The Roadblock that is the Procrastination Crutch
So I spent a good amount of time writing out my week in my planner. Everything that I wanted to get done for the week including working out, working on my blog, cleaning, budgeting, all of the important things I could think of. Scheduled my week so that I would be super productive and proud of myself. Schedule, meet my procrastination crutch.
This was two weeks ago. Epic fail, I never even looked in my planner after I finished planning out my week. I didn’t even bother looking at all of the things I never got done for two weeks after the fact. You want to know what catastrophe occurred – heavy sarcasm here – to basically stop all forward progress in all aspects of my life for three whole weeks?
Brace yourself because this is actually embarrassingly lame. I found a new book series in my online library to read. I literally wasted three weeks ignoring life and getting nothing done because they were such good books! Even more embarrassing if I am totally honest, it was a paranormal fiction series (vampires.) So nothing of substantial value that actually added anything to my knowledge base.
Blatantly obvious procrastination crutch
So, coming down from my paranormal fiction binge read-a-thon, it occurred to me that this could be my Achilles heel, my fatal flaw, my Kryptonite. So it appears that in most of our lives I bet if we take a good look everyone can pinpoint one or two things that are pivotal in helping them procrastinate and avoid real life.
Painful but necessary
What happens when you have shoulder surgery or break an ankle and you are trying to get back into fighting shape after? You have to undergo painful and intensive physical therapy. So the point here is that we need to go through some possibly painful changes in our daily life. Removing that crutch to make us stronger and a more productive person overall. It might not be fun, but sometimes you just have to do it. Here are some possible strategies to help you remove your favorite procrastination crutch.
Acknowledge and pinpoint what your procrastination crutch is
This is pretty simple, in order to improve your productivity levels, you need to figure out what is holding you back from accomplishing your goals. By slowing you down, your procrastination crutch is actually stopping you from accomplishing your goals. You are basically setting yourself up for failure and fighting forward progress.
Some of you may be able to blurt out what your biggest crutch is without much thought. Sometimes it helps to do some self-discovery and figure out what your biggest crutch is, but also what other small speed bumps you are causing yourself. Here is a super simple way to try and figure out your own problems so you can move forward and make the needed changes.
Write down Priorities
Simple enough. Write down what is most important to you, your goals, plans and things that you want to see happen, then organize the list from most important to least important.
Write down your actual day
Set the priority list to the side, now I want you to write down what your day really looks like. Pick two or three days that are fairly typical during your past week and write down what you did, the order you did them in, and how much time you spent on them. Now I want you to organize this list by most time spent to least amount of time spent.
Did you spend the most amount of time in your day pushing towards the same item on the top of your priority list? In my case, this was a resounding NOPE! Most of my day was covered by reading, and my top priority of building my blog was barely visible on my second list. You may also find that you have more than one procrastinating crutch holding you back that you didn’t even realize.
How can you modify or remove your procrastination crutch
Keep your favorite hobby, but maybe scale it down a bit. For me, with reading this is a challenge. Once I start a book I get totally sucked in so that I feel like a can’t put it down. I will finally get moving and start being productive and then I need to nurse my baby girl. You know what I do while I nurse her? I read. This would be fine and dandy if I could put the book down and get moving again after nursing. Instead, I am sucked in again and have to continuously go through this process. This includes at 2 in the morning when she needs to nurse again.
I will read to stay awake and then all the sudden I can’t stop in the middle of an exciting part and I end up staying up until 3 am reading. Then when my four year old wakes up at 5 a.m. I am exhausted. I knew I was going to be tired but I did it anyway. Straight up sabotaging myself. Just scale it back. Maybe I am only allowed to read before bed. Or I can only read one book a month so that once I am done with it I can’t just move on to the next and waste my whole week. Set limits for yourself.
Remove it entirely
If you struggle and can’t cut back on whatever your crutch is, you may have to just quit cold turkey for a while. Get a routine going and gain some momentum on the important things. I have had this problem before with reading and have actually deleted the Kindle app from my phone to try and stop myself.
Extreme measures in extreme cases are sometimes called for. Especially if you don’t yet have the will power to limit yourself and actually stick to it. Maybe down the road, you can reintroduce it in small amounts, but until you feel confident that you can control the situation you may need a clean break.
Pick one of your priorities that you can do in place of your time waster. If you are focusing on one of your priorities then you will find it easier to ignore your crutch. Sometimes you can even find it easier to give up when you are constantly reminding yourself why you are giving it up. It also helps if the task you are substituting with is something you enjoy. It will seem like less of a sacrifice if you are enjoying what you are doing in its place.
A basic concept here. Tell someone about the thing you are trying to cut out of your daily routine and let them know how you are planning to do it. Then ask them to mention it every time you talk on the phone, or maybe text you once a day just to ask how things are going. I know for me that if someone asks “oh how is your blog going?” I instantly start to feel a little guilty because I could make excuses. The reality is that I have been procrastinating and not putting my goals first. Nothing like a tiny bit of guilt to help motivate you.
Put your money where your goals are
This one is tricky and depends a bit on what your goals are. I trained in 2016 for my first half marathon. I have never been great at sticking with eating healthy and working out. After dropping $90 for my registration for the race I wanted to do I suddenly found myself sticking to my training plan. It helps you commit mentally when you are financially committed.
Same case with this blog I am working on starting up. I spent a good deal of money on a course to help learn how to do everything and figure out the technical aspects of blogging. Now every time I feel discouraged or not motivated I just remember how much of a financial investment we made. Also, my husband would kill me after we put so much money into it if I just gave up.
Find your Procrastination Crutch and take it away
So here is the bottom line. Figure out what is holding you back, wasting your time and stopping you from meeting your goals. Make any necessary changes until you are happy with the amount of time you are able to spend on your priorities. This may be a bit of trial and error, but it is an exercise in self-awareness and self-discipline.
It’s not fun and it might hurt a bit but it will change your outlook on life if you can feel in control of your time and your life. Anytime you are trying to motivate yourself into doing something but you want to do something more “fun,” just ask yourself “will this take me closer to my goals?” Push yourself, and control yourself.