Why (and How) I Plan to Overcome the Dreaded Procrastination Habit

Photo courtesy of ChrisK4U on flickr

If you’re reading this, then I’ve finally hit “Publish” in my WordPress dashboard.

If ever I was going to pour myself a celebratory glass of champagne, this would be the time. Instead, I’m far more likely to be found enjoying a delicious green smoothie or sipping on a refreshing glass of mineral water.

Now you know all my secrets! Or maybe not. You might just have to stick around if you want to hear more of those.

I’ve had enough of letting procrastination keep me from achieving my dreams.

Seriously, I’ve had enough of coming to the end of another year and realizing that my goals are still the same as they were at the beginning of the year.

It’s about 18 months now since I found an index card among a pile of papers that had been left neglected (another serious failing of mine – don’t get me started!)

On that index card I’d written several goals that I’d intended to achieve in that particular year. Reading those goals, I realized with some dismay that I’d achieved none of them.

No change. No progress. No action.

“How awful that more than a year has passed and I still have exactly the same goals” I berated myself.

If only that were true!

When I turned the index card over, I was dumbfounded by the date that those goals had been written: 2006

Three years! No change. No progress. NO ACTION!

If you’re as disgusted with me as I was, I hate to think how you might feel knowing that eighteen months later, I have yet to achieve any of those goals.

You might be letting me off the hook right now, telling yourself – maybe even wanting to reassure me  – that the goals I set must have been too big, too far out of reach.

I wish I could say you were right. But they really weren’t.

These were simple goals: get healthy and lose weight, plant a vegie garden, pay off our credit cards. But as simple as they were, in five years I was never able to move past the habit of inaction, of continual procrastination, in order to achieve those goals.

I’m not a big believer in New Year’s Resolutions, and it’s a long time since I’ve made any myself. I prefer these days to write and review my goals regularly throughout the year. I did, however, start this year with a plan: 2011 is the year that I will learn, whatever it takes, to finally transform my dreams and goals into reality.

This year I will learn to take action.

I have a small confession to make: Until just over 2 weeks ago, this baby blog was not even a twinkle in it’s mother’s eye.

I was intending to spend some time working on blog posts for another blog entirely – one that’s still in it’s procrastination stages – when the inspiration for this blog hit me. (I now know there’s nothing like a relaxing beach holiday for generating a healthy flow of ideas, whether you’re wanting them or not.)

You might have gathered that I’m not usually so impulsive when it comes to following through on a new idea. The last brilliant idea I had spent close to five years “percolating” inside my head. As far as percolation times go, I think that one was well and truly overcooked!

Fortunately that idea, to create my own online bookshop, is now so close to the final stages of creation that I’m almost ready for another champagne mineral water.

It’s taken far too long for me to take action and bring that dream to life.

And so, two weeks ago, when the idea for this blog came to me, I saw it as an opportunity. I could push the idea aside, too busy right now to give it the time it deserves.

I could add it to my list of goals, only to write five years from now about another great idea that came to nothing.

Or I could grab hold of the inspiration and run with it, wherever it will take me, knowing that this is my chance to make 2011 all I want it to be. This is my chance to TAKE ACTION.

I’m not expecting it to be easy. If procrastination was easy to overcome, I’d have done that years ago. And I know there are plenty of reasons why I procrastinate. I’ll write about those in another post.

I’ve taken the first step though. I’ve taken action. Now for the next step…and the next…and the next.

But first, that celebratory drink!

Brigid

Great resources for procrastinators:

Books

Related blog posts by other awesome bloggers:

Has procrastination kept you from achieving your dreams? Or do you have any great suggestions for overcoming procrastination? I’d love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” at the top of this post.

You can read more about me, and about The Inspired Notebook, here.

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Comments

  1. Hi Brigette, congratulation on your new blog and post!
    The theme clarity and simplicity is really great.
    Hope all the best for you :)

  2. Brigid, Procrastination is such a problem, and it’s terrific to see you pushing past it. A really bad aspect of it is that not only do you not get things done but also you beat yourself up (metaphorically) for not getting them done.

    I struggle with procrastination sometimes, but not when it comes to exercise and eating right. I focus on staying healthy as if my life depends on it (as, obviously, it does).

    You’re off to a great start!

