Category Archives: Goal setting and goal keeping

Setting goals may keep you from procrastinating, but it’s not a guarantee. These post will explore what works, and what doesn’t work. Expect tips, tricks, best practices and lessons learned.

Today is the day

I’m going to finish my November project. Today. April 17 instead of the November 30 I hoped for (yes, that doesn’t say ‘I planned for, I know…). You’d think I’d be excited, happy, relieved. Instead I’m tired, full of resistance and desperately longing to not work on it today. Why? I don’t know.

So, again, this blog post is to make myself accountable. I WILL finish it today.

I’m not sure whether I want to look into my resistance and learn from it, or simply bypass it. I do know the resistance annoys the heck out of me.

I remember that I wrote about unmet needs as a productivity block. Maybe that post brings some insights.

I have gotten my poem for #NaPoWriMo done, so I can’t procrastinate by doing that. There are five sweet kittens in my house  that I could look at for hours. Maybe I can make those my reward for getting my first steps done: reading the blog post I mentioned, and creating a plan for today after that.

 

Paper pile monster

 

On track

Working so hard on my planned project (see previous posts) that I don’t have time to write a blog post, Yay me!

PS: celebrating accomplishments is very healthy against procrastination. Since lack of faith in getting a job done (well) can be a trigger for procrastination, you’re actively increasing your faith in yourself by spending some yay-time on yourself.

PPS: Self criticism often gets enough me-time already with people who know procrastination intimately.

mortar_board_trans_800

And for the #NaPoWriMo peeps: I got my poem done before I started working on my adminisration. Fun before frog. It turned out to be a good choice: all headspace is available for my boring task My mind is free now and I can focus on getting mynumbers right.

In the post I visited yesterday I wrote that I have low confidence in my ability to stick to a concrete plan. Confession time: I ran away from the post after I’d read it, and didn’t manage to get any planning done yesterday. Other stuff that needed doing? Yes. Planning? No. I even realised I’d sooner have worked on my horrible task itself, than the planning for it.

Yesterday I decided to let it happen. Today that won’t fly. I WILL plan.

Just now I realised my low confidence in my ability to stick to a concrete plan only matters if I believe it has consequences. I can’t play standing base. Do I care about that? No, since it has no consequences (apart from me not being in a psychobilly band, which I can live with).

So what about my perceived inability to stick to a concrete plan is such a drama? Obviously nothing, but some part of me is telling me differently. I’ll try to shed some light on the fictitious monsters under my bed. I’ll challenge them after I uncover them.

I believe I SHOULD be able to stick to a concrete plan

Now that I write that down I wonder: why? There are probably millions of people who don’t know how to stick to plan or who don’t care about planning or sticking to it in the first place. Why do I believe that I HAVE TO BE ABLE to?

If I can’t stick to a plan, I’m a worthless coach

Again, as soon as I wrote this down, I noticed this thought doesn’t make sense to me at all, even though it’s mine (hidden beneath layers of rationality, I’ve practised on those discoveries). In my thorough training for being a coach, sticking to a plan was never a requirement.

If I can’t stick to a plan, I’m a worthless procrastination coach

My brain is trying to convince me the thought makes sense, by altering it. I’m a worthless procrastination coach then? No, not true either. It’s probably the other way around: if I thought planning was easy, I’d keep believing it’s a solution or even a cure for procrastination.  If it only was that easy…

If I can’t stick to a plan, I’m stupid

I think we’re at the end of my reasoning here, because I feel the urge to stop writing this and simply make a planning. I don’t even care about refuting this thought.

To make sure I don’t lose my way: I’ll only share this post after my planning is done 🙂

Got my planning done. Got ‘rewarded’ with a deadline – it turns out my planning is absolutely necessary! Also, I have already done the first part of my planning.

The inner critic (the thoughts written in bold) is not winning today 😉

And my #NaPoWriMo post got done before anything else: Would you pray to me. Productivity wise, something could be said against that… Then again: I’ve had my fun, now I’ll get everything done 😉 That will be my motto today

Procrastination duality

This poem by a fellow #NaPoWriMo participant sums up the feeling of procrastination (and more) in three short lines. Brilliant! It also shows the solution… Now how to get there?

Duality

The mind is at war
Logic versus Emotion
Only one may rule

The mind is at peace
Planning balancing Impulse
Both ruling as one
Source and copyright: https://myauthoritis.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/duality/

May I add that the poem is probably about much more (or maybe even something different) than my interpretation ‘procrastination’? It’s just where my mind led me.

