Why You Procrastinate, and How to Stop It. Now.

We all procrastinate from time to time. Sometimes it’s those mundane things – like sorting through old files, reconciling accounts, or tidying the linen cupboard. But often it’s the bigger things that require more time, more commitment, and put us at more risk of failing, looking foolish or feeling emotionally bruised.  Things like updating our resume to look for a new job, confronting a situation that weighs us down, or pursuing a long-held aspiration.

Of course, people come up with all sorts of creative reasons why now, today, just isn’t the right time. Too busy. Too broke. Too stressed. Too risky. Too uncertain. Too inexperienced. Too old. Too young. Too disruptive. Occasionally those reasons are valid. But more often they are simply excuses for doing the real work and experiencing the emotional discomfort inherent in making meaningful changes in our work and lives.

 At the core of that discomfort is fear.  That potent and instinctive emotion whose reason for being is to protect us from pain (including the emotional variety) and urge us away from anything it perceives might threaten our sense of self, injure our pride, or rattle our world. However, left unchecked, those fears can drive us to cling on to the hope that if we procrastinate long enough, our situation will improve, or our misgivings will magically evaporate and be replaced with newfound clarity and courage. We tell ourselves that ‘one day’ we will be ready to make a change, or take a chance; that ‘one day’ the timing will be better, our confidence stronger, our circumstances easier.

Unfortunately, the reverse is generally true. As the days roll steadily by, our fears grow larger, not smaller, until they eventually lead to a burial ground for unfulfilled dreams and untapped potential.  All the time, our procrastination can exact a steep toll on our finances, career, business, relationships and health. We are loath to admit it, but in electing to put off today what can be done tomorrow, we inadvertently sell out on our happiness – both today and in the many tomorrows that comprise our future. Philosopher William James was not understating the impact of procrastination when he said, “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an unfulfilled goal.”

The 7 strategies below will help you step through worn out excuses and into the bold actions needed to enjoy more of what you want in your life. Read them now. Apply them now. Delay grows increasingly expensive.

7 Strategies to End Procrastination and Start Into Action

  1. Write down your goal and give yourself a deadline. A goal without a deadline can be put off indefinitely.
  2. Break your goal into small pieces. The bigger your goal or the change you want to make, the more quickly it can send you into overwhelm. So if your goal feels daunting, break it into manageable, bite-sized steps. Remember, you don’t have to know every step of the way; just the next few steps immediately ahead.
 Your next steps will become obvious as you move along.
  3. Visualize the future you want. Imagine the emotions you will feel.  Picture yourself in a favourite place celebrating what you’ve accomplished. Imagine those who love you most celebrating your success.
  4. Harness fear.  Fear is a powerful emotion that can keep us mired in excuses. Yet, by focusing on what you don’t want, you can harness it in your favour. So write down how you will feel a year from now if you do nothing. Be brave and really honest with yourself about the cost of continued inaction. After all, if nothing changes, nothing changes!
  5. Build accountability.  Enlist a support team or an accountability partner or, recruit your own Personal Board of Advisors to help keep you focused and on track. Set up a time to check-in regularly and let them know ways in which they can help. For instance, to remind you of past accomplishments, and why you set about making these changes in the first place.
  6. Reward progress. Set up a reward system to ensure you celebrate progress and small successes as you go along.  Whether a fun activity with friends or a treat for yourself, make it something that acknowledges your progress and effort.
  7. Act bravely daily. Starting today.  Building momentum is crucial as you start out. So commit to stepping out of your comfort zone at least once per day.  Beginning today – before your fear-laden excuses, disguised as sheer laziness, kick in again.  It can be something really small. After all, it doesn’t matter how fast you are going, so long as you are stepping forward in a direction that inspires you. So take that first step, then another, then another… after all – life rewards action!

To Achieve a Major Goal, First Tackle a Few Small Ones

One of the difficulties with achieving great things is knowing how to get there. Every book you read was written by someone who completed a book. Every concert you attend involves musicians who can play well enough to be onstage. You can see the final product, but you can’t see all of the steps required to get there.

A lot of discussions about how to achieve significant goals focus on grit, that combination of resilience and persistence that is required to stick with a big goal and see it to completion. But there are two aspects of achieving big goals that don’t get as much attention despite their importance for success.

