Overwhelm is that place where you freeze or avoid—You may feel it in the pit of your stomach or you might find yourself not being able to think clearly about what to do…or you might just find that you are doing something altogether different without meaning to (like surfing the web ;) ).
We’re all unique, so you need to learn what overwhelm, avoidance, or freezing feels like for you. We all have an emotional piece to managing our time and it’s a bit different for each of us. You need to discover what it is for you, what it feels like, and when it happens. Recognizing what is overwhelming you is important because this is where the procrastination begins---sometimes we don’t notice it in the moment---but it is in that moment of avoiding or feeling overwhelm that we start the procrastination.
You have to catch yourself in the moment…of overwhelm…or negative feeling…and figure out where it starts.
Here’s a tip you can take right into your life today: Look over your to-do list from the last week and see what you keep NOT doing—that is a big hint about what you are procrastinating on or avoiding.
The Inner Fear Discussion is all of that negative talk going on in your head. You know, the things that you say to yourself that you would likely never say to others like:
This inner negative talk creates subtle shifts in your mood or energy, adding to the feelings of being overwhelmed. It creates a downward spiral of emotions and keeps you stuck! The way to calm this inner fear discussion is to create a positive internal discussion that supports productivity—this is called “positive self-talk”. You want to create an inner discussion that is consistent with productivity. Positive self-talk often starts with the words “I can…”
For example you might take the inner fear statement “There is no way I am going to get this done” and turn it into “I can take one step at a time” or “I can get one piece of this done right now”. The key here is to address the fear discussion in YOUR mind and create a positive statement that turns it around and supports productivity.
You need need to engineer your routine and your environment to support your own productivity and to help you avoid procrastination. There are two parts to this “routine” and “environment”.
Let's start with your routine:
Set up a flexible routine that aligns your time with your intentions. Routines become automatic once they are practiced. To improve your productivity, you want to create automatic routines so the important stuff just gets handled.
Now let’s unleash the power of your environment to support your productivity by setting up your physical surroundings to support the activity you want to accomplish. Our physical environment predicts most of our behavior…something like up to 80%.
If you think this number sounds high, imagine this scenario. You walk into your kitchen after a long exhausting day and you are starving. The only thing in sight is a plate of your favorite cookies on the counter…Odds are you are going to eat those cookies…
Here's another tip to try today: Set up your environment to support productivity by taking the one thing you need to work on to a room with a closed door and no distractions. Turn off any electronics that are not necessary and work for 30-60 minutes.
We all need support and partnership to succeed. If you are having a hard time getting started or completing something, figure out the kind of support you need and watch your productivity skyrocket. Not every activity needs the same kind of support…here are a few kinds of support or accountability to think about:
The key to finishing projects is to make sure that you keep chipping away at them and moving them forward.
For some of us, being persistent in this way is challenging. The key is to keep coming back and moving that project forward, a process I call “restarting” or “tending” a project.
Projects get completed because we keep coming back and moving them forward. Use your support system to help you keep “restarting” your project until it is finished and you’ll be able to say good-bye to those projects that have been renting space on your To-Do list.
The bottom line is that there is often an emotional component to making the most of our time. Use these 5 must-have tips to break through procrastination and overwhelm, make the most of your time – and create the life you want!
Dr.Sarah Reiff-Hekking is a speaker and coach with 20 years of experience helping people create the lives they crave. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs who have a hard time managing their time and their tasks to figure out a way that works for them.
She believes that solutions are found by paying attention to the present moment, and that just like Michelangelo had to chip away at the stone to find the statue, we have to get rid of all the extra stuff that isn’t the core of your life. More at www.TrueFocusCoaching.com