PROCRASTINATION and THE ATTRACTIVE LIFE LOOP
Before you get to the Life Loop, check out more about procrastination.
Procrastination is “putting things off”.
Procrastination is the voluntary delay of some important task that we intend to
do, despite knowing that we will suffer as a result.
For some people it is a minor irritation. For many it is a partially concealed major handicap.
Procrastination is self-destructive. Often there are
underlying beliefs such as:
I’m not good enough.
I don’t deserve it.
It’s risky. I might get rejected or hurt.
I’ll probably fail.
Beliefs like this lead to an anticipation of an unpleasant future. It involves magnifying present unpleasant feelings into the future.
It much more sensible to magnify good feelings into the future. You look for, focus on and magnify the good and enjoyable components of a future task to make them much more attractive.
There are immediate harmful effects of procrastination. The level of muscular tension varies, is often so low that it is not noticed, and indeed, may be hard to measure. The tension is caused by your intension to take an action (minute muscle movements get you ready to do this) which is countered by your decision not to take action (the equal muscular blocking process). The name of this is stress.
Stress causes a lowered immune system. This results in higher incidents of illness starting with colds and flu and extending into more dangerous conditions. This is often accompanied by gastrointestinal disorders and insomnia. With stress come feelings of exhaustion and depression. This creates lowered self-esteem.
There are other less obvious consequences. Procrastination included putting off contact with relatives and friends, which means these relationships suffer and can become weak and disappear. Immediate relationships such as marriage are strained. And, of course, finances suffer.
All of this is a frequent component of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD & ADHD).
Another major component of procrastination is fear with its components of anxiety and dread. Fears make it easier to procrastinate something without providing any solution.
The fears involved may cover the whole gambit that we are familiar with: fear of rejection, ridicule, failure, loss and how to handle success. Overcoming these fears is probably the biggest way of dealing with procrastination.
I have come to the conclusion that there is no way around fear. You just acknowledge it and act anyway.
However, there is a lesser difficulty. We all have ways in our mind of allocating importance to tasks. Mostly it is the way in which we picture them. Something that we want to do will be up close, well coloured and connected to us. Something we are not so keen about will be further away, less coloured, smaller and may remain in our attention for less than a second. A task that's been procrastinated can be brought up close, highlighted and made immediate, even pleasurable. That gets it done!
Non-performance leads to guilt, shame and blame, all generally useless emotions. Don’t! Any feelings like this require immediate self-forgiveness.
This can be followed up by straightforward time-management such as cutting jobs into small pieces and scheduling them at a time you will actually do them. This is followed by a decision to take action then.
THE ATTRACTIVE LIFE LOOP
At the beginning of every day, you make a picture/awareness/feeling of you at the end of the day exactly as you want to be, all tasks completed and everything went well.
You then go onto that, so that it is you looking back over the day through your own eyes. You can see that you achieved everything that you wanted to do, and felt the way that you wanted to feel. And that feels good.
Most people who procrastinate create a still picture or awareness of the task ahead. It is not connected to them in the way that an event they anticipate with pleasure is. The first step in a solution is to turn the task into a movie that you can see. You can notice the first easy step; each successive step after that, all the way through to completion.This means that you can visualise the task completed and feel great about it. Even if it was something bothersome, it is done. Celebrate!. If you then put it into the Life Loop it just flows into the process of the day.
You can also play with the movie. Experiment with seeing everything through your own eyes, and the then run the movie seeing you in the pictures completing the task. Which is more motivating?
You then take that feeling back to the beginning of the day. And you keep the feeling and the awareness with you all day.
You can notice that when you come to a task that you have procrastinated previously, or might procrastinate, you can move into it and complete it because in your mind you also have the feeling awareness that you have completed it already in your feeling self. So you can do it.
At the end of the day you look back. If there were any uncompleted tasks or failures, you do not attack yourself. These were learning experiences. NO guilt, shame or blame. You just know what to look out for in the future.
An important part of this is the expression of gratitude - saying thank you. Whether you say it to God, the Universe, Life or whatever is your choice, but give thanks at the end of every day. It’s very easy, you just say, “Thank you, X, for all that has happened to day. (Be specific and extend it to other things that you enjoy in the world.)”
You may notice that this is similar to a form of prayer, and if you wish to use it that way, by all means do.
You can do the same thing for a week, month, or year, if you like. But doing it every day is essential.
I know, I know, I failed art in school. Hopelessly condemned for life from grade 7!!!
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© David Townsend 2014