A PLACE FOR GOOD
A PLACE FOR GOOD
This morning I woke up and spent some time in bed looking at my phone, searching for motivation. Literally searching for motivation. I have subscribed to various sites that provide daily motivation in the form of quotes, articles, and even guided meditations. I like them. I think they are good for me. But today I came across one that focused on procrastination and how to defeat it.
Each morning I spend about an hour with this routine and now I am wondering if this routine itself is just another form of procrastination for me? Deep insight, right? Maybe. So, this morning I took a deeper dive into what is perhaps my greatest fear…understanding why I procrastinate so much. I always have, for as long as I can remember. I don’t want to think about how much of my life has been wasted doing things to avoid the things I really should have been doing. In fact, I am wondering if writing this article is just one more way I have found to justify putting off other less pleasurable items on my to do list.
The lecture that I listened to this morning identified five categories of procrastinators and suggested that I try to identify which one I fall into. I listened carefully to the explanations hoping to hear one that resonated deep within me. They all did. Seriously, in one form or another, I was able to see myself in each and every category. Perfectionist; dreamer; self-saboteur; crisis junkie; busy bee…take your pick. Somewhat overwhelming to say the least, I was tempted to set it all down and watch some television and get back to it later. But no, not this time. I realized that each of the five categories had one thing in common – lack of focus. Do you claim to always be very busy? I do. Am I really? Sure, I seem to be. But am I really? Or do I just fill up all this valuable time with unimportant activities. The class this morning defined focus as doing more by doing less. Doing fewer things, but doing higher value activities with higher quality. Ok, sounds like a good plan. Let’s give it a try.
The three steps to accomplish greater focus were described as: Gain clarity of intention; Maximize time; and Spend energy efficiently. Let us take an item on my list as an example. Start my own business. Big task, many things involved in accomplishing this goal. So many in fact that it can be overwhelming. So, to better FOCUS it was suggested that I divide my list into “must haves”, “should haves” and “good to haves” and obviously only spend my time and energy on the must have list. Once I accomplish these most important tasks and actually “have” them, then the should haves will most likely become the new must haves and if they don’t, then they were really only good to haves all along. Still with me?
The dreamer in me has spent countless hours thinking of all the ways I could accomplish this goal, but the perfectionist and self-saboteur have let the fear of failure keep me from following through on this huge task. Now that I have removed all but the essential “must haves” my list seems manageable even “doable”. But there is still a fear of starting. The teacher suggested that I break down my list of must haves even further into what he called a path. A path is made up of steps right? It was suggested that each step should be broken down to a series of even more simple one-hour tasks. Think of each step in the path as a bite-sized experiment he explained. This way, the fear of failure does not loom so large. If one small experiment doesn’t work out the way you planned, no big deal. Try again.
The last step in this focused approach is to add up all the simple one hour tasks and give yourself a deadline. Deadlines are meant to help you keep focus but not a reason to quit if you don’t finish your path on time. If you need to, devote a bit more time than you originally anticipated but keep going.
So now that hard part, getting started. Knowing what you should do and how to do it is the easy part, at least it has been for me. Being motivated is great but being disciplined is much tougher. Self-discipline is a pattern of behavior where you choose to do what you know you should do, rather than what you want to do. Putting off what you know you should do is procrastination. And now we have come full circle. I will stop procrastinating by writing this article.
Seriously, I hope that putting this on paper will help me. I also hope that if you are still reading this, it will help you also. Just get started. You will never finish anything if you don’t start. If you have anything to add please contact me and let me know. We can all help each other to stay focused, accomplish goals and be successful in our efforts to mine for good!
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