First, it is hard to envision the specific tasks that actually need to get done to achieve a big goal. No matter how well you plan for a big task, there are certain details that are not obvious until you have completed it. For example, I know many people who are interested in publishing a book. Their initial assumption is that the big challenge here is writing the book. They think of “becoming a book author” as something that simply requires sustained writing effort. However, becoming a published author requires thinking about getting an agent and a publisher, writing a proposal, working with an editor, and developing a plan for promoting the book after it’s published. Even the challenge of writing the book also requires many more steps than people initially assume, including thinking much more carefully about the overall structure of a document that is generally required to write a shorter report or article.

Second, for very large tasks you often do not get feedback on your success until many of the pieces of that project are in place. Even if particular elements of the task appear to be going well, the success of the large-scale project requires integrating all of the specific tasks in a coordinated fashion. Returning to the book example, it can be difficult to know, from the chapters you’ve completed, whether the book as a whole is coherent. It is not until you have a complete draft that you can assess whether the project is working.

To achieve a large-scale goal for the first time, it is best to work your way up through more manageable projects. The idea is to shorten the learning cycle by tackling a smaller project so that you can get early feedback and hone your approach before taking on the complex tasks associated with the bigger project. The individual tasks that are part of any major project take practice. You can’t expect to perfect them for the first time when you are aiming at something significant.

Rather than writing a book, for example, start with short articles. They provide opportunities to write complete thoughts, get feedback, and discover that there is a tremendous amount of promotion that must be done after writing — or nobody will read what you have written. In this way, the short article becomes a microcosm of the larger process.

From there, you can proceed to larger projects, continuing to develop your expertise in the components. At this stage, it is valuable to get the help of experts who can shore up your weaknesses. For example, it may be useful to engage an editor for larger projects to help with your prose. Learning to work with an editor is a process as well, so practising that on shorter pieces can be a benefit when working up to a book.

This isn’t just important for creating big products; it is also crucial for taking on significant new roles. Many people look to become leaders as a way of advancing in organizations. These positions involve a transition from technical work, which people typically have when they start in an organization, to organizing and motivating people.

Rather than starting with a career move, it is best to practice by taking the lead on particular projects. Often, the skills needed to get a group to work together effectively are not obvious at first, so you get a chance to see the value of elements that are often hidden, such as communicating, giving corrective feedback, delegating, and evaluating. You also have the opportunity to practice each of those steps on a project whose outcome is less significant than what people face when leadership is a significant part of their portfolio.

A classic finding in the psychology literature is the Dunning-Kruger effect (named after David Dunning and Justin Kruger, who first described it): Poor performers in a domain are more prone to overestimate their ability than good performers. Why? Poor performers are unaware of the many elements that go into expert performance, and thus they are overly confident in their ability to carry out all of the tasks necessary to succeed.

By starting out with smaller projects that encompass the range of tasks involved in larger projects, you help to deflate some of this overconfidence. You learn what is involved in the expert performance, and you get plenty of chances to refine your abilities.

 

YOUR SELF-IMAGE

Developing Proper Self-Appreciation

How of you habitually think about yourself? What is your self-image?
Many people are unable to answer so simple and vital a question. Do you have a high opinion of yourself? Do you see yourself as a successful, self-confident happy person? DO you, in fact, like to be yourself? Do you enjoy being you?
If you can answer “Yes” to such questions, you have that most valuable of assets a good self-image.
Few people in fact, have a flawless self-image. Many people, indeed, have a poor opinion of themselves. They
feel sensitive and inferior. They cling to too many memories of failure.
Perhaps they are conscious of some physical defect, some lack in background or education. Perhaps they see
themselves as negligible and unimportant. Is it any wonder that the world takes them at their face value?
By and large, our self-image is reflected back to us from our contracts with our fellows. If we actually dislike
ourselves, we shall dislike other human beings. And they, in turn, will dislike us.
Thus, the image we have of
ourselves is so important that it may well
be the key to our well-being, popularity
and success. A poor self-image is shown
in social unease, sensitivity to slights,
feelings of envy and jealousy, avid hunger for praise, and that most
destructive of human feelings – self-pity.
What, in fact, is your self-image? Where could it be improved? Our
self-image grows in the same way as any other concept does – through
experience.
You try yourself out, you hear what others say about you, you see
yourself at first hand or in a mirror, you hear your own voice, you notice
how others react to you, you compare yourself with others, you note your
successes and your failures, you judge yourself by what you read- you
make a continuous self-assessment.
Unfortunately, just as our knowledge of anything in the world may
be limited, inexact, or even erroneous, so also our self-knowledge may be
inexact, limited and full of error.

