Procrastination, it’s like that horrendous monster chasing you down in childhood nightmares.
Remember those nightmares?
Every night, you dreaded going to sleep. You knew you’d wake in a cold sweat.
You’d awaken, screaming out.
In the dark, a raging monster would chase you down. Your little legs would run, faster and faster. But with every step forward, you’d make no progress.
Your legs were like lead. You’d want to run forward but, like having a huge rubber band attached, you’d be dragged back with every step forward.
Eventually you’d give up …
And just before the monster pounced, you’d wake with a start.
Maybe tomorrow night, you’ll sleep better … just maybe, just maybe.
Sometimes I think daily life can be a lot like that nightmare.
Our daily battle of setting goals only to find procrastination chase us down, for one thing, is a common cycle.
When it comes to setting goals, we feel the presence of a slobbering monster chasing us through the day.
We wake with the best intentions. Today is the day.
You’ve got your list of “must dos”. You’ve diligently narrowed it down, to give yourself a fighting chance.
On your list is N°1: the big goal of the day.
Today, you slay your N°1.
Today, you’ll get it done.
But then, something happens. That something is the same that happens regularly, on other days.
You set your clock in mind. It’s early morning. Ahead of you is s full day. It’s 24 hours, a chance for success.
Sure, early morning, success is guaranteed. You’re all fired-up, fit and raring to go.
By 11am there’s a bit of tension, but there ‘s plenty of time.
Midday clicks over and still no major win.
It’s looking like the long haul ahead.
When one o’clock ticks over, stress kicks in …
By one thirty, the clock is still ticking and progress is seemingly fading from view. Your spirits are waning. Motivation is feeling sluggish. Your forward movement is slowing. Life is like dragging an anchor on a very long chain.
Tick tock, it’s 2pm … and all is lost.
Somewhere in the process, everything has fallen apart. Progress has slipped through your fingers.
You’ve “dropped the ball” again, you feel.
And then it comes, the decision.
Hell, “it’s a write-off”.
“Let’s try again, tomorrow.”
“It’s just not happening, today.”
That’s a “good” moment, just before that niggling guilt kicks in, deep down.
You’ve failed, for sure (you say to yourself) but tomorrow, you’ll be ready. It’ll all be different, tomorrow.
Know the routine?
We all do.
It’s not a very unique problem, this thing called “procrastination”.
It’s also not necessarily a very complex thing to overcome.
In fact, sometimes you can slay procrastination quite easily, just by changing your frame of mind.
Or put another way, stop placing accepted ideas ahead of your own optimum way of working.
Let me explain with a little sidetrack into science fiction.
Last week I went to a domestic appliance store in search of new printer cartridge. As I walked towards the back of the store, I noticed the wall of flatscreen TVs, all lined up like a flickering Las Vegas boulevard.
Normally, I’d just keep moving. But something fun caught my attention. All the TVs were displaying a Star Trek episode.
Now, I don’t know about you but I love Star Trek.
Every week I take out some time to sit with my son to watch the latest episode. Good fun, really.
I sit down with my son.
Anyway, I digress.
What really made me stop was the scene that was playing out.
The captain was giving orders. The ship was getting ready to hurtle through space and time towards another galaxy.
The captain asked the first officer to meet him in 10 forward at 2200 hours.
Hold on, I thought. What’s this “22 hundred hour” business?
Aren’t they in space?
There are no sunsets in space. There are no sunrises, either. So why are they holding to the 24 hour cycle? It has no meaning in space. It’s an alien convention for their reality!
Now that got me thinking.
What if we could flip that idea on it’s head and apply it to our thinking about “time travel” in our daily lives?
What if we could get away from the 24 hour frame that is the stage for so many of our daily procrastinations?
What if we didn’t have to wait until tomorrow to feel OK about having a fresh start?
Here’s a little technique to do just that.
Divide the waking or working day into quadrants. Instead of you seeing progress measured by a whole day, 24 hours, you break the day into 4 time frames.
That way, if you feel things slipping away, you can “reset” easily, without waiting until tomorrow.
Our quadrants could be constructed by dividing up the bulk of our waking “productive hours” like this:
– 8am – 11am
– 11am – 2pm
– 2pm – 5pm
– 5pm – 8pm
If we slip up at 10am, no problem. We just reset our mindset at 11am.
Or if we drop the bundle at 3pm, no worries. Reset and try again at 5pm.
Rather than blowing the whole day away because we failed once, you get 4 goes.
That gives you 4 perfect opportunities to slay the procrastination demon.
Four times a day, you get to re-evaluate your progress and make adjustments.
The other benefit is, this re-framing of your “time expectation” is like giving yourself a turbo boost 4 times a day.
Why not give it a go.
Arm yourself with a mindset shift.
Unhook yourself from the conventional frame of the 24 hour day.
Assume you’re traveling in your own time and space reality. Accept your intergalactic difference and break time into 4 quadrants.
Enjoy murdering procrastination …
To your success.
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