I pulled into my driveway after going to the gym the other day and was surprised to see that the garage door had been left open. Knowing that my son Rock was the last to leave the house that morning, I figured he must have been running late and forgot to close it. Thankfully when I went inside the house everything was intact. When Rock came home, I gave him the typical mother-son “talk” about being more responsible and the risks involved of leaving the house unlocked. He felt bad, but said he was sure he had clicked the remote and closed the door when he left.

The next day it happened again. This time I was the perpetrator because I was the last one to leave the house. Darn, I had to apologize to Rock for my negligence and for lecturing him for something I was also guilty of. Later that evening I went to the grocery store and as I turned the corner to come home, low and behold the garage door was wide open.

Call me slow but it finally dawned on me that Rock and I were not the problem; the garage door was broken. We would click the remote and drive off – not knowing that the system wasn’t working. The door initially started to close but stopped one-fourth of the way down and went back up leaving the house unprotected.

What are you leaving unprotected in your life? What door do you need to close in 2017?

Let’s look at one door that should be closed in everyone’s life: procrastination.

The Door of Procrastination

What is something that you put off doing? My dad was a blue collar worker all his life and my mom waited on tables till she was 80. I was fortunate enough to have grown up living in a house where a hard work ethic was modeled. I learned how to work hard at a very young age so it came as a total surprise to me when I discovered that I procrastinate.

I realized it one day when I was overwhelmed with my business workload. All my projects were so incredibly challenging to me. I was working from home that day and looked around at the “mess” I saw in the house. The dishes were piled up, there was tons of laundry to do, the bathrooms needed to be cleaned and the floors hadn’t been mopped in weeks.

Without even thinking about it, I moved into action. I put on my Motown playlist and immediately started cleaning the house. I lost track of time and worked for hours.  By the end of the day, I had cleaned the entire house including the patio and I felt so energized.

As my head hit the pillow that night I said to myself, “What a productive day you’ve had!”  I felt so accomplished. Then it hit me like I had gotten smacked in the head with a baseball bat: I had put off doing all of the business projects I needed to do that day; I had task switched.

Why? Cleaning comes easy to me and it energizes me. That gives me a rush plus I’m handsomely rewarded. Not only have I been extremely productive, I also have a clean house. On the flip side of the coin, my business projects for that day all involved technology which is my Achilles heel. I had procrastinated that day despite the fact that I was incredibly busy and super productive.

Avoidance Behavior

Before you judge me, just know that you probably procrastinate as well. We all do it to one degree or another; we put off doing things that seem daunting, fearful or that require more effort and energy than what we “think” we can put forth.

There are a lot of myths concerning procrastination. Some prevailing views see procrastination as a lack of willpower or inherent laziness. The reality is, for the most part, procrastination is an avoidance behavior strongly associated with being overwhelmed, or experiencing fear and stress. In essence procrastination is more of a symptom then it is a cause.

Procrastination does offer a short-term fix and gives short-term rewards. Unfortunately, it eventually develops into a habit, one that is difficult to break.

“Procrastination is a thief of time.”  – Edward Young

What is procrastination costing you? What must happen so that you are not exposing yourself to potential danger or the derailment of your dreams and goals by chronically procrastinating? Let’s look at 5 easy tips to close the door on procrastination, based on the Psychology of Success.

Tips to Overcome Procrastination

1. Awareness

The first step to overcoming procrastination is to recognize when you are doing it. Once you become aware of the fact that you are avoiding something, you have a choice to make. What that choice is depends largely on your belief system. When you change your beliefs, you change your behavior.

2. Commitment

You have an incredible freedom always available to you; the power of choice. On a psychological level, once you commit to something, you alter your subconscious belief system about who you are and what you think you can do. You actually start believing that you can do the thing(s) you have avoided. But you must commit to experience this change.

3. Connect With Your Feelings

Once you’ve made the decision to commit to changing your behavior, the next step is for you to connect with what you are feeling when you want to avoid doing something. Recognizing why you are sidestepping an issue, a conversation or a task will help you identify the root cause of the procrastination.

Ask yourself if you are feeling overwhelmed, fearful or anxious. Connecting to your emotions allows you to choose what feeling you want to have. This in turn empowers you to decide how you want to show up. Some examples of positive feelings:

  • Inspired
  • Brave
  • Hopeful
  • Energized
  • Motivated
  • Focused

4. Move

IMG_6886Watch a Nike commercial. Nike has gotten it right for years with their simple yet profound classic tag line, “Just Do It.” Once again you have to exercise the power of choice but the trick is to just move; just do something. Be intentional about what you choose to do but take some sort of forward action; small or large.

5. Break it Down into Bite-Size Pieces

Don’t look at the entire task; narrow it down like a funnel and move quickly.  Mel Robbins, author of The 5 Second Rule, tells her readers to physically move within the first 5 seconds of thinking of it. Then do something, anything for 5 minutes.

Myself, when I’m feeling overwhelmed or scared and I know I’m avoiding something, I set my timer for 25 minutes and move forward. Then I take a 5 minute break. This gives me a good start and activates everyone’s best friend; momentum.

Momentum can carry the ball much further down the field than we can on our own, but it won’t work if you don’t first put something into action. So look at the thing you are avoiding and narrow it down. What can you accomplish in 5 minutes, what can you get done in 25 minutes? Then take a short break and start the cycle again.

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” –Martin Luther King Jr.

There are just a couple of weeks left in 2017. Think of how your actions might be impacting your life and the lives of those close to you. We usually give in to what feels better, so if you truly desire change, be intentional and make a conscious effort to follow these steps  What greater note can you end on than to commit to being proactive and reducing procrastination? 

Hopefully you’ve taken away a couple of ideas to help you close the door on the defeating habit of procrastination so you can start with a clean slate and clear the way for your dreams and goals in the New Year.

Rita Hudgens
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Rita Hudgens

Leadership and Personal Development Coach at Transform University
Rita is a Performance Improvement Coach. Her mission is simple; she helps entrepreneurs, achievers, and leaders make positive changes in their behavior. She empowers her clients so they are more in control of their present which in turn gives them a greater sense of self-confidence. She creates a safe environment for them and builds on their values, passions and strengths so that they can achieve their personal and professional goals.

Rita helps her clients:
• Embrace their true potential
• Change their limiting beliefs/thoughts
• Create Purpose
• Live Empowered, Confident, and Successful Lives
Rita Hudgens
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