There are some sayings about procrastinators and the art of procrastination that make me laugh. But working with someone who is a procrastinator doesn’t make me laugh. Or even grin. And procrastinating myself about something can certainly raise my level of anxiety.
The March Toastmaster magazine had an article giving advice for us when we do procrastinate. This advice makes a lot of sense.
Mel Robbins, a motivational speaker, has a Five Second Rule. That rule is that if you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within five seconds or your brain will kill the idea.
Neuroscientists have found that people have about a five second gap between a stimulus and the way they typically respond to it. She believes it is within that gap that we have the power to change our lives.
“When you decide to do something, count back 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1, and immediately take action. The more you do that, the more your brain gets wired for action and the less you’ll fall victim to your mental resistance.”
Instead of hitting the snooze button in the morning, Robbins counted down five seconds and propelled herself from bed. She did it again and again over the coming days and discovered she had a brief window of time before her mind killed her positive thoughts.
She believes if you don’t start doing the things that feel difficult or uncomfortable – if you simply wait around for motivation to strike – you’ll wake up a year from now in the same place.
Robbins had several other suggestions with the Five Second Rule. If there is something that must be done, now: concentrate. Eliminate distractions like social media, email, text, or phone calls (forward calls to voicemail or turn off phone apps and notifications) and focus on the task at hand.
If there is no obvious urgency with a task and it can be moved back, do so. You can purposely procrastinate responding to emails and set a time later in the day and answer them in a batch. Or on a bigger scale, put a freeze on hiring new employees after an unexpected change in corporate leadership.
“Robbins and other experts say setting limits on technology use can increase energy, sharpen our focus, and boost our daily work output.” Robbins herself says one of the most powerful changes she’s made in her life is to leave her phone in the closet at night to recharge. “No more keeping the phone by the bed so I can scroll through social media or answer work emails before bed or first thing in the morning,” she said. “I sleep so much better now and feel energized in the morning.”
The time of the day your mental ability peaks and you’re most productive is your “Einstein Window.” Save your most important tasks for these windows.
Taking a moment and backing away from work can improve your focus. A walk outside the office, ten minutes of checking in with another person can help recharge for challenges ahead.
And use accountability measures.
These are some suggestions from that article that might help us to accomplish some big and small goals.
And never forget the great quote by Ellen DeGeneres, “Procrastinate now, don’t put it off.”
Pioneer Day week has begun, and I love this time of year! The town looks wonderful this year with all the community clean – up that has happened, the streets are freshly painted, and the grass is green. I believe pioneers are the perfect people to celebrate here. Some are descendants of folks who left their home and settled here, and we have people who just recently did so. All pioneers in their own right. Strong people. Brave people. Adventurous people.
Don’t miss whichever part of Pioneer Days is your favorite. I love the Saturday morning free breakfast. It takes place at the commercial building on the fairgrounds early in the morning. There are so many good things happening, the parade, the carnival, the Old Timer’s Registration (and you don’t have to be old to be an Old Timer … just 50 years in the Panhandle area or so) and they have free doughnuts, the mercantile, rodeo, Rotary BBQ, the boats and train at Thompson Park, and so much more.
See you on the bricks!