"Insert catchy procrastination title here" - maybe later.
“The worst form of procrastination is reading a procrastination quote, feeling the guilt and not doing anything about it.”
This is an uncredited quote I found online, but I thought it was spot on.
Procrastination is a mental obstacle that dogs a lot of us. It often accompanies Perfectionism. (See last week’s blog.) Procrastination is the natural outcome of being overwhelmed by unrealistic goals. (Like writing the ultimate (perfect) blog on the emotions surrounding decluttering. You would have been amused at how many other things I found to do when I sat down to write this series!) Procrastination can be a vicious circle. The longer we procrastinate, the more overwhelming it seems, so we procrastinate more. Often, when we actually start doing the job, it wasn’t nearly as hard as it seemed in our heads. So how do we motivate ourselves to “start doing the job”? Are you ready for it?
Set smaller goals.
Well, that sounds reasonable enough on the surface, but what does that mean? Well, for one thing, don’t set the goal of getting it finished. Set the goal of getting it started. Set a timer for a reasonable amount of time (15 minutes?) and work only on the project at hand for that time. The timer gives you permission to stop and take a break in the middle, (while it is in an imperfect state). If you are still motivated to keep working, then set the timer again and keep going. You are in charge of your goals.
Which brings us to this next little bit. Have you heard of SMART goals? They are goals that are Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant and Timely. Let’s break it down.
Specific - “The Kitchen” is not specific. Instead try “This drawer." “That shelf.” List them out. You don’t have to do them all at once. Just pick one.
Measurable - I often ask my clients before we begin, “What does ‘done’ look like for you?” “Done” may be “When I take it to Goodwill” or “When we can eat at the dining room table again”. Write down what “done” looks like to you.
Achievable - In our January 2022 facebook decluttering challenge, “small manageable chunks” were emphasized over and over. This is related to both Measurable and Achievable. Think back to past successes. How long did it take? How long were your work periods? Do you work better in the morning or the evening? Block time on your schedule that fits your past success and take it in those same small manageable chunks.
Relevant - Don’t major in the minors. If you only have a goat path to your bed, don’t start with photo organizing. Doing what you need, not what you like is a rocket ship out of procrastination. You may feel a little turbulence as you are lifting off, but the weightless of space is out of this world! (See what I did there with “space”?) And finally . . .
Timely - This is also related to Achievable. Don’t do your attic in the summer or re-haul your garage in the winter.
So, what do you think? Are you ready to stop feeling guilty about reading procrastination quotes and ready to start setting smaller SMARTer goals? Put the guilt behind you. It’s not doing you any good. Give yourself lots of grace and start with one small thing. When you finish, how will you feel then? To quote many a courtroom movie scene, “Not Guilty!”
I’m rooting for you!
Laura ~ your organized girlfriend