Procrastination sometimes feels like a normal way of living right? …Wrong. I have found a way to beat it! In the past I literally procrastinated every little thing in life.. even down to just hanging a shirt back up that I try on in my closet. I know it sounds trivial.. but everything adds up and before you know it you put off just about anything. Putting off little things leads to putting off big things. I’ve learned that how you do anything is how you do everything. But… there is a reason we procrastinate… and I have figured out how to beat it!
I came across Mel Robbins about a year ago on You Tube. She has tons of motivational speeches on reaching your goals and how to change your habits. I am going to share some of her advice from her book that I have been using that I have found very helpful in both my day to day responsibilities and also any larger goals I have for myself. This is what she has to say about procrastination. Procrastination is a form of stress relief. It’s just a habit we have formed to relieve us of that stress. Whether it is work, finances, housekeeping, exercising, the demands of being a mom, etc, we procrastinate because it gives us a “break”. I’ll get to “xyz”, but first I’m just going to check social media, read the news, or shop online.. just for a few minutes.. or an hour! But what ends up happening is you feel more stressed by procrastinating the stressful thing you put off doing.
How to beat it:
1st – use the 5 second rule created by Mel Robbins
The rule – If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it. When you feel yourself hesitate before doing something that you know you should do, count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and move towards action. There is a window that exists between the moment you have an instinct to change and your mind killing it. It’s a 5 second window and it exists for everyone. The counting activates your prefrontal cortex to focus on making a decision rather than your brain talking you out of whatever it is that you need to do. The counting will focus you on the goal or commitment and distract you from the worries, thoughts, and excuses in your mind. As soon as you reach “1” – push yourself to move. Here is a link to her 5 Second Rule book if you want to read more about it.
2nd – Create a starting ritual
When you feel triggered by stress and feel the need to procrastinate, instead create a starting ritual. Do the 5 second countdown and make the decision to just start. Tell yourself you will work for 5 minutes. It could be a new habit you are trying to form such as exercise. Exercise for 5 minutes. Or needing to clean your house.. clean for 5 minutes. Study for an upcoming test or prepare for a work presentation. Create the ritual that you will work for 5 minutes. Mel says research shows that 80% of you will keep going. The trick is starting. We want to break the connection between the trigger which is stress, and the response which is procrastination. Whenever you feel stress, you have a choice, and those first five seconds you have created a new choice. Instead of procrastinating, because that is the only habit you have formed, you can make a different choice and create a new habit. 5-4-3-2-1-GO!
3rd – Find a new form of stress relief
This is a step I created for myself to use along with the 5 second rule. Lets face it. Life will have stress. It’s how we respond to it that makes life hard or more manageable. First, we have to find out what is causing us stress. If we have a problem that can be solved with action, then we don’t have a problem. Take action, correct the problem, and move on. If there are any changes you can make to your life to get rid of anything that is causing you unnecessary stress that you are in control of, then make those changes. It’s that simple. And if it’s something we can’t control, then we need a new way to relieve our minds of that stress.. daily yoga, taking a walk, reading a good book. Something that re-energizes our minds, not something that fills it with more stress. For me, I find I’m less stressed when I write everything down on my never ending to do list. I do this every night. You name it, I write it down. It’s called a brain dump. I write down everything that is on my mind. I find that it declutters my brain and I know that if I’ve written it down then I’ll get to it, which relieves the stress of that task. And I don’t know if you’re like me, but checking something off on my list gives me great satisfaction! Makes me want to procrastinate less and mark more things off. 😉
You’ve got this!…
So give the five second rule a try for one week! It will help you realize how much control you actually do have over your life and help you develop new habits. You can find Mel’s book here.
If you want to download some of the helpful printable lists and goal trackers that I use, click here to visit my Etsy printable shop.
5,4,3,2,1..! Go!! And good luck 🙂