You drag your feet. You procrastinate. Perhaps you have a big job to complete and you feel overwhelmed, unsure of how to get started. Perhaps you have an unpleasant task before you and you would simply rather not deal with it.
Then there are those times when the task you're facing is neither all that big, nor particularly difficult or unpleasant. Nevertheless, you still find yourself putting it off day after day.
Repeatedly putting something off leads to dissatisfaction.
Accomplishing something, even a relatively small task, brings a sense of satisfaction. Repeatedly putting something off, on the other hand, leads to dissatisfaction. The awareness that you have something left undone lingers at the back of your mind. You can ignore it, but it doesn't go away; it's always there.
Even when you try to focus your attention elsewhere, you're left with a nagging sense that you should have dealt with things by now, combined with the knowledge that you'll have to deal with it sooner or later.
Drained energy, ongoing distraction.
Whether it's a chore around the house, or a difficult conversation with someone close to you, there's a cost to continually putting something off. As it lingers at the back of your mind, it eventually starts to drain your energy. It becomes an ongoing distraction. Your mind isn't as sharp or as clear as usual. There's cloudiness, noise, static, or subtle interference getting in the way.
Some people may have an easier time staying on top of things than others, but everyone has a vulnerable area where they're most likely to struggle with putting things off. Over time, it starts to feel like you're dragging a heavy weight around.
How to free yourself from that heavy weight.
How do you get on top of the situation, in order to free yourself from that heavy weight you're carrying around? Here are some suggestions:
1. Be honest about what you've been putting off:
Start by being honest with yourself as you identify whatever it is you've been putting off. Speaking it out loud, or writing it down, brings it out into the open and makes it real, making it harder to ignore it.
2. Be honest about why you're putting it off:
Next, be honest about the reason why you're putting it off. Fear? Laziness? Disinterest? Once again, the illuminating effect of being honest and facing up to what's really going on is powerful in and of itself.
3. Find your motivation:
Identify your reasons for attending to the task or situation. Why is it on your agenda in the first place? Why is it important? What do you gain by attending to it? What are the implications of delaying or not attending to it? Answering these questions enables you to find your motivation for getting things done.
4. Come up with a plan:
Come up with a plan, and identify the specific steps you need to take. If you're struggling to attend to something, being vague about it won't help. Being specific about the steps you need to take brings clarity around what you need to do and where you need to start.
5. Commit to taking that first step.
Breaking through the inertia is typically the hardest part of the process. Once things are in motion, you have some energy and momentum to help move you along. Be specific in determining what your first step will be: what it looks like, when it will happen, how you can prepare for it, etc.
Once you deal with whatever it is that you've been putting off, you'll feel a wonderful sense of lightness and renewed energy as a weight is lifted from your shoulders!
Tips for achieving optimal wellness, inside and out.