Tag Archives: self criticism

Self compassion against procrastination

Self criticism increases your chances on procrastination. Self compassion decreases them. That’s the short version. But how can you make this work?

Be warned: self compassion is not a tool. It’s not something you use to create something else. It’s nothing more (or less) than a practice – to use some jargon. Which basically means you have to practice it. Over and over again. Without ever getting perfect at it. But it makes a difference. A huge difference.

I’ve written before about the link between self criticism and procrastination, I won’t repeat that here. Instead, I want to recommend a free source for learning about (and practicing with) self compassion: the radical self compassion challenge. Especially check out the interview with scientist Kristin Neff on day 3.

Self compassion against self criticism? No, that’s not how it works. But self compassion for self criticism? That’s definitely worth a try. Worth practicing. Worth being self compassionate about.

Marketing or procrastination?

There’s a term called ‘productive procrastination’. It means you’re procrastinating on something by doing something else. The good thing about it is: you get something done. The bad thing about it is, well… let’s leave that for later. Because it depends on how you treat yourself.

I planned to do my administration yesterday. I didn’t do it (never mind the reasons) so I planned it again today. I consider it a priority. It HAS to get done, it won’t go away if I don’t do it. My accountant needs time to hand in my stuff before the end of the month. So there’s sort of a deadline (yes, ‘sort of’ is not the most helpful type of deadline, there’s room for improvement there).

I’m afraid it’s easy to guess what happened. I procrastinated. I started by doing something else when I came home tired from fysiotherapy. Last week a fan asked me if my Procrastination Coach merchandise was still available on RedBubble. I hadn’t looked on there for a long time, so I decided to put ‘check RedBubble’ on my to do list. To do some time… Today seemed a good day for a fun little task.

One thing led to another. I designed new products on Redbubble. I added pins of my stuff to Pinterest. I posted on Facebook that RedBubble has a discount today. I twittered about the stuff I have on there. I rearranged some of my Pinterest boards to have a better picture as a first view. One thing lead to another, my administration isn’t done – and I’m writing a blog post now.

Has this been productive? Yes? Does it feel good? A little? Does it feel bad? That too… Was it procrastination? Yes. Definitively. Do I count it as productive procrastination? Yes, up to a certain point. It’s time to stop and switch now.

I’m used to procrastinating on my administration. My quarterly taxes always need digging. Digging through files, digging through e-mails. Logging in to places that have digital invoices. And digging through piles to find where I left my paper receipt this time.

I’m fully aware WHY I procrastinate on it. I know I dread the process, because I always end up feeling like an unorganised idiot. Even when I’ve tried to be more organised this time. So what I avoid is not the actual work, but the feeling it brings me.

I make sure to schedule my administration when I still have some time to procrastinate on it. Giving in to the urge to procrastinate for a day or two, seems to be easier for me than to fight the fight to get it done simply because I tell myself I HAVE TO. My inner anti-authoritarian starts playing up too much in those cases. I’m not buying the “I have to” when I know there’s time left. My inner anti-authoritarian simple crosses its arms, looks at me defiantly, and says “no, not yet”.

My work is about creating ways for you that work. If I beat myself up too much over procrastinating, the strategy of ‘productive procrastination’ is not the best. It will make me feel like I fail, which decreases my self confidence, which is… yes, a well-known trigger for procrastination.

If I accept that administration is a Thing for me, I can find a way to work with that. Like plan in time to procrastinate on it. Ideally, I do things in that time that I normally tend to procrastinate on. Like marketing. Or tidying up (when I’ll probably start finding some of the receipts already.

Marketing? Done. Blog post? Done! Next up: some tidying. Tomorrow… My administration. That’s a promise!

Me and my book :)

When I was younger, I wanted to write books. When I got older, I gave up on that idea. Too difficult. Too much work. So many books out there already, what could mine add to the world?