So how to get logic and emotion ruling as one this week? I’m grumpy and full of resistance, so emotion is running the show…

Accountability

I’m going to be accountable for administration stuff again this week. My brain is already trying to avoid planning, by telling me ‘no need to make this concrete, you’ll do as you promised, in some way’.

So, first thing I’ll do is go back to my post called ‘I hate planning‘. I vividly remember the title. I don’t have a clue what I wrote there. It’s probably something I need today.

Then I’ll do the planning I need. Then, and only then, do I return here and make myself accountable. And hopefully share something I’ve learned as well. By linking up the post I was looking for, I’ve already learnt there is no post called I hate planning. Memory is a fickle thing 🙂

Looks like planning is my frog today!

Start with the smallest step you can think of

The bigger the fear, the better this advice is. You know that joke about how you eat an elephant? The trunk first? There’s a reason why there’s no such joke about eating a quail. And it’s not just because a quail has no trunk.

The bigger the fear, the better this advice is. You know that joke about how you eat an elephant? The trunk first? There’s a reason why there’s no such joke about eating a quail (and it’s not just because a quail has no trunk).

I reminded myself of the smallest step technique today, because I know I need to restart my November project soon, and I dread it. I had to quit the project because of the flu – two or three rounds of it, I lost count. Then Christmas came, and then work happened. In the meanwhile my brain has labeled the project a FAILURE, and it’s frantically sending anxiety signals as soon as I consider picking it up again.

But it needs to be done. I want to get it done. And I want my brain to recogniseI did well, even when I didn’t finish it. The failure interpretation is an unfair distortion, and harmful too. Not to mention that it’s a clear invitation for procrastination!

So, my first small step today was revisit this blog. I replied to some of the comments I hadn’t replied to before, which reminded me of what a positive the experience othe blogging about my project has been.

It helped me reconnect to the feeling of ‘I want to get this done’. So I decided on a second small step: checking my diary if I had space (both time wise and mentally) to restart next week. Turned out I have SOME space. Which is enough when you think about small steps; it’s not too daunting to work on it a bit.

Obviously my third small step has been to write this blog post. It’s out in the open now: I will restart my November project. In February. Those taxes need to get done…

Today’s illustration is linked to the idea of taking a first small step. I made it on a day when I hadn’t painted for a long while. I wanted to paint, but felt like it would be impossible to create something beautiful. I felt I had lost all my skills, and certainly all my faith in being capable. So I decided to simply grab paint and create something that I would probably throw away because it was ugly. But at least I’d have handled some paint again. I did it. It worked. And I never threw it away. My son loved it (much to my surprise), so I gave it to him.

Rewards stop procrastination

A typical reaction to eating a frog is this:

I’m STUPID. I could have done this ages ago. I SHOULD have done this ages ago!

It looks like internal shouting. And it is. A punitive voice that tells you you’re no good. Again..

Criticism doesn’t work

Emotion lies behind every almost form of procrastination. Fear of failure and fear of not being good enough are common examples. What the critical voice does, is feed these fears. It takes a success you’ve just created, and turns it into proof that you’re a quack.

Inner berating leads to more procrastination, not less.

flagellant

Reward yourself

Each time you get something done that you procrastinated on, reward yourself. Acknowledge yourself for getting over yourself. Celebrate that YOU DID IT. Create physical rewards: a nice cup of coffee of tea, reading the newspaper, going out for a walk. The bigger your challenge was, the bigger the reward you create.

Your typical reaction to eating a frog, may become this:

I rock!

I’d love to hear your response to this post.  What you do reward yourself with? Or what keeps you from rewarding yourself? Or how about this: acknowledge yourself publicly. Now that’s a challenge… 🙂 The reply button is on the top left side of this post.

The dreaded New Year’s question…

I’ve never been one for New Year’s Eve. I don’t understand why January 1 is supposed to be different from December 31. And the party always comes with the dreaded question: what are your New Year’s resolutions?

I don’t know about you, but setting New Year’s resolutions always gets me worried that I will fail. Apparently rightly so, when you read this article.

And yet, I feel the lure of the calendar: yes, it’s a new year coming. A time unit that will have it’s own story, when I give it a chance. And I know that I can influence that story, by creating it.

So, if you were to create your own story for the next year, how would you go about doing that? I’d love to hear what inspires you most, throug my poll. What I’d love even more, is when you reply to this post and share your ideas.