You already know that I procrastinate. It’s part of my make-up. I have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD or ADD). This makes it easy to procrastinate.
Mostly I am distracted. Distraction is complex. Staying focused on one thing is very difficult because another strand of though drifts into my mind, perhaps a third. I change tracks, so to speak, and whatever was in the first track disappears, perhaps for moments, perhaps for years.
Throw in anxiety. As I grew up, everyone, including myself, assumed that I was lazy and incompetent. I knew I wasn’t good at things and would probably fail, so procrastinating was natural.
Finding that I was ADHD was a godsend. I now knew that my brain didn’t work well for some things and superbly well for others. But I still procrastinated. Still do.
But I developed tools to work with. I use to-do lists and a diary/schedule/calendar. I have set up The Solution to work for me.
There was more, of course, I get overwhelmed. I did some work on that, too. You can read about that and how I handle it in my book, “Overwhelmed? Squash The Pictures.” (Details at the end.) Some people procrastinate because there seems to be too much. The Squash process is very good for handling this.
There is a mat on the floor of my office, which is the time-line. I have some powerful experiences for my life to give me a powerful resource to empower me. I use the process to shift my resource states around do that I can achieve what I want and feel effective and satisfied with the result.
This book and others, audios and other material I create are part of the result.
I am not yet perfect, but (Grammar teachers look the other way.) some of us are more perfect than others.
When I was young, psychology proclaimed that the mind and body were separate. Doctors did the body and psychologists did the mind, more or less. We know now that this is untrue (though I still have people referred to me because they have a pain which is “all in the mind").
We are a unity, body, brain, and mind. What affects one affects the others. What you think affects your body, your body interacts with your brain, and your mind is affected.
Just thinking does little for that unity. You may solve problems in your head. You can't solve a behavioural problem there alone. You must use the unity.
Consider the different postures of a person who is attending to a conversation, and someone who is not interested. They have a different body shape. Their thinking and feeling flows out into their body.
For every different set of thoughts and feelings you have, you have a different body shape - posture. The differences may be minute for some things, but they are always there.
If you make a decision 'in your head' and it doesn't flow into your posture and then action, it's a fake. If you recite affirmations, and don't use your body to affirm them, they are useless.
So we use the mind AND body to get the changes into ourselves so that they work. It is really important that you follow the instructions. Just reading won't to it.
You will need paper and a pen now.
Choose something that you procrastinate to work on. Write it down.
You are aware from an earlier chapter that you need to put into your to-do list or whatever you use to organise your time.
Make a decision that you are going to do, regardless of how you feel.
Write that decision down.
You create a body signal for a powerful feeling of achievement. This is called an anchor (a Neuro Linguistic Programming term for it). This is easy to do because there are some things that you enjoy doing.
Think of something that you do fairly regularly and enjoy doing. Remember the feelings you have had when you have completed that thing and are looking back on it. Go right into the feelings you had. There will be great feelings of satisfaction and achievement. You may also have feelings of happiness and contentment, anything that is good and positive.
Here you identify the feeling in detail.
It will help to write down the details as you recollect the event.
What do you see?
Where is the picture? Pretend you can point to it.
How far away from your eyes is it?
Are you in the picture or are you seeing it through your own eyes?
Is the picture coloured or black and white?
Still frame or movie?
Are there any sounds?
What are they?
How intense are they – volume, tone, etc.?
Which direction do they seem to come from?
Is there a voice or voices?
If so, who is speaking?
What are they saying?
What do you feel in your body (includes your head)?
Where are the feelings?
What sort of feelings are they?
Is there anything that you can smell?
Does this have a taste?
If so, what is it?
Remember all the feelings, and notice how your body has changed. Now gently clench your right fist and continue to hold it clenched. Keep yourself in those feelings for ten seconds. This sets up the anchor so that you can get the feelings beck by clenching the fist. You can use your left fist if you prefer, but always use the same one.
Add more in.
You can remember other activities you enjoyed and completed successfully. Repeat the process with them, stacking on more strong feelings using the fist squeeze anchor. Make it really powerful and wonderful.
Create a mini time line on the floor or ground. This is important because again your brain links the physical movement with reality
The first place is Start. Mark out a spot which is the time just before you would start the thing that you are procrastinating. Some people like to put a paper on the floor with ‘Start’ written on it to make it clear, and do the same with the other two positions.
Two paces beyond that you mark out a spot which is the time when you do the task. This is DOING IT, and a pace beyond that, a place in the future where you look back on completing the task is LOOKING BACK.
Stand on LOOKING BACK and imagine looking back at the completed task. Of course, you look back on that with satisfaction, because completing it is at least getting it out of the way and can be a really great achievement.
Here you gently squeeze up you fist, fire the anchor, and recover the great feelings of finishing the activity that you really like. You recover the feelings - thoughts in your mind and all the feelings in your body.
Now you keep your fist clenched and transfer your attention to the procrastinated task.
You don't have to feel it's the greatest thing in the world; you just have to feel it is enjoyable enough to DO IT NOW!
And holding that feeling with your fist still clenched, you step onto DOING IT. You imagine doing the procrastinated task and enjoying doing it.
You are doing that with clenched fist, clenching and unclenching repeatedly if you like, experiencing good rewarding feelings of the experience. Then you walk back to START, turn and face the future, completing the task, fire the anchor again.
You now look forward at the task. You are now ready to do it, and feel good about doing it.
So, you know what comes next, DO IT NOW.
I recommend that you repeat the process four or five times to lock it into your brain. On the last time you do it, just pretend that you are actually practising something that you actually did successfully yesterday. You are already good at it!
PROCRASTINATION IS OVER
- because you don't have feelings of procrastination now. You decide what you are going to do, and do it! And you are able to do quite difficult or unpleasant tasks, because you are in charge of your feelings
Another process that you can add in.
You can borrow feelings from someone else who has succeeded at doing what you have been procrastinating.
Ask yourself, "What sort of person would achieve this, just decide and do it?”
You can pick someone you know or imagine someone.
What do they believe, think, decide, and feel?
Then you can pretend that you have all of this, and do it. Act as if!
Pretend isn't kiddy stuff. Pretend is:
That's right; you knew that, didn't you. Adult Stuff.
© David Townsend 2014