” Or depressed because “Holy crap, I just wasted the whole day, got nothing significant done and that means I’m a big fat lazy, useless, no good human being who is never going to go anywhere in life.”
Huh. So now we’re feeling anxious or depressed. And how many of us tend to get all gung ho and motivated to start fresh, make tomorrow count, and knock it out of the park in every way when we’re feeling like stressed-out losers?
But here’s the thing. Here’s where we’re getting it all wrong. Here’s why you and me and most people in the world are unproductive or procrastinate – at least sometimes.
It’s because we are waiting to FEEL like doing it.
We are waiting to feel like making that cold call. Waiting to feel like getting out and going for a run. Waiting to feel like writing that proposal. Waiting to feel like picking up the phone and calling our mother-in-law (unless you have a really lovely one, and then you are exempt from that one).
Most of us don’t FEEL like doing that stuff and if we wait until we do – guess what, we are probably not going to do it – unless or until there is a major consequence.
But what successful and productive people know is that it doesn’t really matter if you feel like it or not.
You’re not entitled or required to feel like doing something in order to do it.
Sometimes you just have to eat the frog and get it over with. And as soon as you finishing chewing and swallow, everything else is going to taste relatively good by comparison.
But what’s the easiest way to take the waiting to feel like it part out of the equation all together?
Create habits. Habits make your. Life. Easier.
Habits remove your ability to have that going-nowhere-good conversation all together. Habits are just things you do without even having to think. And the less time we spend wasting our time, energy, and effort thinking about things that are really useless to think about, the more time we have to think about and use our energy toward the things that do matter.
So what are some of the habits that keep me healthy, connected, productive and moving forward?
I don’t go a day without moving my body in some way, shape or form for at least 40 minutes. Run, power walk, have a YouTube video dance party in my living room. Whatever. But I can promise you, and everyone who knows me will vouch for it – unless I am too sick to move, I don’t miss a day. Ever. And it’s really easy because it doesn’t matter if I feel like it or not. It’s a habit – I just do it, so there’s no conversation had.
Every time I greet my husband I do so with a hug and a kiss. Regardless of how I feel, what I’m in the middle of, or how much I need to get done. It only takes about 3 seconds, but the difference it makes in our relationship (and it will in yours too if you do it) is huge.
That habitual 3 second greeting says to him “I value you,” “I want to connect with you,” “I see you,” and “You matter to me.” It’s amazing how such a tiny simple habit can make such a difference – and how not doing something like that can impact your relationship, but not in a good way.
On weeknights, after my babies go to bed I sit down at my computer and have a habit of working for a minimum of 1 hour. And that 1 hour often turns in to 2 or 3, but I’m only required to do 1. I don’t even think about whether I want to or not, it’s just a habit so I do it automatically.
I have more, but those are my biggest ones. Those are the ones that keep me sane, healthy, happy, and achieving my goals.
So next time you find yourself struggling with getting ‘er done, stop and say to yourself: “Self, we may not feel like it, but that’s just a bit too bad because I, like anyone else in this world, am not entitled to only do what I feel like doing.” (Sorry millennials).
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