The devastating consequence of procrastination is that it repeatedly puts off living. Procrastination, while providing a sense of tension relief ultimately prevents us from creating the body we want, the relationship we want, the career we desire, or the organization we once dreamed of.
In the pursuit of increased performance, identifying how you go about doing anything is critical. The process of identifying the “how” is where I have always spent a great deal of time. I love structure and I believe that in the name of getting better, structure is mandatory in evaluating the process in which things are done.
Recognizing the patterns that govern our life is usually a very eye opening experience the first time we actively participate in it. The ability of the mind to put us on “auto-pilot” to preserve energy and remain aware of our surroundings is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing that we don’t have to consciously labor over all of the details that revolve around getting out of bed in the morning, stumbling to the bathroom, showering, and brushing our teeth. Ask yourself, do you know the exact number of strokes you used this morning when you brushed your teeth? It’s likely that you don’t, unless you have some form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) at which you know how frustrating it can be to constantly be obsessively aware of the many things that you do on a daily basis.
As advantageous as our auto-pilot systems can be, they can also put us down unconscious paths toward unproductivity and dysfunction. When we stop questioning the programs that are unconsciously played out in the background of our skull, away from the loud noises and bright lights we begin to subtly dig trenches that the wheels of life conform to. Only when we begin to stop and ask “what just happened , how did that just happen, and why did that just happen” can we change the destination of the vehicle of life.
It is my hope that after reading this and using the attached log you will raise the level of awareness around your auto-pilot system(s) and move away from procrastination and into productivity or cultivate what Dr. Neil Fiore calls “The Now Habit”. The attached 3 day log is to help you not only identify the things that you routinely procrastinate around but also the patterns and inner-dialog that pave the way for procrastination. If you remember from the piece on Why We Procrastinate, you know that simply telling yourself to “just do it” or “I just need to get organized” is faulty because it does not account for the 3 underpinning pieces that dictate our procrastination.
As we raise our level of awareness, we bring light to, and can then link avoided activity to a specific thought, justification, and attempted solutions. With a record of our thoughts and subsequent behaviors we can then take corrective action toward influencing undesired behaviors. Without a record of, it is nearly impossible to learn from our past mistakes. It is for this reason I believe so strongly in the process of journaling.
This is not a “Dear Diary” type of journaling. This type of journaling hinges more on the matters of “I flipped a lady off in traffic and threw my coffee cup at her minivan. What was going on today with me that made me so short fused?” To date, journaling remains one of the best adopted practices I’ve made in my life. I view the attached log in a similar way of its importance and potential impact.
It is my sincere hope that you will leverage this log in your life and orient yourself away from procrastination and toward productivity.
There are 3 tabs already set up in advance and also a tab with an example.
I hope at the end of your 3 days that you will circle back and share any discoveries that you have made.
Stay tuned for Part 3 because we will jump into the importance of- How Your Attitudes and Beliefs Influence What You Do or Don’t Do.