Then I created a course on procrastination. I made a course book for it. A practical document that could also be used as a self paced course. A realistic book that wanted to help in getting things done, but – even more than that – to create lasting change.

When my fabulous designer Lisa suggested I could turn the digital book into a real book, I thought that would be Difficult. A Lot Of Work. Lisa simply asked my permission and did it for me. And now it’s on sale on Amazon!

Pro-tip: don’t believe everything you think 🙂

A post to share my happy face! To celebrate. To share the joy. And to let my inner child know she was right about dreaming! It is a wonderful feeling to hold my own book.  I’m so thrilled to have my very own ISBN-number that I consider learning it by heart just for the fun of it.

MeAndMyBook

Dear me, we have a problem

Old patterns die slowly. Yesterday I wrote that it really worked to do some thinking before I started doing. Guess what happened today? I started doing as soon as I had identified a chore I would work on. No limits set on the amount of time. Just a vague idea that the chore would be finished when the half empty box of half sorted administration would be organised into a binder (or watchamacallit).

Stupid. Maybe it’s something you’re able to do, because you know when to stop in time. I don’t.

My body will send a number of signals that I’m no longer alright. At the moment the main one is an enormous amount of tension between my shoulders. I quit sorting 20 minutes ago, but the stress is still there. This is why I need to monitor my stress: it builds up very easily, but it doesn’t go away. Unless I stop in time, when my recovery system is still functional.

Unfortunately I’m totally used to ignoring my body (yes, I’m working on that), but there’s a signal that I do recognise as a red flag: when I keep telling myself ‘just a little bit more’. Basically, that’s the sentence I use to ignore those signals. There’s a whispering voice somewhere in my head that suggests it might be time to take a break. This voice will be met by a loud choir of ‘just a little bit more’, on repeat. Just until the easy bit of the task is done… Just until I’m half way… Just until this bit is finished… The choir comes up with a bunch of suggestions to keep me going.

I used to think that these voices help me to get a job done. Now I know that they actually INCREASE my procrastination. This is how that works:

By not sticking to my boundaries, I end up feeling bad: too tired to feel okay. Too tired to feel any satisfaction about what I’ve done. Too tired to be nice to my family. I’ll feel stupid and like a bad person.

Expecting a bad outcome, is a trigger for procrastination. When it comes to sorting out my administration and decluttering, I have a long list of bad outcomes:
– I can’t find stuff and I’ll feel like an idiot for not being a tidy person.
– I’ll find things I did wrong (like invoices I sent out with the wrong date) and feel stupid: How hard is it to put the right date on a piece of paper?
– I’ll get really, really, really tired before I have the result I’m aiming for, and feel desperate.
– I’ll have to make decisions that are difficult to me(Shall I keep this or throw it away? Where can I put it so that I’ll be able to find this again?) and feel like a twat that all that stuff is so hard.

There’s probably more I could add to that list, but it’s enough for now. Somewhere during this writing process the stress in my shoulders has lessened. Does that mean I’ll work on my project now? No!

I’ll take that break that I need now that I’m able to enjoy it. I’ll celebrate that I managed to sort out a bit of that pile that needed sorting. I’ll celebrate that I managed to stop, even when it was a bit too late already. And I’ll celebrate that I dare to share all this horrible stuff with you.

Reality check… what I actually did, was another chore… bringing paper to the recycling station (a 3 minute walk). While I did that, I noticed I was too tired and doing another chore instead of the break I had promised myself. My brain is really good in luring me in, providing arguments like: It’s nice weather outside, it’s good to enjoy that for a bit. It’s physical exercise, that might help you relax. You’ll throw away some of the stuff you sorted, that will make you feel good.

Whenever I hear myself give me more than one excuse to do something, I’m probably in overdrive, denial, or any other mode that’s not getting me where I truly want to be.

After that, I did get some rest.

Now I have my third blog post for #NaBloPoMo done. There’ll probably be another post today, as I’m trying to make up for a late start.