Welcome to the Death Before Decaf Blog. If you’ve been following since the olden days, this was the blog on the Senner of Attention website, but since the Bold Co Girl migration, it’s now a clean slate!
Today’s post is about conquering procrastination. Whew, this one is tough. Real talk, I struggle with this daily. It’s so easy to slip into a habit of just pushing something to tomorrow again, and again, and again until you’re doing everything at 2am shaking from over-caffeination, and hate yourself in the morning when you only had 4 hours of sleep. Trust me. I’ve been there. You’re like, “You? A planner??? Isn’t time management kind of your THING?”. Yeah, girl. It is. But curling up in a big blanket and watching the Great British Baking Show is WAY more enticing than doing actual work. DUH.
So, how do I resist that urge and actually get crap done on time, you ask? I fight dirty. I have to, or I’ll literally never do anything! What do I mean? I mean I bribe myself. I make it seem more fun to do the thing than not. I treat myself like a literal 5 year old that won’t eat her vegetables. I promise myself that if I do the thing, I get a reward. So, here’s an example. I only load my Starbucks card with $20 a month. It’s literally all I can afford. So, needless to say, I have to pace myself. Whenever I find myself starting to push a thing further and further, I make it a priority To Do List item and set a requirement. I can ONLY have Starbucks once I’ve done the thing. All of a sudden, I’m just itching to get it done because all I can think about is that heavenly Caramel Macchiato waiting on the other side!
You’re like, “Holy guacamole! That’s ALL I have to do?? This one trick has been eluding me my whole life and now all of a sudden I’m going to be a ‘Get Stuff Done’ GODDESS!”. Ok, so unfortunately this doesn’t always work. It doesn’t help me get out of bed and stop hitting ‘snooze’, it doesn’t help me call the doctor and make an appointment, it doesn’t help me go to the DMV. It can’t, because I’m not rich in Starbucks money, so I use other tactics. Gotta change up the game, girl!
So, for the daily nitty gritty dumb “adulting” bore chores I employ what I like to call the “Once It’s Over” tactic. Basically, all I do is envision myself having done the thing in great detail. What does it feel like? What does it look like? What can you do now that it’s done? Picture yourself checking it off the list. Picture yourself feeling way more free. I know this may seem silly, and like a waste of time- but hear me out. I’m a visual learner, so if I feel like I can visualize something, I feel like it’s more likely to happen. Maybe for you, that means saying it out loud if you’re an audio learner. Maybe that means touching whatever it is you want to get back to (a good book, your couch, your phone to symbolize a game app) if you’re a physical learner. What I’m trying to say is, if you make the connection with your brain that this is something worth paying attention to and putting energy into, you’re more likely to complete it to get to that “good thing” you’ve made a connection in your brain with.
Ok, so now we’ve come to what may sound like the most ridiculous trick of them all. I call it a trick because it feels like one, to be completely honest. It’s like when you’re in a bad mood and trying to stay mad, but as hard as you try someone is just being too much of a goofball and you laugh anyway. I use this for things like waking up early for work or exercising. There’s nothing I’d love more than to wake up at the crack of 10am and just lounge with coffee until about 2pm and binge watch Gossip Girl on Netflix, but my life isn’t set up that way. I wake up at 6am every weekday, and it is AWFUL. Until I make it not awful. How do I do this? I count down, and once the count down is over, I’m not allowed to think negative thoughts, and I HAVE to physically GET UP out of bed. When I was a teenager I could give myself 30 seconds, now I fall asleep before I reach 20, so I only give myself a count down from 5. (I know, don’t laugh, I fall asleep REALLY FAST! lol) When I hit 5, I move. It doesn’t have to be the most bouncy jump out of bed, but it’s movement. Once I start thinking about the day, I have to think of it in a positive light. “I’m gonna shower now and it’ll be so nice and warm!”, “I’m making coffee and then I will be UNSTOPPABLE BECAUSE CAFFEINE.”. If I start lapsing into negativity, I have to think of one thing I’m thankful for related to that item. “Ugh, I don’t wanna go to work”, immediately gets rebutted with, “Yeah, but this job allows me to pay the bills while I work on my dream!”. Once I get in the car I blast my favorite music and sing along til I’m ACTUALLY happy to be awake so early.
It’s literally the hardest thing ever. It won’t happen over night, and it’s going to take some adjusting. I know because I’ve had to evolve this trick over time since I was literally in middle school. Most of the time my thoughts weave their way back to negativity and I lose my steam for the morning. I’m not perfect, and I’m not pretending that I’m successful at this one every morning, but I make an effort. This one is more along the lines of positive thinking and mindfulness- not necessarily just procrastination- so it’s a little more involved, but it’s worth it. I promise.
Well, girl. I hope I was able to help! Let’s kick procrastination in the butt, and get STUFF DONE. You’re super awesome, and you have AMAZING ideas that the world needs to see. You got this!