Overcoming procrastination



What can help?
Tactics for Overcoming Procrastination
Effective ways to kick-start the process of change.......

In a safe place, breathe out slowly three times and allow your body to relax
If you relax, your brain chemistry will adjust to allow you to use the most developed parts of your brain. This will mean you feel and think more clearly and calmly, you will be able to make more balanced decisions, and you are more likely to behave as you wish to.

Take accessible exercise - e.g. walking round the block
Our bodies and systems enjoy metaphors. The more physically relaxed and energised you are, the stronger and more competent you will feel, and the more able to both envisage moving ahead, and the more able to actually take the necessary steps.

Put an end to empty promises
....whether to yourself or to anyone else. Conscious delay is fine. But promising without delivery only serves to undermine your self-belief. An attitude of "promise little, deliver much" will take you much further.

Develop an internal compassionate witness, and an attitude of curiousity
Driving ourselves with anger or derision doesn't help. Regarding what we do with compassion and interest, whilst holding our objectives in mind, is far more likely to help us move ahead. Think of yourself as a good friend who needs support and encouragement.

Identify the first step in moving through the Action Spiral,
and how long it will take
Think about what you are doing now (A). Envisage what you want to do (B). Envisage the journey between (A) and (B). Note down why you want to take that journey. Envisage, or better still, write down all the steps from (A) to (B), and notice where you have got stuck in the Action Spiral. Identify the first step, and estimate how long it might take, based on past experience. And then maybe double that time)

Envision success
See yourself taking the first step, feeling great, enjoying a reward, doing something else more interesting, walking away, feeling released, feeling a sense of achievement.

Enlist support
Think about who could help you take this step, whether by being alongside at the time, or by being there afterwards as part of the reward. Ask them, or have them alongside in your imagination.

Even if the small piece of real world action is the tiniest fraction of the first part of the first step, it doesn't matter. In fact, in a way, the smaller the better, because then you know you are curing yourself of the habit of promising much and delivering little. And the most important thing is that YOU HAVE STARTED. Your brain cannot discount this. You have begun the return to being reliable to yourself. Trust was eroded step by step, and trust can be re-built step by step.

Pause, celebrate, grieve, learn, enjoy a reward
What reward did you envisage? Enjoy it now. Notice what feelings you have, and find any support you might need. Look at what you can learn from the experience. Recognise that the most important thing is that you now have more learning than you had, you are wiser, broader, more informed, and more reliable, regardless of whether you succeeded or failed.

Repeat as required........

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For many further suggestions on overcoming procrastination, please visit:

Andrea Perry
Taken from "Isn't It About Time? How to stop putting things off and get on with your life" by Andrea Perry Worth Publishing 2002 (ISBN 1903269032) www.worthpublishing.com

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