4 reasons you might procrastinate…and how you can get that motivation to get going.
Pesach is definitely coming, and Pesach waits for no woman! It’s a fact on the calendar and it’s approaching faster than it’s possible to believe time can move. How can that be? It seems like just yesterday it was Tu B’Shvat. What happened? And what do I do now? (Besides procrastinate).
Why Do We Procrastinate? According to Jolie Brody, founder of Living Lighter Coaching Services, there are four main reasons we procrastinate. Luckily, there are many ways to overcome this obstacle.
- Get perspective! Talking through a project or overwhelming chore with a friend will put things in perspective.
- Break it down! Break down the task into bite-size pieces.
- Ask for help! Ask a friend or a coach to help you create a step-by-step plan and make a realistic time frame.
We can’t start because we can’t decide what and where to start. Use your sense of values as a yardstick to help make decisions. Should I clean out the refrigerator or go to the bris of my friend’s new baby? Should I de-clutter this drawer or just close it off until after Pesach and have more time with the kids this afternoon?
Turn a “black and white” decision into a “gray” one. Perhaps we could go to the bris ceremony and leave before the seudah. Then we can clean the refrigerator when we come home. Perhaps we could take ten to twenty minutes to clean the cluttered drawer. You’ll feel good about whatever you accomplished, and you can come back to it when there’s another window of opportunity.
Fear of failure holds us back from much more than Pesach cleaning. We don’t want to begin because we don’t think we’ll be able to do it right. This is the partner to perfectionism. “If I can’t do it right then I don’t want to do it at all.” This is a very subtle, unconscious voice of the yetzer hara, trying to hold us back from getting things accomplished. We can learn from making mistakes. Jump in and start!
Have you ever said, “I work best under pressure”? What you may really be saying is, “I need a burst of adrenaline to get moving.” It’s true that this works, but it’s not a long-term healthy solution. Try boosting your energy level by doing some quick exercises or putting on upbeat music. Studies have shown that children with ADD perform better on tests after they run up and down stairs; this activity gives them the energy boost they need to concentrate.
Part of getting started is realizing who we are as individuals. We each have our own style and way of doing things. We each have things that are more important to us and less important to someone else. The goal is not to become someone else. We don’t have to clean for Pesach the way our sister, mother, great-aunt or next door neighbor does. Yes, it’s very useful to gather information, to read books, and plan your strategy. But you want to use your own unique style and talents to create a system and plan that works for you.
Some people fall back on the excuse that they aren’t organized by nature. No one is completely “organizationally-challenged.” Some women grew up in homes that were neat and orderly because their mothers had a maid. They never realized that they hadn’t learned home-management skills until they got married and didn’t know what to do first. Then there are women who grew up in messy, chaotic homes, who needed to create order in their lives to maintain their sanity. Despite their background, they became very neat. Anything’s possible, and none of us are limited by our backgrounds. It might mean we have more obstacles to overcome, and we may need to make more effort to learn how to do this. Though we may have heard that some people are born more “naturally organized,” many of us are not. Getting organized is a skill that can be learned.
Getting started when we feel like procrastinating, when we feel time-challenged, overwhelmed or simply “not in the mood” may mean reorganizing our minds: If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right! We can tell ourselves: I can do this and I can do it well.
In Focus: A Matter of Perspective
We can also be inspired whenever we think of how far some people know have come with a bright smile on their face. We can remind ourselves by saying, “Thank You, Hashem, that I have two eyes to see, two ears to hear, two legs to walk. Thank You for the intoxicating fragrance of spring that I can smell. Thank You for the children You have entrusted to my care. Thank You that I have a home that I can clean for Pesach!”
It’s all a matter of perspective. We thank Hashem every morning for “opening the eyes of the blind.” May our eyes be truly opened, to see the depth and breadth of goodness and beauty that radiates from within each and every one of us, and the abundance of blessings that Hashem is showering upon us every second.
TIP: Keep a positive, realistic perspective of who you are and what matters most to you.