“I never put off till tomorrow what I can possibly do – the day after.”
Now, more than ever, we live in a world of opportunity.
However, the downside to all of these new opportunities, brought about by technological advances, is the scrolling and browsing possibilities brought upon with internet access. We can sit at the laptop, full of conviction that we will create something new, learn something new. We can float through a day with so many distractions pulling at us that at the end of the day, we reflect back at a blur.
Yet, we end up opening up another tab, checking holiday destinations, reading the news or our social media feed.
It’s not that this isn’t fun either, but for the most part, it is empty.
What reward, if any, is at the end of it?
We want more to show in life yet the allure of browsing is fuelled by a marketing industry that is very well thought out. Browsing tricks us into future better chances, things to aspire to in the future, to feel bad about right now.
This article is a push for all of us to get something new done.
To avoid putting off what we know will serve us better.
Yes, it is great to plan for the future but change happens today.
You may have an urge to do one of the following:
- Learn a new skill
- Get fit
- Get a promotion
- Apply for a new job
- Create art
- Join a new club
Fighting the Urge
In every task we undertake, the temptation is there to procrastinate, delay and avoid doing something that will lead to a greater outcome. When we finish a task we feel accomplished and fulfilled but temptation can far outweigh this feeling.
Why? It is easier.
For any real change to take place in us, for us to improve in any way, it takes time.
It takes time, it takes effort and the rewards are rarely instantaneous but materialise in the future.
Meanwhile, as you slog it out, pulling on the trainers to go out in the rain for a jog or opening up a document to write your CV, watching television, making toast, scrolling on your phone, are easier options that do provide a moment of short-term instant satisfaction.
This battle between your urges and your desires plays out for everyone since time began.
If you are smart with your application and focus and are determined, you can succeed with holding off the urge.
Look at it from this perspective; we have two personas at any given time. Personal Self and Future Self. Personal Self is here today, Future Self is here tomorrow, next week etc.
When we set goals today, we are setting them for our Future Self but it is our Personal Self that has to execute these plans today. This can lead us to a separation from our identity. We think of ourselves as two separate versions rather than a whole version.
Here are a few ways to avoid procrastination and temptation:
- Set a ten-minute timer, work at the task for ten minutes without distraction. Repeat over and over
- Link action to reward, the basic format being – Only do (Thing you Love) while doing (Thing you Procrastinate on)
- Only watch television when doing a household chore like ironing
- Only get a pedicure when replying to work emails
- Only check social media when you are drinking a cup of tea
- Only listen to music playlist while typing up CV
- Get an accountability partner
- Hate the gym – find a friend to come with you, work-out together
- Tell people what you are doing. You’ve started a new course – tell people about it, talk about it, create excitement about the possibilities around it
- Chunk the work into pieces
- Step-by-Step. By making the work manageable and bite-sized you reduce feeling overwhelmed
- Do it for the right reasons
- Remind yourself of the positive reasons you are doing this and why working hard is paying off everytime you commit to it
On your Marks….
Life is short. Life is now. Life is not in the future, it is today. January 2020 is nearly over. So rather than stressing out on what is important and what isn’t, start with something TODAY.
As the days blend into weeks, into months, seasons and years, we drift along for most of it. We take life and ourselves too seriously. We let ourselves be offended easily and hold grudges, all the while, we could be chipping away at the new, positive habit.
It is easy to be afraid and to have an excuse. Be patient and accept the way you are. You have the strength, you have the tenacity, now go and walk the walk.
There has never been a better, more urgent time, to start doing the things you want to do. Never let a day pass without doing something that will benefit you next year.
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