Why You Procrastinate and How to Stop
Are you putting off important projects?
One of my favorite cartoonists, John Atkinson summed our propensity to procrastinate with this cartoon
Like most people, I wrestle with priorities. These productivity secrets have helped. Each tip focuses on reducing the clutter blocking creativity and motivation.
Some clutter is normal while you’re living your life. There are two kinds of Clutter, though: Denial Clutter and Creative Clutter. The first is an exercise in avoidance. By not addressing the problems, you bury them under mounds of junk that overwhelm and distract you.
Creative Clutter is the mind sorting through the gargantuan puzzle called Life, pulling it together into a beautiful work of Art.
Choose the second. The first will kill you and destroy your soul.
Clutter drains our energy. Piles of magazines and hundreds of knickknacks split our attention and cause us to lose focus. Our peripheral vision busily catalogs all those possessions in case we need them later.
Try this: clear your desktop or table. Put all piles and accessories on the floor behind you. Take the one folder you need and place it in front of you. What do you notice? Do you feel an almost instant rise in your energy levels? I felt this when clearing out holiday decorations. I was reluctant to put anything on the newly cleared surfaces. The clean lines, clear spaces, and uncluttered living areas felt much calmer. I may leave it that way. Salvation Army, here I come!
We have cluttered desks, cluttered computer desktops, and cluttered homes. These pile on top of brain clutter: all those things that bounce around in our brains all day and night, keeping us awake. What to do?
Start with your physical environment
Secret 1: De-clutter Your Physical Environment: Gail Blanke’s book “Throw Out 50 Things” was a huge help in getting me started. I love books and every surface is covered in them. Then there’s the collection of goofy souvenirs I picked up along the way. Gail’s book helped me start the sorting process.
Here’s another motivation: in the past few years I’ve helped sort through the estates of four friends who passed away. It’s a sobering reality check when you realize this little statue meant so much to your friend, but to you, it’s just a giraffe gathering dust.
I sorted through my own things as if I were the Executor of my estate. If something means a lot, but it’s in a box in the shed, maybe it’s time to pass it along to someone who’ll treasure it.
Your Brain Needs De-cluttering too!
Secret 2: De-clutter Your Brain — Dump the mental trash. My regular readers know this is my New Year’s Ritual. I play special music (see Secret 3) and get out a yellow pad. Without stopping, I write down everything that’s upsetting me. I write my worries; my self-recriminations; the internal resentment or anger about situations within and without my control.
This ritual started when I was 30. I’ve found relief in seeing these thoughts on paper. Unnamed and unrecognized resentments can make you sick. Airing them out on paper starts the healing process, releasing them through writing. I commit to writing until there’s nothing left to say; nothing left to feel; nothing left to resent.
But I don’t stop there. I may get up and walk the dog; get away from the “trash list” for a bit. Then I sit down again and focus on one item at a time. Seeing this in writing often makes me giggle. Sometimes I cry at how foolish I’ve been. Sometimes it helps me see a solution. I cross out each line and write a positive affirmation or solution in the space below.
When finished, the positive statements are transcribed onto clean paper. Then, outside to the hibachi with the original trash list! I take a deep breath, and forgive myself for my foolishness. I forgive others who may have been listed there as well. This is the process of Forgive and Remember, not repression. It is finished. Fini. Done. Then I rip the old list to shreds, dropping it into the flames of the hibachi. Enough. Time to move on.
Fatigue comes from cluttered energy
Secret 3: De-clutter your Energy. Imagine if sounds were water. Most of us would drown in the noise surrounding us every day. Since we don’t see it, we adapt to the noise and ignore it. But do we really? Pay attention to the sounds around you. Is the TV on all the time? Is your workplace noisy? Our brains cope by setting it aside, but it’s never gone. As with that stack of papers on your desk, your brain picks up the clutter and uses up precious energy to deal with it. Noisy environments make us tired.
Recently we’ve rediscovered the ancient wisdom of using sound energy at 432Hz and 8Hz as a medium for healing and relaxation. Theories about this vary widely, but I’ve noticed I take deep breaths and feel more creative and relaxed with this music playing. I was challenged with writer’s block today. Then I played this Music to Relax. Within moments I was breathing easier and my brain began churning out ideas to share with you.
If you have pets, here’s a side benefit: when I started playing these harmonies, my very active pup climbed onto my lap and fell asleep!
Listen and see if it works for you. Pachelbel Canon in D is one of the best-known works in 432Hz
To find music that appeals to your tastes, search on 432Hz and you’ll find many options.
Take a little time each day to listen to music that soothes your harried mind. It will do wonders for your ability to get things done. Just as you shower to start your day, this music is like a hot shower for your energy.
To Your Productivity!
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