Procrastination – An Open Letter to Myself

Procrastination_1Dear Procrastinating-Me

I feel it’s time I tackled the issue of procrastination, and specifically, the frame of mind you seem to be in at the moment. Because, for someone who writes about goal setting and success, you’ve been allowing yourself too much procrastination time lately!

It’s so easily done, isn’t it? You’ve been in work all day, the commute has been endless and there are still chores to do when you get home, so I guess you’re tired and at least a little bit fed-up with the merry-go-round of get up, go to work, do chores, go to bed…. Who wouldn’t be?

I’ve noticed that your energy levels are low too. Are you looking after yourself properly? Of course, I know the answer to this and it’s not pretty. It’s hard to keep burning the candle at both ends and still expect excellent results.

All credit to you though. You made a commitment to maintain your morning routine, and that’s exactly what you’ve done. You’re out of bed as soon as that alarm dings at 5am, 6 days a week (I know, Saturday is your lie-in day!). I know you feel the benefit of a regular meditation and some quiet time before the day really gets going, so I won’t be badgering you to change this routine. But, why do you insist on staying up so late?

I’ve seen you there, laptop in front of you and you’re falling asleep! How can that possibly be productive? Are you afraid you’re going to miss something exciting?! I’ve seen you still staring at that screen after 9pm, 10pm, 11pm and later! You know you’re not one of those people who can survive on five or six hours sleep…you need your shut-eye girl!

But hey, let’s run with it for a moment and see if those long hours you’re ‘working’ really are helping you to get ahead.

Do you feel good the next day? Are you alert and productive…was it really worth the effort of staying up so late or has the tiredness negated your efforts the next day? I think I know the answer.

So maybe a lack of sleep is making you a bit less productive and maybe even causing you to procrastinate because you just can’t muster up the energy to get going?

Now, what else? The thing I keep noticing is that you make really good progress for a while and then, boom! You just stop! Do you have any idea why this might be the case?

I was wondering about the idea of self-sabotage and whether there are issues with some self-limiting beliefs? It’s feasible, given that this behaviour seems to be a repeating pattern. Maybe it’s time to upgrade your daily affirmations? The affirmations you’re currently using have supported you well over the last eighteen months or so, but things have moved on and perhaps it’s time to review your current list to see what is no longer in alignment with your desired outcomes? Just a thought!

But, before we lose the plot on this, let me commend you for the progress you’ve made up until this point!

Up until a couple of years ago you had no idea how to set up a blog and then fill it with wonderful blogs! Facebook and Twitter were also complete mysteries to you, but, you took the initiative, did the research and the work and you’re now a daily user! Did you know that you have now written over 100,000 words on your blog?! Furthermore, you’ve written and published an eBook!

So, whilst there might be some procrastination going on at the moment, this clearly isn’t your default setting. So what’s got you floundering in the doldrums?

Again, a few things that come to mind.

I think you’ve set yourself some large goals this year…good for you! After all, to quote David Joseph Schwartz :

Think little goals and expect little achievements.  Think big goals and win big successes.

So you might as well go for it! But it’s two-and-a-bit-months in now, and somehow, the enormity of the tasks ahead have become very real! Maybe it’s not a surprise that you’re procrastinating, that’s a scary goals list you’ve put together. But, hey, it’s also an exceptionally exciting goals list you’ve put together! Imagine how it would feel to reach the end of the year and to have achieved even half of them? What about 70% or even 80%? That would be some achievement!

So don’t be down on yourself because things have slowed up a little, that’s probably just a little bit of personal internal re-setting going on before you have another energy and enthusiasm burst to carry you through to the next stage!

So what can you learn from this?

  1. Well, firstly, get enough sleep! How on earth can you expect to be energised if you deprive yourself of the ‘recommended eight hours’?
  1. Perhaps it’s time to review and revise your affirmations to align them with your current goals.
  1. Accept that it’s ok to feel overwhelmed by the size/number of the tasks ahead, that’s natural. Also, accept that you don’t need to do everything all at once! You’ve given yourself a whole year…twelve full months to achieve these outcomes, so chill a little and take it one step at a time and don’t forget to break it down into chunks.
  1. Appreciate how far you’ve already come – it’s not even the end of the first quarter yet and you’ve already lost nearly a stone in weight, you’ve produced and posted 13 blogs, you’ve made some technical changes to the back end of the blog, you’ve made some extra money, you’ve visited two cities and have another two lined up and you’ve read a few books…phew!
  1. And finally, chill and enjoy the journey. It’s not a race, it’s most definitely a marathon and furthermore, it’s your marathon! You’re not competing against anyone else, this is all yours!

So go get ‘em girl!

To your success!

Nicola

This was a cathartic exercise to undertake, so well worth the effort, but we can all get hit with the procrastination stick sometimes, so I hope there may be something in there to help you too when it’s needed!  If anyone has any helpful hints, please leave a comment and share!

Photo: AllieKF

Goals Progress Report for February 2015

February_Goals_1As promised, here is my Goals Progress Update Report for February.

