(loving this art by Jennifer Flannigan on Etsy)
What are you waiting for?
Abstract question, isn’t it. I tend to answer this question in blurry detail like a watercolor painting, somewhat diffuse and, yet, colorfully. Usually I say… I am putting together, “x,y,z” project and planning “x,y,z” events and all sorts of other things and, I am just in the stage of “preparing.”
What I really mean to say, not very elegantly, is that I am putting off whatever I don’t know enough about because I am freaking out about it and overwhelmed by it and would rather go for a run or sleep or do anything else.
But that is not OK. And good friends know to remind me that I can’t put things off and pretend that I am “preparing.”
Are you “preparing” to do things, when what you are really doing is just stalling?
This one’s for you! (& me!)
(I am going to start collecting Jennifer Flannigan- get this one on Etsy!)
Of course, there is nothing more daunting when launching a new professional endeavor, making big life decisions, starting a new health routine or anything new, than the period of time where you just don’t know exactly what you are doing or where to begin.
My humble suggestion?
Start with what you know.
Some version of these steps has helped me immensely time and again to stop “artfully waiting” to begin things (my glorified version of procrastinating) and start getting things done… now!
1. Write down everything you can do right now to accomplish what needs to be done based on what you already know. I bet the list is longer than you think. Write another little list (or a big one) of all the things you don’t know.
Now: for this list of what you don’t know, write down where you can find what you need to know, who you can ask for guidance and what you can practice as you go.
Essentially, you’re taking a big mysterious situation and making it easier to navigate!
2. Set a deadline that is realistic. If you don’t create a time that is set in stone, you may let it drag on forever!
THIS piece in Forbes explains the history of the word deadline (quite serious!) and why you should take deadlines seriously. The only real way that deadlines work is when there are consequences if you don’t meet the deadline. I always tell my clients: ” If I were going to give you a million dollars to clean out your garage by Friday, how much do you want to bet you’ll have it done by Thursday?!” you wouldn’t miss out of a big load of money, right? While the consequences don’t need to be that fantastical, you need deadlines that feel real.
Also, beyond setting a deadline… remember what it is that you get when you finish what you have to do. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is very compelling!
3. Breathe. Breathe a whole lot. Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D. writes in Psychology Today about the importance of breathing through the desire to just escape from things you don’t want to do, and put things off for longer:
“When you feel that “freaking out” feeling around a task because it’s too difficult, overwhelming, frustrating, boring and just generally aversive, then it’s time to breathe. Yes, just breathe.
Breathe in deeply and mentally count “one.” Breathe out slowly and mentally count “two.” Breathe in deeply and mentally count “three.” Breathe out slowly and . . . you see the pattern. Continue to ten. You’re still in your seat. Most likely the panic, fear, overwhelming feelings are lessened so your rational mind has a chance to take over again.
Now, just get started on some part of the task at hand. Be prepared to breathe and count again. You never really know when those ugly feelings will surface, but you’re prepared.” (you can read the whole article HERE)
4. Be consistent. I tell this to all my clients clearing clutter from a disorganized home. Consistent, daily clutter-cleaning is much more powerful than one day of being overwhelmed by clutter in a week. You are less likely to become overwhelmed if you do consistent clutter clearing daily until you get to the end.
If you are putting off a big project, event or anything else, consistently working on it (even 30 mins a day to start!) will help you build momentum and keep you from becoming overwhelmed.
5.Ask for help. I’ve learned to ask for/hire lots of help and seek out advice. No one is alone in this globally-linked world… so please don’t feel like you are! I still get really tripped up on this one, and when I am stuck, calling friends usually brings me to the next good steps of help that I need.
When you’re moving forward, procrastination sort of melts away like fog when the sun starts shining. Loving what you’re doing all day can be that sunshine!
What’s your secret for getting beyond the cloudy swirls of procrastination?
Please share if you have a good one!
P.S.: If you want to really immerse yourself in the light of joy so much more, my favorite Feng Shui and cutting-edge energy-shifting tools that I use almost every day are HERE for you in the Joy Immersion: 30 Day Negativity Detox!
And, if you want to dive in to your own personalized feng shui in a modern, practical way, Say hello to Feng Shui 101. Its the guide I made for you to create your own personalized feng shui at home, in the office, wherever you may be… in 8 weeks. It’s not filled with strict rules or what you “must” do. Its filled with information, questions, exercises and even videos and classes to help you confidently create amazing spaces with killer feng shui and live with more flow. Learn more about the 8-week feng shui adventure & grab your copy to get started right HERE… And, as always, please let me know what happens!
Thank you so much for featuring my artwork on your lovely blog! Love this article and needed to hear this today 🙂
i love it soooo much!!!!!