Procrastination - Who cares what it's about. Just get me over it.

April 9, 2012

If you have found your way here, you might be procrastinating... so I won't take too much of your time.  You need to get your stuff done.

So here's what's happening.  Something about your 'stuff that needs to get done' has a barrier in your mind.  To demonstrate, an obvious example would be the need to book a holiday by someone who has a fear of flying. Perhaps weeks and months go by, and no holiday is booked.  Work comes in the way.  Important social dates.  Passport runs out without being noticed.  A broken leg that stops any travel, etc.  You get the point.  

So if you are the kind of person that needs to know what is stopping you, then do a mind map of everything that is related to the 'stuff you need to get done'.  And when you have that, do a little mind map for each of the elements in that mind map.  See the example below (courtesy of Paul Foreman www.mindmapinspiration.com).  You may notice that there is no mention of fear of flying.  And this may happen with your own mind map.  The actual barrier is not consciously known or acknowledged.  However, you may also notice a feeling as you draw out the mind map.  Maybe it's something in the pit of your stomach, or palpitations, or a taste in your mouth. Something that physiologically felt in your body.  Find that sensation and focus on it.  Don't let your mind wonder to the thoughts or memories associated with the feeling.  Just remain with the physiological sensation and take comfortable normal breaths.  And just observe, keeping your attention only on the physical sensation inside.  Follow it if it changes or moves.  We have talked about this before.  It's your body's way of communicating and you are listening to it. Right now, you don't need to do anything other than listen, which means observe, see where it unfolds inside yourself.  

You may notice it changes or moves down your legs or around your stomach or chest.  Whatever happens to that physiological sensation, just follow it with your attention.  It's like listening to a child telling you a story that may not make much sense to you, but your commitment to follow the words is more important.  

This may take some time or it may happen quite quickly.  There is no right or wrong way.  When you feel like it's done changing, check back into the 'stuff you need to do'.  You might have had a revelation, or you may simply feel like making a start on some of it.  If there doesn't seem an end to the internal goings-on, you can put an intention (like an instruction to that part of you that's telling the story) for it to carry on to resolution even as you turn to something else.  Alternatively, you may feel there is nothing happening inside, in which case, you must find a way of tackling the stuff you need to do some other way. Using the mind map, you can always take on one task at a time.  After all, the way to run a marathon is one step at a time. 

Whichever way you approach it, tackling procrastination head on for what it is is a step forward. It's a mechanism to save you from facing the internal barrier you know at some level is there. And we all know we have learnt to have those barriers for some reason.  The good news is your protective mechanism for survival is intact and you are learning to tame and manage it.

 

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