So February has come and gone and we’re, finally, starting to see the fresh shoots of Spring!  I can’t wait for the longer days and warmer weather.

So what was I up to in February?  Well here’s the update :)

Personal Growth

Read 18 Good Books (31/12/15)

Progress 1 (Total so far = 2 of 18)

February_Goals_2
Total bliss!

I read my first fiction book in a very long time this month.  600 Hours of Edward
was an entertaining read and it was good to read something lighter than my usual choice.  I’ve also finished one other book, but will not record it until I’ve put my review up on the blog.  I’ll be doing that very soon.

 

Attend a Personal Development Seminar (31/12/15)

Not progressed yet.

Complete my Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) Course (31/8/15)

I’ve been doing a fair bit of research in this area in support of my course notes, which, unfortunately I’m finding a little sparse.  I’m now at a point where I’m ready to tackle the Module 2 assignments.

Finances

Generate an extra £10,000 of income (31/12/15)

February Goal £100, Achieved £160.26….! (Totals so far  £210.00, Goal £150.00)

Well I’ve smashed my income target for February!  Yay!!

Clearly it was a good month, although to be honest it was a little bit too easy.  The largest single income item was a tax refund of £89 and I also sold a few items of clutter which earned £40.  Needless to say that had me on the path to success really quickly, but I kept going with my other ‘little earners’ and managed to push to total up to £160.

From last month: Here are the personal ‘guidelines I’m using for this goal.

For the challenge, my goal is to generate extra income over and above our usual day-to-day salaries and budget. I’m going to be counting income from all sources (you can see a breakdown below), including ‘in-kind’ income like vouchers. Where I have used a voucher, an equivalent amount of cash will be drawn from my budget and transferred to my Goal Savings Fund. This is important because it ensures that any extra money doesn’t just inflate our day-to-day income.

So here’s how my February total was achieved:

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5 Ways You Are Cheating Your Future Self

Future_Self_1There’s a price to pay for everything. Every choice and action we make, along with every action we choose not to take we are giving up something else in that moment. This is the price we must all pay.

Sometimes when we pay the price, it is an immediate trade off, for example, when we literally hand over money for the new jacket we’ve just bought. This type of decision is the easy, obvious and tangible where the effect is in the now.

But what of those decisions we make where the trade-off isn’t tangible…at least, not now. Instead we will see the effects of our choices (actions and lack of action) in the distant future.

There is often a tendency to opt for a so-called ‘easy life’ by always putting off the inevitable work. The problem is that we fail to see that even in the mundane there is work to be done to stave off the long-term effects of short term gratification. Whether we like it or not, if we don’t do what what’s necessary in the moment, we will pay the price in the future.

As they say, ‘youth is wasted on the young’ and nowhere is this more apparent than in the short-term decisions made with no view to the future. But unfortunately, it’s not just the ‘young’, as this tendency for short term decision making can continue well beyond our youth.

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It’s February…and the winner is…!

February Prize Draw

…the winner is…

Anita Bryden!

Congratulations Anita, you are my February winner!



Your prize – The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg is waiting for you to claim, so don’t waste any time, email me from the email address you used to sign up and let me know your postal address and your prize will be winging its way to you!

You have 14 days to claim your prize, so don’t delay!

It’s easy, just hit the ‘reply’ button from any email I’ve sent you, let me know your postal address and that’s it!

Alternatively you can email me direct at Nicola@achieveyourbestlife.com with your details.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

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Don’t forget, my FREE monthly prize draw will run until 31 December 2015, so there are still 10 prizes up for grabs! For your chance to win, just sign up using the form below (it’s free!)!

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600 Hours of Edward

600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster – Book Review


It’s been quite some time since I’ve read any fiction, and so as part of my reading goals, I’m planning to put this right. 600 Hours of Edwardwas my first toe-dip back into the fiction world.

Synopsis

The story is a about the daily life of a man who has Asperger’s syndrome and how over a period of 600 hours his life changes.

I find myself quite fascinated by personality types and how people negotiate the things that happen in their lives. Reading about someone with Asperger’s, from their own perspective, gave me an interesting insight into how difficult and confusing it can be to ‘comply’ with societal and cultural expectations. This probably indicates that the book is quite ‘heavy’, but it isn’t. The story flows well and I enjoyed getting to know Edward.

To be honest, I have no real experience of what it’s like to have Asperger’s having never knowingly met someone with this condition and so I have to say that I can’t comment on whether the personification of Edward is realistic or not. However, as a story it works very well.

The other major characters in the book are also well-developed, from Edward’s over-controlling father, to his new friend Donna who is facing her own challenges.

How Edward deals with these and other characters and circumstances forms the basis of a sometimes funny, sometimes challenging story.

There was just one thing that I wasn’t sure about and that was how Edward changed as the story progressed. I wondered whether this was a realistic personal development for someone with Asperger’s or whether there was a certain amount of poetic licence. But, as I said earlier, I have no real reference point, so it’s difficult for me to comment. Despite this though, I still really enjoyed the book and I’m happy it made it to my reading list for 2015!