All of us procrastinate. Some of us more than others.
We tend to do better when there is a deadline. So for work, we usually deliver, for important stuff with deadlines where our reputation may be on the line, we deliver.
However, for things that are specifically for our own personal lives -- lose weight, work on personal accounts, file taxes, personal and spiritual growth, clean the home etc, all of these do not have deadlines per se. And so we sweep them under the carpet, and not think about them. Until the carpet becomes a mountain.
The worst is when we prioritise things on our TO-DO list. We have urgent, must do, and the whenever list. Things on the whenever list will never get done, and things on the must do will only get done when it becomes urgent. And then most of the time, we will hit the panic button and things don’t ever get done in the way we want them to. And we become a disappointment to ourselves and vow never to repeat them again, only to repeat them again.
So when will we ever learn? The thing is part of the reason why we procrastinate is our innate fear of failure, as well as a fear of success. Success would mean rocking the boat and changing the status quo. Failure would mean being a disappointment to self and others. We have placed such a big social price tag to things, that we have most definitely set ourselves up. What can we do? This takes a much more in-depth skill of working on our own mindset and learning to see ourselves as we truly are, instead of what we think the world wants to see. And this is a topic that I will expand on, another day.
Back to the topic of procrastination -- What if we know when our lives on earth will end? Do you think that it will make you go out and get things done, to fulfil your bucket list and more?
We all take time for granted, even more so when we are younger because we think that we still have time. But we all know that our lives could very well end, suddenly without warning. Yet we still do not wake up from the procrastination slumber.
I am aware that we cannot entirely get rid of the procrastination monster. It is what it is. Since we know we function much better and are more efficient with deadlines, why don't we just set deadlines for ourselves. Better yet, set those deadlines and tell someone about your deadline and have them make you accountable. Get someone really tough to be on your case -- a life coach or a firm and loving friend.
The thing is, in our inner most thoughts, for the most private matters where you will not share with anyone, but you know that these matters must get done. It is far easier to hope that they go away than to actually do them. For this, I urge you to set a deadline and work with someone to get them done, because they must be so important and so scary that you have to keep them private. So do them, work with someone you trust who will not judge you to get this important thing done.
For many of my clients, who have been procrastinating on private and important matters in their lives, I’ve seen how they free themselves from the shackles of shame, guilt and more, and they also wonder — why didn’t we get this matter done/settled sooner? There’s a sense of liberation when that happens.
One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to imagine that this is the last day of our life, what do we need to get done today?
© 2019 Shamala Tan
Shamala Tan is an author, spiritual entrepreneur and healer. Her work focuses on transforming the lives of others on the spiritual, emotional, mental and earthly level.
One of her success stories as an author is to being featured alongside New York’s bestsellers Sonia Choquette, Robert Allen, Arielle Ford, Marci Shimoff as well as Christine Kloser in the book Pebbles In The Pond.
Shamala’s clients include small business owners, holistic practitioners as well as those seeking to find more significant meaning and value in life. Shamala offers laser coaching to her clients on a one-to-one basis or in a group environment, offline as well as online.