Episode 60 | (00:00):
Hey, friend, are you ready for a simple formula to get a handle on your midlife procrastination? Great! We can talk about it now, or we can talk about it later. I'm so funny. I'm just cracking myself up here. Please tell me you didn't see that one coming, right? ;)
I'm going to help you get a new perspective on procrastination and give you more than a little bit of hope and confidence about this entire topic, all right? There are just a few steps you need to take once you understand what it really is. For me, this was eye-opening. I went, "Oh my gosh, that is fantastic!" Are you ready to find out what it is? Are you ready? I know, me too. I can't wait to tell you what it is. Let's go. Let's dive in!
Hey there, Easy Ager. If you are not already on the Easy Aging® Insiders list, go to TheEasyAgingShow.com and sign up right after this episode. Our topic today is midlife procrastination. I used to think I procrastinated because I just didn't want to do the task or I didn't want to dive into a big project or, for me, QuickBooks, ugh.
Any time I have to do QuickBooks, I can guarantee you there is some very serious procrastination going on. For a while, I was thinking that I had procrastination down to an art form when it came to QuickBooks. But I always give in and get it done.
But after thinking that it was me and it was my problem, I got new perspective when I heard Mel Robbins on YouTube. So I'm going to give you a quick summary of what she said, along with my observations and comments on it.
In this video, she said procrastination is a habit that has nothing to do with the task itself. I really like this because when I think of procrastination as a habit instead of a character flaw, like I used to think of it, that gave me a lot of hope.
It made me feel like I could actually make a change because, in my head, if I created the habit, I can change it, right? I have the ability to create it, therefore I have the ability to change it.
I've successfully released some bad habits and replaced them with new ones over the years. And I think by midlife, most of us have done something like this at least once or twice. So if the statement that "procrastination is a habit" is true, doesn't that give you some hope? Doesn't that give you the little boost of confidence that you can change things?
She said, "You are not a procrastinator. You have a habit of procrastinating." That made me feel better too. It wasn't like you were calling me a bad name. It was more like, "I have this bad habit that I need to fix."
Robbins also said that procrastination is a form of stress relief. So if you're stressed out about something — it doesn't matter what it is, it could be your health, it could be your finances, it could be your relationship, it could be a colleague at work or the amount of work you have, or whatever it is — procrastination helps you relieve some of that stress.
So let's look at habits for a second. All habits have three parts: there's the trigger, then there's the pattern, and then there's the reward. So in this case, the trigger is the stress in your life. The pattern is to avoid doing something, and the reward gets you a little stress relief.
The only way to break your procrastination habit is to not deal with the triggers, because there's never really going to be a time when you won't have some level of stress in your life. Instead, you focus on the pattern. You need to change the pattern of avoidance, and here are her four tips. Let me go through these quickly.
Number one, when you see yourself procrastinating, acknowledge it. Recognize that if you are procrastinating, you must be stressed about something. And then you'll probably want to take a moment to figure out what exactly you're stressing about.
Because I don't know about you but for me, I could be stressing about stuff and not even be aware of it if I didn't give it the time of day. So take a minute, figure out what you're stressing about, and acknowledge that you are procrastinating because you're stressed.
Then you move into number two, which is count 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Mel Robbins calls this the five-second rule. In episode 31, I talked to you about the five-second rule, so go back and listen to episode 31, if you haven't heard it yet.
And that moves you into number three, which is interrupt. The counting interrupts your procrastination habit, and that's exactly what you want. You want to stop that pattern before it just starts taking off down the road, and you want to stop it in its tracks as early as possible before it takes you into who knows how many hours of procrastinating.
And then number four, do one thing for five minutes. Or if you want to fun-size it, do one thing for two minutes. She suggests working for five minutes because your problem isn't actually doing the task. The problem is that you are avoiding the task.
So if you just start, you're going to pick up some momentum and you're going to keep going. And then she says, based on research, if you just start, 80% of us are going to keep going. I found that to be very encouraging, right?
To recap, you are not a procrastinator. You have a habit of procrastinating. Procrastination is a form of stress relief. So number one, acknowledge the stress. Number two, count 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Number three, interrupt the procrastination habit. And number four, do one thing for five minutes. Or you can fun-size it to two minutes.
Once you get going, you're going to pick up some momentum, and you're going to be down that road and get rid of that procrastination sooner than later. I get so excited about this stuff, I really do. Because I think, "Oh my gosh, how much more could I get done if I would just stop procrastinating?"
That's it for today. Once again, if you are not already an Easy Aging® Insider, go to TheEasyAgingShow.com and sign up right now. I'll see you in the next episode. And until then, peace, love, and blessings to you and yours. Take care. Bye-bye!