How to Deny the Devil of Procrastination

A couple of days ago, sadly, shockingly, one of my dear friends took her own life. I will miss her largely, and will treasure her joy, laughter, incredible energy, savory jokes, smile, and her love of people. She was a special jewel, and I hope she knows how special she was, even in her afterlife.

When these unforgettable and unexpected events occur in life, I struggle to understand “the lesson.” I believe that my girlfriend is in a more peaceful place, so the lesson is really for me.

My friend was on a roll. But it wasn’t a good roll; it was a downward roll, worsened by procrastination. There were other things involved of course, but I feel that the “devil of procrastination” ultimately took her down. Others may say it was “finances,” or “depression,” but I think her finances could have been mended and the depression would have lifted, had procrastination not been running amuck. It all snowballed and grew into the ultimate procrastination…the procrastination of living, and then…the end of her life.

That got me thinking about how to break the downward spiraling cycle of procrastination before it spins completely out of control and leads to emotional madness. Procrastination is a sensation of fear, a secondary fear and a cover for an original fear, so by the time we identify it; procrastination is a clue we haven’t been dealing well with initial issues. Now we have secondary issues to conquer before solving the primary issues. We must stop the procrastination right away.

Here my scheme to break the hold of the Devil of Procrastination. This is not time management, it is Procrastination Management:

  1. List things you have been procrastinating, call it your Procrastination Management List (you know what they are.)
  2. Now break each item in the list down into the smallest possible micro-parts.
  3. Rewrite the list and title it your Micro-Success List.
  4. Give yourself permission to accomplish only 1 item on the Micro-Success List per day. No more, no less.
  5. Start all over at the beginning of each month with a new “ Procrastination Management List, break it down into small pieces and create a new Micro-Success List for the month.
  6. Make a thankful list recognizing each micro-success accomplished in the prior month.

This takes about 20 minutes for the initial list and 15 minutes a day, and will prevent you immeasurable heartache. Using this scheme, you can gently bring yourself out of denial (and immobilization); and into a pattern of allowing yourself to experience small successes.

The Devil of Procrastination will taunt us with our failures. As you experience micro-successes, you begin to feel better and can ignore the taunts and negative self-talk. As you feel better and more energized, you accomplish what you thought you were too afraid to do. As you express thankfulness for things accomplished, more fears dissolve! Now you are on a roll. A good roll.

However, if procrastination fears have taken over, we forget “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and that it really does help to “eat an elephant just one bite at a time!” The Procrastination Management method above applied for just 15 minutes a day, will convince us that we truly can conquer Rome, or whatever we set out to do!  Did procrastination take my friend.? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it was just her time to go. Goodbye, V.C. RIP.

Deborah S Nelson is a guest blogger for PickTheBrain and the founder ofAuthor Your Dreams Publishing

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Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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