Do you procrastinate? Pull up a chair and join the club.
A couple years ago, I could have won an award for how much I procrastinated. It started somewhere when I was young and just stayed with me through college and adulthood.
Here’s something I've learned along the way from greatly reducing this habit.
As procrastinators, we have specific words we love to use. One of those words is Later.
Return those pants to the store? Later.
Write that email? Later.
Organize the master bedroom closet? Later.
Later. Later. Later. Until it’s just in the nick of time... almost too late (or sometimes it IS too late). And when we finally take care of it, we beat ourselves up about it saying “if I had just done it sooner. It was so stupid not to get this done before. This is the last time I’m going to procrastinate.”
Here's my tip, after you say the word "Later"..... Ask yourself: Why Later?
Next time you remember something you need to do and think “I’ll take care of that later.” Ask: why later? (Note: Watch your tone. Not “why later” with a finger wagging attitude and demeaning tone. But with genuine curiousity and love for the person that you are.) If you listen closely, you’ll actually give yourself the solution to stop procrastinating that task.
So let’s try it with an example:
You see a shirt you need to return to the store and think “I really need take care of that. In sha' Allah I'll do it later.” Ask yourself: why later? Why do I really not want to do this task?
Your answer may be, “oh I hate the lines this time of year.”
So take care of THAT first. Solve that answer and you will be more likely to do the task.
So for example, to solve it, you may think "Hmmm if the lines this time of year are what's stopping me, what can I do to make the lines more enjoyable?
Now, start coming up with solutions. Take my headphones and listen to a podcast? Delete old emails on my phone while waiting in line? Take a friend I’ve been meaning to meet up with and grab coffee after we return the item?
Another example: Your answer to why you aren't returning the shirt is : “I don’t know if they’ll even return it anymore.”
So again, solve that first. Hmmm you wonder, ok I'll call the store now to ask about their return policy. (Guess what? By making that call, you’re one step closer to returning it.)
Or your answer might be. “If I were to be honest, I really like this shirt and I hate that I’ve gained so much weight.”
Hmmmm, you wonder and possibly set action items to shed the weight you've gained and set a date on your calendar 90 days from now to return the shirt if you haven't lost the weight.
Knowing the answer to "why later?" will give you deep insight into the reason you’re really procrastinating. Solve that and you're one step closer. Let me know how this works for you.