Procrastination is a fear-based response, deeply rooted in our history. We feel paralyzed by our imagination. It seizes us up, locks us in its grip and leaves us feeling horrible.

Human beings are great at finding reasons as to why they can’t do things: No time. No energy. No way. All the while, as we create these excuses, we feel entrapped by the possibility of failure or worse – that someone else will see we are a failure too. IQMatrix, a web site dedicated to tapping into human potential, produced an interesting procrastination mind map, a part of which I have displayed here.

Courtesy of IQMatrix.com

As you can see, the origin of procrastination can be found in our habits, actions and fears of lack, inadequacies and false expectations of ourselves and others. It’s no wonder we talk of having no time! With a lack mentality, we firmly believe we don’t have any.

Changing your way of thinking comes after your recognize what that thinking is. Take note of how often you say you are out of time, out of luck, out of friends, money, you-name-it. Now choose one of those things and replace “no” with “more than enough”. Repeat after me: “I have more than enough time. I have more than enough fortune. I have more than enough friends. I have more than enough money…” When we shift our language, we shift our perspective. That minor nudge in the direction of abundant thinking can take on dramatic effects.

One of the root causes of procrastination is, in my mind, our unrealistic expectations. In an attempt to keep pace with the world at large, we push ourselves to the brink, demanding more and more in less and less time. We find it appealing to save time, but what are we really saving it for? To do more work? To accomplish more and more and more? To what end? What on Earth are we rushing toward?

These are tough philosophical questions worth asking ourselves. Because a lot of what drives our behavior is the unflappable belief that if we aren’t marching forward, we will somehow be left behind.

Not so.

In taking pause, we create space for the best things in life to come flooding in. If you don’t make room for them, they will float on by to the next opening instead.

Procrastination is about saying no to our potential. Move it to yes and watch what happens next. When you say yes to yourselves, yes to your abilities, yes to the possibility that you can bring to the table, you make it easier for the world to say yes to you too.

What will you say yes to today?

 

Winter has Europe in its firm grip. This morning I grappled with myself about whether or not I should go to the gym. My thinking went like this:

Angel side of myself: “I have a manuscript to edit. I really should work on that since I’ve been gone a lot this week.”

Slow side of myself: “You’ve been gone a lot this week. That’s right. And you know are more productive when you’ve exercised.”

Devil side of myself: “I want chocolate.”

Angel side of myself: “Okay, Slow, you can have your way, but remember. Go, well, slow. It’s icey out there.”

The sun blinded me against the white landscape as I pulled out of the driveway, only to get stuck in the neighbor’s parking space. I tried to move forward, but the car spun its wheels.

I rocked the car back and forth and realized I was going nowhere. By now, sleep had fallen from my lids. In an adrenaline rush that only driving in dangerous weather conditions can provide, I carefully pulled back into the garage and smiled.

“Okay, Angel, Slow and Devil. We’re not going anywhere. Manuscript editing it is!”

Sometimes we need to find out for ourselves that no movement is the best move we can make!

One sock at a time

December 9, 2010

Yesterday I had the unique opportunity to do an impromptu coaching session with a young economics student who had a hard time keeping on top of his laundry. We were on set at a soap opera; he played an orderly, I a doctor. While waiting for our walk-on part (which took the better part of the day), he studiously reviewed his University work and appeared non-plussed at the activities around him. The day grew long (and his textbook boring) so we began to chat about The Power of Slow.

His eyes grew bright as he considered the possibility of actually tackling the one thing that seems to beat him down every week.

“Laundry!” he exclaimed. I could see the struggle as he grew tense at the thought of the pile awaiting him at home.

“Think reward system,” I explained. Had I been more clear-headed (we were, after all, seven hours into our waiting on set), I might have used some economic terms to help him understand my point. But he got it anyway as I said he needed to think of the mountain of dirty clothes as an opportunity to reward himself once he tackled some of it.

“I’m not talking the entire thing, here,” I continued with a grin. “We’re looking at grabbing the white wash first, ya’ know?” Sort and toss. I grew animated as I laid out a plan he might consider.

“Tell yourself you’ll just do the whites first, then maybe in two days, the darks. By week’s end you will have gotten down to the bottom of your laundry basket. Reward time!”

He smiled inwardly at the thought.

No matter where we go, we can live the slow. Sometimes all we need is to take it one sock at a time.

How do you break down your work into bite-sized chunks? Share your ideas here. I’d love to know!

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Laura Brady Saade of GiveMe10.info shares her insights into living your dreams ten minutes at a time along with some cool slow tips for fostering creativity in our 24/7 world.

To listen to this week’s Focus Fridays podcast, click here for Laura!

If you like what you hear, don’t forget to right-click, save, then place your Power of Slow badge of honor anywhere in your social media universe. We appreciate you spreading the word that slow is faster and that fast is merely exhausting!

The End of Procrastination

November 8, 2009

The day I left on my two-week book tour to the United States, I learned I still had to provide my German tax accountant with information that would take me a full day to put together. I am not one to procrastinate, but I had to put off her request for almost three weeks while I completed other commitments. Today I assembled all the data. Surprisingly, it only took a few hours.

I applied the slow principle of taking an overwhelming project bit for bit, promising myself I could stop if I completed just one segment. Naturally, I kept going once I was into it. What a great feeling to be able to hand it all in by the first business day since my return.

Gotta love that power of slow. It truly works!