Sometimes it just doesn’t come. The energy and enthusiasm to get things done. Yes, I’m here to tell you that even organisers procrastinate. We are only human, after all.
I asked some organisers recently what they did to procrastinate. Answers ranged from binge-watch a TV series to pour another coffee and hit Send/Receive to check the fridge contents. See, I told you. Human.
Does this ever happen to you? You know you should do a thing. You know all the logical reasons why it makes sense to do that thing. There may even be unpleasant consequences if you don’t do that thing – loss of reputation, damage to a relationship, financial loss.
But sometimes it just doesn’t come. That elusive thing that you need to get that a thing done. Some people call it motivation. But really it’s just enthusiasm. That feeling that propels you forward with enough energy to get something done, even if that thing is hard.
Most of us have something on our to-do list that’s been there a long time. Please raise your hand if you have a completely “done” to-do list every day. I want to know your secret.
For the rest of us, there’s at least one thing that always gets left behind, for lack of enthusiasm.
Did you see the memes at the start of COVID-19 lockdown that told us there’s no excuse for not getting things done because we all had “so much time” during isolation? Turns out the reason things went undone wasn’t lack of time. It was lack of enthusiasm.
If only there were a way to manufacture enthusiasm when it didn’t naturally occur. Like flicking a switch, turning on a tap, or waving a magic wand.
If you find yourself with a lack of enthusiasm and no longer want to procrastinate…
Do try this at home…
Do something else you’re enthusiastic about. Not instead of – as well as – alongside your icky hard to-do list task.
- Love music? Play it loud (with or without headphones) and work away.
- Love to catch up with old friends? Chat on the phone or invite someone to help you.
- Rather be out in the sun? Take your work outside, to your garden, or a local park, or a windy beach.
Do reward yourself. If it takes a juicy carrot dangling in front of you, go ahead and produce a juicy carrot. How will your carrot look?
- Guilt-free time off to read a trashy magazine
- A run with the dog
- A coffee and chocolate cake
Do enlist a cheer squad. Everyone needs a team on their side. They can keep you accountable, lift you up when you’re feeling decidedly un-enthusiastic. And you can find them in surprising places.
- Colleagues can be supportive if you let them know what you need.
- Social media friends can check in on you through the day, giving a gentle nudge or a high five.
- A trusted doggy friend will jump for joy when you’re happy, help remind you of what’s important in life or lay a gentle muzzle on your lap when you need a nudge. (In my experience a cat will only cheer for you when you do something for them. PS: I am a cat-lover.)
Do celebrate like crazy. Recognise the wonderful feeling you get when a task, especially a hard one, is checked off your list. Make a big deal of it. Your brain will want that feeling again, and you’ll find enthusiasm is manufactured more easily next time… and the next… and the next.
- Shout your achievement from the rooftops.
- Write yourself a note of congratulations and post it where you’ll see it often.
- Phone someone who cares as much as you do.
And finally, here’s what not to do when you procrastinate. Don’t beat yourself up about it. You’re only human after all. Instead, be proactive about procrastination, and take some positive action that will move you forward.
Any action, even a wrong one, will create some momentum. Then you can do the next right thing.
If you’re an organiser ready to do the next right thing for you and your organising business, take a look at The Professional Organiser’s Edge membership program.