I struggle with procrastination. I know what I need to do, but I can’t quite get myself to do it. Help!
We all fight it. We have moments when we know the right thing to do, but we just can’t quite get ourselves up and going. We put it off, and then the dreaded task starts to grow before our eyes. It feels bigger and more unattainable the longer we avoid it, and before long, it becomes utterly impossible. Truth is, it’s really no bigger than when we first thought about it, but that is the power of procrastination.
It may help you to process with someone who knows you well to try and discover what it is that fuels this pattern of stalling out in your life. But at the end of the day, what you really need to do is decide to deal with it and do it. Here are three approaches to work yourself through this. The next time you are tempted to put something off, try one:
- Take control of your inner toddler. Instead of giving in to the loud and resounding “NO!” when you ask yourself to do something, take charge. Don’t let her win! When you are trying to teach a toddler to obey, you take her by the hand and lead her to complete the task again and again – as many times as it takes to get it done. Lovingly and gently take yourself by the hand and be the parent. Lead that toddler where she needs to go and don’t stop until the task is completed. Don’t let her sidetrack you by playing with your makeup or pitching a fit. Again, be the parent.
- Manage the rebellious teenager. One hopes that by the time their kids reach the teen years they have the obedience thing down. But we all know that as teens jettison towards independence they want their own way – all over again. What do you do with a sassy teenager who won’t listen? You might have to take away the keys. Set your goal, and create a consequence for not completing it on time. No turning on the tv until the dinner dishes are done. No sitting down until that load of laundry is put away. No eating out until that closet is tidy. No matter what the consequence, make it meaningful and let that mouthy teen know you mean business.
- Have a serious woman-to-woman sit-down. Sometimes you just need to be a grown-up and call a meeting with yourself. Ask: why you are willing to settle for less than best in your own life? What are you going to do about it? You are better than this, and you know it. Look in the mirror and make a decision to do the right thing. Not for anyone else, but for you, because you deserve your best effort. Nothing wrong with a little incentive, like new bedding once you’ve decluttered your bedroom. But the real reason to do the right thing is because it is the right thing. You are an adult and you can do this. Be the boss. Do the thing. No more messing around. You will be glad you did.
“Take a lesson from the ants, you *procrastinator. Learn from their ways and be wise! For though they have no king to make them work, yet they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.” – Proverbs 6:6-7 (TLB)
*Actual translation = “lazy fellow”