Self Assessment

The self-image may need correcting and
supplementing. It may even need to be defined more clearly.
Have you any inferiority feelings? In what circumstances do
they attack you? Have you ever suffered from adverse
criticism, scolding and belittling?
The way to correct a faulty self-image is by a
conscious self-assessment. Begin by realizing that you are
different from others, as we all are, and that it is the very
differences that male your contribution to life so valuable.
Get to know that unique “you” which is so valuable.
Go where you can be by your-self in quit, and think through
your desires and aims in life, what you would like to do.
List the things in your make-up and experience that
are for you – your good points, your assets, the things you can
do better than other people, the things you like to do, the
things that excite you and make you feel enthusiastic.
Never mind about your lacks or faults. You want to
reveal your personality and its potentialities. There is nobody
like you!.
No doubt you have been hurt and damaged. You have
memories that are unhelpful which assail you when you least
what them. We all have these things. It is very important to
learn to forget. A good “forgettery” for the bad is equally as
important as a good memory for the good.
Those snags, those failures, the outdates criticisms
from people who no longer mater in your life, those mistakes
that keep popping into your mind must be disposed of.
To try to make positive affirmations without
eliminating the negatives would be like planting choice plants
among pernicious weeds. We must find a method of uprooting
them.
Develop an active forgettery by negating the negative.
Realize that the past has gone. The old thoughts, criticisms
and failures are mere shadows. They exist nowhere but in
your own thoughts.

Take a deep breath by Dr. Mrs. Anila Bhatara, Chairperson AB Education

Anger Management

All of us are host to anger, it is an emotion that is with us, since ages, and man is always finding ways and means to cope with this deadly virus, Honking cars, traffic jams, demanding boss, pending work assignments, deadlines to meet, pester us everyday to an extent, that we lose our patience, and sometimes our mind. In many cultures, anger is socially acceptable, hence it Persists &Angry men deserve more status, and are expected to do well on their jobs, than women, who may run the risk of losing the job. Male aggression is seen as a sign of his competences, his hunger to do more and hence excel in whatever he does. Women on the other hand are seen as frustrated if they get angry. There are old age tools such as yoga that is battling with the modern day stress.

Research states, during aggression, individuals hold their breath aggression is caused due to pent up negative thoughts and emotion, hence the venting process is blocked. Each one of us has our own way of handling anger. Most of the individuals are incompetent in coping with day to day frustration and anger, due to lack of time needed for oneself. Here are quick tips that will help us to reform our lives through anger management.

Introspection: Introspection is the first and very important tool for anger management. Ask yourself what makes you angry. Work over it constructively and arrive at a solution without hurting the sentiments of others. Learn to devote time to yourself.

Suppression: Suppressing anger is the second option that you can opt for redirecting your thoughts to something creative, this will yield positive output. You can watch a movie, read a novel, or go for a walk. Learn to redirect his/her energy towards constructive activities, such individuals grow spiritually, and spiritual growth is the highest form of growth.

Scheduling: Don’t let aggression turn inward, as this turns out to be dangerous. Stay calm by scheduling your time. Attend a yoga class, dance class or some group. Come out of the cocoon of pent up emotions, the sooner you come out the better. Try to be in company of others as aloofness facilitates negative thoughts hence followed by destructive action.

Deep breathing: When you find you self-anger, or about to lose your temper, start breathing deeply, focus on your breath rather than the object of aggression. Begin backward counting; soon your anger will buzz off.

Auto suggestion: Under any given point of time when you are angry helps to calm oneself try giving your self-suggestion, such as “look I am fine, I can handle it well”. Just laugh over it as this will not let anger grow.

Timing: Try to change the time and location of talks that heat up the argument between the parties involved.

Avoidance: If others in the house or school do not acknowledge what you have to say do not blow your lungs, rather avoid conversation at that moment.

Alternatives: learn to look for alternatives if things don’t work out. Alternatives are available if one wants to work through. Such as if you cannot remember something due to over load, write it in your pocket diary.

Use humor: “Silly humor” can help defuse rage in a number of ways. It helps to balance your perspective. Watch your face when you are furious, make fun of it and you will see anger fly.

These are few tools that can help you to be happier in life. Remember anger is as emotion, which can be injurious to health if not handled properly. Let yourself have positive aggression, which is non-hurting to others present in your environment, which is communicative in its approach rather than negative aggression which is negative and destructive in nature. So don’t just ignore.  Next time when you get angry and if you’re holding on to your breath, so let it go and take a long breath.