All of us are guilty of procrastinating at some point or another. We put off unpleasant tasks for as long as we possibly can simply because our mind tells us we don’t want to to do them. Try this experiment to see what kinds of tricks your mind is capable of playing on you.
Say to yourself,
“I have to rake the yard.”
“I have to get the laundry done.”
“I must clean the floors.”
“I need to get that presentation done for work.”
How are you feeling right now? Are you feeling overwhelmed and like you are all of a sudden carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? Are you suddenly “too tired” to do any of these things?
Now say this to yourself,
“I want to rake the yard.”
“I would love to get the laundry done.”
“I’ll feel so much better once the floors are cleaned.”
“I’m excited to get that presentation done for work.
Do you notice the difference in how you feel? Don’t all of these tasks seem very doable and easy now? Of course they do! The Ego is all about self-gratification and doing what feels good. If you allow yourself to think that something is hard or complicated, the Ego is very happy to provide you with a hundred reasons why it would be too hard for you to accomplish, so why bother trying? But if you tell yourself that you want something done and put a positive spin on it, the Ego doesn’t have the opportunity to make excuses.
If simply changing the way you phrase your task list isn’t providing enough oomph to get you off the couch, you can expand your inner dialogue. In the past, your Ego has given you many excuses to procrastinate. Now, let it give you reasons to act!
Here is a simple template you can use for your internal conversation with your ego.
“I want to _______________________ because:
When I am done with this, I will reward myself by ______________________.”
Let’s use the above example of raking the yard to see how this will work.
“I want to rake the yard because it is covered with leaves. Getting those leaves cleaned up will allow the grass to grow and green up faster, and the yard will look a lot nicer. I will also get some nice exercise and will get to spend some time outside soaking up the sun and fresh air. When I am done with this, I will reward myself by relaxing with my favorite book for an hour or two.”
How does that feel for you? Instead of giving yourself excuses to not do something, you have given yourself reasons to do it! Not only that, but you have promised your Ego the reward that he/she loves to have.
The more you work with the template, the easier it will be to stop procrastinating and start acting. You will feel a sense of accomplishment in finishing something, and also reap the benefits of all the reasons you listed for why you wanted to do the task in the first place. Soon, this internal conversation will be routine for you and procrastination will become a thing of the past.
Copyright ©2009, Shela Skarp
Shela Skarp is a spiritual life coach and author from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. For over ten years, she has used her intuition and empathy skills to successfully help and advise people just like you in the areas of spirituality and shifting their mindset to effect positive changes in their lives. Shela specializes in assisting people nearing or at middle age to look at mid-life as a growth spurt, and not a crisis. Shela may be located by visiting http://www.innerlight-coaching.com, where you may sign up for a free Spotlight coaching session today, and place yourself on the distribution list for one or both of her newsletters, Soul Light and Into Action.