    • Thanks Madeleine. Believe me, I still have plenty of procrastination to get past! Although time management is another huge factor – there’s so many things I want to do, sometimes just that can be overwhelming.

      Well done on sticking with the healthy eating and exercise. Have you read John Robbins book, “Healthy at 100″? I’ve wavered a bit with my healthy eating, but totally agree with you about how important it is.

  3. Brigid, since gardening is on your list of things to get on with I’m glad you found my blog. Keep visiting with me and before you know it you may not be able to keep your fingers out the dirt!

    • Alison, I’m really looking forward to scouring your blog for ideas when I get to creating my garden. The vegie garden will be first, because I’m so looking forward to having our own fresh and organic vegie supply. I really liked your dream board idea, and am hoping that is something that will help me start taking action!

  4. Brigid, You are such an inspiration. Congratulations on pressing that publish button and creating this great blog. I look forward to following your blog, and being new to blogs, enjoying a whole new forum for sharing with others.

    I am not sure if it has been procrastination or distractions that have kept me from some of my dreams, but whatever it is, I am certainly like you and making 2011 a year to get moving in the right direction.

    My key tip for overcoming procrastination is baby chunks!! Like my shiny kitchen sink that has been shining everyday since 4th December 2010 when I decided to take a baby chunk towards de-cluttering our home. Enjoy that refreshing celebratory drink!

    • Thanks Kerrie. I really appreciate your encouragement – you know it’s helped me get this far!
      Like you, it’s not just procrastination that keeps me from pursuing those things I really want. The fact that I have so many things that I want to achieve, and often limited time, is a big part of it too I know.
      But there are definitely some things that I put off and really struggle to take action on, and they seem to be the things that matter the most to me.
      I’m inspired though by your continued shiny sink, and look forward to 2011 being a year of baby chunks and lots of action towards our dreams!

  5. Good work Brigid! Try reading Reflections in the Kitchen Sink, ask my sister Kerrie about it. I read it years ago and still stand by a few tips in keeping life in order…. starting with the kitchen sink. Bite size chunks. it’s OK to vacuum the mess on the floor into the pile and deal with the pile later – at least the floor is clean. Get a few ‘chores’ done straight away and then tackle the goals list knowing that you haven’t abandoned the household. Now, back to cooking dinner, answering the phone and thinking about when to do my next run… Jane

    • Thanks Jane! I’ve got a couple of copies of Flylady’s book around the house here, and will write a post one day (although most likely for my bookshop blog which is yet to be brought to life!) about what a huge difference her website, emails and book have made to my housework and organizational habits. On those days that I follow my “morning routine”, it makes such a difference starting the day with the house in reasonable order, and everything runs so much more smoothly. Kerrie’s sink though is currently putting me to shame inspiring me!!

  6. Wendy Chennell says:

    Hey Brigid!
    I love the blog! It’s funny but the things you are frustrated with are the exact same things for me. Is it really procrastination, or is it that as Mums/wives/people we have so much going on that we physically just can’t get to do everything? I don’t know the answer to that. However, as I was getting ready for bed tonight, I wondered why other people seem to ‘have it together’ and I don’t… then I read your blog and felt reassured that I am not the only one struggling with the fight! I think you have inspired me to think a bit further about what my REAL goals should be for this year! So Thank You! I look forward to reading more about you and your thoughts on your blog! … Wendy

    • Hey Wendy! That’s so true. I think we all can tend to look at other people and think that they have it all together. It’s often not until we know people well enough to share our experiences – or until we share them in our blog! – that we realize how much we all struggle with the same things.
      As far as the lack of time vs procrastination goes, I know for me it’s both. I tell myself that I could do so many things if I had more hours in a day. When it comes down to it though, there’s a fair bit of time-wasting that goes in those times that I do allocate to working on the things I really want to achieve!
      Will look forward to hearing about you achieving your goals this year, and keeping you up to date with mine.

  7. Hi, Brigid ~ Congrats on your first post and new blog! The layout and theme work very nicely with your topic. Procrastination is something I, too, deal with all the time. Lol, it’s the topic of my last blog post. :)

  8. Hi, Deb. Thanks for checking out my blog. I just checked out your last post and, as you can imagine, I could relate to a lot of what you wrote! I look forward to following you dealing with your procrastination, and being inspired by your wonderful blog.

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