Friday, January 27, 2017


When at all possible, work with your unique brain wiring, or biology. There are so many strategies, programs, and theories that profess to be THE answer to 'finally' conquering procrastination. However, the real best strategies are the ones that actually work for you. Period. There isn't one correct answer. 

The strategies that do work for you are often those you create on your own by continuing to tweak, adjust, modify and 'enhance'. You can only accomplish this through trial and error, mixed with a generous portion of creativity. And, you must be willing to experiment and fail. This is not only okay; it's a necessary and crucial part of the process.  The more you know about what does not work for you, and why, the closer you get to figuring out what does work.  

If a strategy dictates that THE sure fire way to overcome procrastination is by getting up at 5 am every day and working on what you need to accomplish before you even have your morning coffee, notice how it resonates for you. If you are so not a morning person or the thought of even uttering a simple sentence to someone before your first cup of coffee makes you twitchy, this method is unlikely to work for you. Do you know when your peak performance times are? If so, design your strategy around those times. 

When you hear JUST DO IT,  if you want to roll your eyes, growl and mumble expletives under your breath (or shout them) at the person who offered you this oh so useful tip, pay attention to that feeling. If this actually worked well for most people, there would not still be so many folks in serious pain from the high price they pay for chronic procrastination, which is compounded by their negative self-judgment since these 'simple' strategies don't work for them.  Also, if it does work for you with some things and not others, don't continue to try to use it for everything.  There is no universal best way and since we don't typically have the same reason for putting off each task, it stands to reason that we may need to apply various methods. 

If you know you work best in 15-minute spurts, do that! If you need to play oddly loud baroque music or Gregorian chants to get the dishes done or the laundry folded, or if it helps your creative flow, DO IT! If you need to dance while you vacuum or prepare for a meeting, then do that. If going to a coffee shop or the beach or the car wash helps you to focus to problem solve or get your thoughts together to make a plan . . . (you know what comes next) DO IT!

What works for you IS what works for you.  Be creative, keep practicing, keep failing, and keep starting again. Your brain is neuroplastic, so exercise it.  Lather, rinse and repeat, repeat, repeat. Practice makes progress. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Rock Your Bottom?

A gradual sinking can prevent immediate awareness of having hit bottom. One day, you look  up and wonder how you got there. Are you even at the bottom? What does bottom look like? Of course it's relative, and in my opinion, bottom is simply as far as you will allow yourself to go before you do whatever is needed start to move from where you are.

As in every area of your life, comparisons are rarely motivational. As Teddy Roosevelt said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." Just as you define success for yourself, you are entitled, and perhaps even mandated, to determine what failure means. Does hitting the proverbial rock bottom mean you're a failure? Of course not! YOU are not a failure! However, you may have failed in one or more endeavor or area of your life. And that's ok - more than ok, even. Own it. Feel it. Deconstruct it. Embrace it. LEARN from it. Find all of the lessons this experience offers, and then use them to start over, try again, try differently or completely change the plan and even the goal.

Sometimes, delusion and denial can serve us for a time; often, we need it to keep us safe and functioning.  At some point, though, it just keeps us stuck.  And when we feel paralyzed or stuck and know we've been hiding (either from others or from ourselves) it's likely time to look within to see if there is something(s) we are resisting or at least failing to acknowledge. Since what we resist persists, and also robs us of precious energy, the first and most important action is to truly acknowledge that we have, in fact, been resisting, denying, ignoring or otherwise not dealing with what we know is so. There is simply no real movement before we take this step. Even if doing this feels really icky, painful, uncomfortable and heavy, it will weigh much less than denying its existence and carrying it around, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. What is that it? Whatever IT is for you.  We will all have more than one it throughout our lives. It will change and/or recur. And I submit that we cannot actually hit bottom until we wake up and own whatever it is we've been squashing down because IT has been squashing us down too. 

Your own hitting bottom need not necessarily involve drugs or alcohol, near-death, serious injury, hospitalization, incarceration, or homelessness, but sometimes it is that stark. It doesn't have to be.  Bottom for you may just be the day you look up and say, "How the hell did I get here and who is this person who looks like me but isn't?"  If you do find yourself in that place, after you go through whatever personal process is needed, then it's time to celebrate, because if you've determined that you've "hit rock bottom", there is only one way to go from there!  Perhaps you could put on some music and rock YOUR bottom!