In this lesson we will go over how to begin reprogramming our procrastination patterns.
We are going to look at these patterns, catch them early, and reprogram them. We will begin by looking at the patterns we already have.
We put off doing a particular task.
- we could be checking on other tasks first when we should be doing a particular set task.
- distracting ourselves with checking email or messages
- looking on social media
- doing easier tasks like cleaning the house
- we do things that feel productive but are easier than what we are supposed to be doing
The mind sees the difficult task and begins to run. It starts to rationalize “it’s okay if I do this real quick” or “I’ll just do this one other thing for a few minutes”. This pattern keeps repeating until we are not doing the thing we had intended to do.
It does not have to be just a productive task. It could also be:
- creating meaningful work
- dealing with finances
- anything we find difficult
So, what is this block that causes us to go to distractions or easier work? The block comes around fear, discomfort, and uncertainty. Fear is fear of the discomfort. The discomfort often comes from the uncertainty. The root of the fear is the discomfort and the root of the discomfort is the uncertainty.
What is the root of the uncertainty? It is not knowing how things are going to turn out. We worry.
- are we going to be good enough for the task?
- are we going to do a good job at it?
- we may not know how to do it or how to structure it
- it could be new, scary, uncharted territory
- there is uncertainty about the steps needed to be taken
What we are running from, the uncertainty and discomfort of it, is where we need to be in order to grow, learn, and do anything meaningful. If we only do the rote things that we are so good at and comfortable with, never pushing into discomfort of the uncertainty, we never go anywhere new. When we shut ourselves into the distractions, email, social media, and phone checks, we are running. That is our pattern.
We all have different ways of manifesting that pattern. We all have different things we run to, that we are uncertain about, and we all have different stories we tell ourselves. We have a harsh self-critic that says:
- “it’s okay to just do this one time”
- “you can’t do this, you shouldn’t even try”
- “what’s the use, you are just going to fail at it”
- “you suck at this”
These are all harsh things we tell ourselves and they are also part of the pattern. Beating ourselves up and giving up is another form of running. There is a lot of self-criticism, self-recrimination, and self-blame because there is a lot of doubt about not being good enough. This is not helpful. It does not make us feel any better about ourselves or the task. It is a way of coping with that uncertainty and discomfort.
In this course, we are going to look at the patterns we have built up. We will create a container to see those patterns better.
- Notice when you are procrastinating.
- Notice what you are procrastinating from.
- what is the task?
- what is the uncertainty?
- what is the discomfort?
- what is the fear that comes up?
- Notice what you are running to.
- what are my go-to things?
- what do I spend my time on instead of my intended task?
Begin to ask yourself these questions and notice what patterns emerge. We will dive more into these patterns as the course progresses.
Share your experiences in Slack.