“I can do that later.”
Just five little words that create major havoc in our lives, because when “later” comes, those five words start to get a little more truthful:
“I don’t feel like it,” or “Maybe I’m not good enough.”
On paper, procrastination sounds like a fairly easy concept to understand and solve: “An action delayed or postponed.” The answer is simple, right? JUST DO IT.
If that were the case, there would be no need for me to write this article. The real issue is that procrastination is only the symptom of a larger, much more complex problem.
For me, procrastination feels like an alarm bell that’s going off in the distance – muffled at first, then slowly getting louder and closer.If I still don’t take action, it starts to vibrate (very unpleasantly) like a metal gong in my body. I hate that feeling, so I read everything I could about time management, self-discipline, and productivity. I learned some cool tips and tricks, but none of the techniques I learned would stick for more than a month, and I got frustrated.
Eventually, I realized that procrastination is really the result of a complete misunderstanding of time and energy. Just like you naturally stop gaining weight when you embrace a healthy lifestyle (versus punishing yourself by trying to stick to a very specific and strict diet), you naturally stop procrastinating when you take full ownership of time and your mind (versus struggling your way through task completion with willpower).
Taking Ownership of Time
Most of us believe that time is like gravity: a physical entity, outside of us, putting pressure on us, and making us its victim. We feel that time is a finite resource and must be exactly portioned out to cover all the things that need to be done. Most of us find that we have too little of it, which creates feelings of stress and scarcity.
But what if I told you that time is actually a mental construct?
Here’s an example: one hour with your loved one (or your favorite TV show) feels like a minute, and yet a minute of having your hand burned while cooking feels like an hour. Did time change? Or did you?
When you are with your loved one, you actually want to occupy that space fully, and so you expand. When you are burning your hand and in pain, you do not want to occupy that space, so you contract. Time is the perceived progress of existence with the past, present, and future all being seen as a whole.
This is good news, because it means that we can produce as much time as we need.
Gay Hendricks, in his book, The Big Leap describes this as learning to live on “Einstein Time.” On Einstein Time you can:
* Get more done in less time
* Enjoy plenty of time & abundant energy for creative activities
* Discover your unique abilities and how to express them
* Feel good inside
When we take ownership of time, we generate the energy and time we need instead of wasting it with resistance and stress. It’s a complete mindset shift that takes practice. And the first step is to examine what you are really thinking and saying when you make statements like “I can’t” or “I don’t have time.”
When we say we don’t have time, what we really mean is, “I don’t want to do that.” When we notice ourselves procrastinating, this is simply a notification from within that there is some element of our life we do not fully own. If the goal is to shift our mindset to take full ownership of the idea that we are the source of time and create it from within, then we are ready to move on to the next step.
Taking Ownership of Your Mind
No matter what goal you have—to build a six-figure voice-over business or to lose 20 pounds— on one side there is the dream and vision (A), on the opposite side there is the desired result (B), and in the middle is the gap that we fill.
When we “cannot” take action on achieving our goals, that gap gets filled with procrastination, confusion, complaining, doubt, fear, judgment, and resistance.
This produces a vicious cycle of inaction, and we use that inaction as further evidence that the goal is not achievable. There ARE things in this life that we cannot take ownership of. We cannot control:
*external events (like the weather)
Sorry, friends. Trying to control the uncontrollable is a one-way ticket to disappointment, but we can take ownership of literally everything else in life.
Our results are always based on our actions, and our actions are always fueled by our emotions, which are created by our thoughts. If our thoughts are what drive our everything…then why are we not deciding what to think on purpose?
When people start paying attention to their minds, they are often amazed at how much negative and unhelpful thinking is going on. Our unsupervised mind is like a puppy, it will run around in circles, tearing up the room, peeing on things, and reacting to whatever happens unless you guide it in a more useful direction. We don’t kick the puppy, we train it.
Before we can replace negative thoughts, we need to take some time understanding them, with compassion and curiosity. There is a very good reason why you and I develop the patterns that we do, and if we want lasting change, we need to get ahold of the reasons why those patterns exist.
Taking Massive Action
The real way that you stop procrastinating is by taking massive action—that is, you keep taking action until you reach the desired result. Think of it in terms of driving a car to the store. Taking massive action (shopping at the store) requires having complete ownership of time and your mind (your driving skills), and a compelling vision (your route and wish list).
Imagine if, at the first red light, you decided to just pull over, or turn around and go home. When we look at all the tasks required to “drive a car,” none of them are particularly fun, interesting, or motivating, but we don’t procrastinate doing them once we get behind the wheel. We aren’t focused on the tasks. We’re focused on where we’re going.
I may not enjoy folding and putting away laundry or making cold calls to potential voice-over clients, but my vision for my business includes earning six-figures, and living in an uplifted space. I may not feel like doing the task, but I definitely feel like building my dreams. Those dreams will always pull me and motivate me so much more fully than will power ever could.That’s the kind of focus shift we are working toward, my friends. If you are willing to commit to expanding into full ownership daily, scarcity and stress will truly become abundance and success. You don’t have to do anything. Ever. But you can choose to do anything and everything that will create the meaningful life of your dreams! What will you accomplish today?