Now this is an interesting mindfulness practice following last week’s practice about being on time. Perhaps one is related to the other in some way?
This week’s mindfulness practice asks us to become aware of procrastination.
Procrastination is putting off something that needs to be done. With this practice we are asked to look at procrastination in two ways: the method we use to delay doing something and what we do about it. Other aspects to consider are what leads us to procrastinate and the strategies we use to modify or overcome the procrastination.
Sometimes we procrastinate because our inner critic appears just as we attempt to complete an activity. That negative voice speaks up, criticizes us, and we put off the activity.
Sometimes we make up excuses, such as telling ourselves if X or Y wasn’t getting in the way, we’d have time to do the particular activity. Yet if we look at how we are using our time, we’d be surprised (or not) that we’re really wasting time.
Sometimes we procrastinate by spending time gathering materials for a project or waiting for the “perfect” moment to begin.
Do you see yourself in any of these examples?
For myself, I sometimes procrastinate out of fear. Fear of taking that first step. Fear of failing. Sometimes I procrastinate because the task at hand is something I really don’t want to do. In my head it feels easier to put it off. Unfortunately, it sits on my to-do list for several days taunting me until I deal with it.
What is the antidote to our procrastination? Simply doing it. That is, taking responsibility for the task and getting it done. Put it at the top of the to-do list and deal with it first thing in the morning.
As with many of the topics of past mindfulness practices and those things we avoid, procrastination causes us to suffer. Think about how you feel when you put off a task for days at a time. The dread you may feel about doing a task only gets worse the longer you put it off.
This week, become aware of the tasks you put off. Become aware of what causes you to procrastinate. Then consider how you can break that cycle.
Reflection: Procrastination is the bad habit of putting of until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday. –Napoleon Hill