Time management tips that find you time open doors to great possibilities. But what happens when you then lose that time to procrastination? Some tasks seem to bounce along, from one To Do list to the next, never getting accomplished. This might provoke guilt, anxiety or frustration in you. Feeling paralyzed by procrastination can sap your energy and make you feel out of control.
But there’s no need to be hard on yourself. Instead, try a fresh approach to make whatever task you avoid much more manageable.
Lowering the Stakes Can Revitalize Your Incentive!
Have you ever attempted to push past your resistance by threatening yourself with drastic scenarios if you don’t act? Ironically, this generally backfires. When you envision catastrophic outcomes for failure to complete the job successfully, you undermine your initiative even more!
This may go against everything you believe. Pressuring yourself may be continuing patterns that have been instilled in you since early childhood. However, far better alternatives exist.
If you question giving up your old pressure tactics, try the following visualization. You can experience for yourself how replacing dire predictions with relaxed problem-solving is an effective stress reduction tactic as well as creatively enhancing your problem-solving abilities.
The Raging River Visualization:
Take a deep breath, relax, and envision this scenario: Someone asks you to walk along a narrow, 12-inch path in a garden. Notice what you do. Chances are, you start right away, and easily accomplish the feat.
Now, imagine that someone is shouting at you to walk a 12-inch plank across a raging river! The width of your path is the same, but the high stakes in the latter case might keep you frozen on one side of the bank.
So, if you suspect anxiety feeds your procrastination, pay close attention to your self-talk. What do you try to goad yourself with?
Create a Positive, Stress-Reducing Alternative
Refuse to paralyze yourself with pressure tactics! Instead, when that old impulse arises, imagine catching the threat easily, as if it were a beach ball, and tossing it harmlessly to one side.
Then harness your imagination to envision a satisfactory Plan B, in case you encounter problems in executing your project. By assuring yourself that you will land on your feet, regardless, you can re-approach the task with confidence. When you feel your equilibrium return, take your next step. Accomplishing even a small portion of the job will help you move forward.
© Copyright 2011 Paula Eder, Ph.D.