Just Do It: How to Stop Procrastinating and Get Moving

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It’s easy for me to tell you to do the thing you know you need (or want) to do but don’t want to take the steps to do. The real problem begins between your ears… in your mind.

Consider this: if you lack motivation to do most things because you are afraid they are going to be hard, it is because you are thinking about it the wrong way. If you think it is going to be hard, it will be hard.

We think we have to know exactly what to say before we write that e-mail. We put off applying for financial aid for our classes because it seems to take so darn long to fill out those fields on the website and hunt down our tax info. We are afraid to start projects that we are no confident that we can (or want to) finish. Well, throw out all those presuppositions.

One way you can combat procrastination is to find a new way of talking to yourself. Don’t tell yourself that you have to do something but that you get to. Tell yourself “I am looking forward to my study time because I get to learn something new and become more knowledgeable in this field.” “I get to network, promote my business, and learn about other peoples’ businesses if I go to this party. It’s better than staying home, eating that gallon of ice cream and getting fat.” “I get the satisfaction of knowing my checkbook is balanced and keep from bouncing checks if I take a moment to balance my checkbook.”

If there is something that you must do but do not want to do, check your attitude about it. If your attitude is wrong, know that your wrong attitude began with wrong thinking.

Sometimes, though, it takes a while to change deeply ingrained habits of wrong thinking and attitudes. Don’t stress about it. Keep moving. When you find out what you are actually capable of, this will help you change your attitude soon enough.

The main point is to get moving. You say you don’t want to start something you might not be able to finish? Excellent! Start it anyway! Your dislike of leaving things unfinished should be a motivator for you to see it through, step by step, to a completed end. You do not fail because you tried it and didn’t get the outcome you wanted; you failed because you didn’t try. You didn’t try because you gave yourself an excuse to fail.

Why keep giving yourself excuses to fail? You are only hurting yourself. There is a saying that the definition of insanity is to do the same things over and over again while expecting a different result.

Another way to take action on a certain task is to give up any expectation that you are going to do it perfectly or complete it all right away. You have to tell yourself that you are alright with that. Just start, break the task down into steps on a to-do list, and see what fun it is to check off the smaller tasks as you do each one every day, every few hours, etc. Before you know it, the overall task will be completed!

You will also have to guard against thinking that conditions have to be just right before you can start your task. Perfectionism will never help you get anything done.

To get things done, it also helps to make yourself comfortable with discomfort. Again, the problem with that is between the ears. We often makes things more uncomfortable for us based simply on the way we think about the thing! Quit making an idol out of how you feel. Your feelings will change about something the more you do it.

Have you been letting your fears, wrong attitudes and wrong thinking challenge and question you? Turn around on those fears, wrong attitudes and wrong thinking and challenge and question them! Get moving!

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwerfeldein/5486288253/”>Martin Gommel</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

 

 

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The To-do List

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You’ll never change your life until you change something daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.

-John C. Maxwell

If you are trying to live a more productive, focused life, keeping a daily to-do list is the way to go.

Writing our aspirations down on paper turns our dreams into intent; completing the tasks turns our intentions into reality. It can be pretty empowering when we find we have checked off all the items on our list by the end of the day.

The best thing to do is to start small. Your list can consist of the most simple things like “get up before 7 am every day”, “apply to three jobs today”, “run a load of laundry”, and so forth. It can consist of small tasks, large tasks, or whatever it is that you really want to accomplish. Unless you really get off on challenges, don’t get overly excited and create this mile-long list of things to do; you won’t get half of it completed before day’s end and you’ll feel totally deflated. If that does happen, however, don’t get discouraged. Transfer the items you didn’t finish onto a fresh sheet of paper and start over as though you didn’t miss a beat.

If you want to be more effective in your life and business, follow the to do list. It will help you to stay on task and create success-filled habits.

The Power of Immediacy

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Why put off till tomorrow what you can do today? It is a good idea to have a day job, but why not open up as many alternate streams of income as one possibly can?

I had my excuses. In regard to opening up a stream of income through selling my art, they looked something like this:

I gave most of my art away because I didn’t do well in the last market. I don’t have enough.

No one wants to buy art. They have to afford necessities.

I don’t have time to create new art pieces.

I flouted the seeming authority of the above excuses and opened up an online store for my art yesterday.

I now have an art piece listed for sale on that site. Granted, I had only one to post on it, but if I waited until I had more pieces to post before I opened my online store, I might never have done it. Even if no one purchases the piece for a while, at least I have opened up the possibility that someone will purchase it. No action on my part = no possibility.

Also, the fact that I posted only one piece on my store makes me a little embarrassed, which places pressure on me to create more art right away to post.

I would also like to see what I can do to create a current demo CD for my music and try to gig somewhere again.

If you want to get anything done, make some step in a positive direction now. By all means, think everything through and don’t make risky investments without thinking, but take somepositive step. The point is to get moving.

It’s called taking a step of faith… more answers and guidance will come to you as you keep moving.