How to escape procrastination purgatory

procrastination

Have you ever wanted someone to let you off the hook for all the things you don’t want to do?

You know what I’m talking about — the things that keep nagging at your mind, that you know you should do, but for some reason you just keep procrastinating on.

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone just swooped into your life and said, “It’s OK, you don’t have to do those things anymore. I’m granting you full permission to let them go.”

To be perfectly honest, I wish for that all the time.

So, today, allow me to grant you permission to do just that.

YOU HAVE FULL PERMISSION TO NOT DO THE THINGS YOU’VE BEEN AVOIDING

It probably sounds like I’m promoting mass laziness … like I’m giving you a free pass to ignore your responsibilities and essentially become a selfish, irresponsible, lazy sloth.

But that’s not at all what I’m doing.

{Although I do believe most of us could use a bit more “selfish” and “lazy” downtime — we’re all so damn busy all the time and neglecting our own needs. But that’s a topic for a totally separate blog post!}

No, today what I want is for you to get off the fence and stop hanging out in procrastination purgatory. I want you to firmly and intentionally decide what you will and won’t do, instead of getting clouded up and bogged down in all the “shoulds.”

By giving you permission to let it go, I want to push you out of avoidance-mode and into decision-mode.

When someone gives you permission (or when you give yourself permission) to NOT do something that’s been nagging at you, one of two things will happen:

1. You’ll feel immense relief, like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. You’ll feel spacious and free.

… OR …

2. You’ll feel discomfort, restlessness, and a desire to defend the thing you wanted to do. You’ll want to say, “But wait, I want to do that! That’s important, and I can’t let it go.”

WHEN PERMISSION TO NOT ACT IS MOTIVATING

A few weeks ago, one of my clients who’s looking for a new job (her name is Brianna) emailed me with a confession.

Brianna told me she’d been hard-core procrastinating on applying for jobs. In fact, she hadn’t even looked at a job listing in over a week. Every time she thought about searching for jobs, updating her résumé, or writing a cover letter, she wanted to crawl into bed and block out the world.

The idea of job searching, combined with her guilt and self-criticism for procrastinating, were draining every ounce of her energy.

I wrote back to Brianna and said,

“If forcing yourself to job search isn’t working and seems to be adding to your negative momentum, then let’s take a mini break from that. You’re very likely not going to land your dream job when you’re angrily forcing yourself to apply for jobs to escape your current situation anyway, so taking a short break isn’t a risk at this exact moment.

Remember how you mentioned the idea of going back to grad school a while back? And remember how much that excited you? What if you shift your focus for the moment and look into a few schools?”

As soon as I gave Brianna permission to NOT focus on her job search and to give her attention to something else, her energy around the entire subject shifted. Instead of resenting and avoiding her job applications, she felt a surge of motivation to jump back in full-force.

When we talked the next day, she told me she’d applied to three jobs within the past 24 hours.

I didn’t expect Brianna to respond the way she did, but her reaction makes perfect sense. Once something is a choice instead of an obligation, procrastination dies away and motivation takes its place.

twitter-birdWhen an obligation becomes a choice, procrastination dies away.

WHEN PERMISSION TO NOT ACT IS A RELIEF

Sometimes, you’ll find that the thing you keep procrastinating about really is just an unnecessary “should” that you’re imposing on yourself (or someone else is imposing on you). In that case, giving yourself permission to let it go will feel like a massive relief.

This happened to me just recently.

Rachel and I get approached with opportunities and requests quite a bit, and turning things down has become a necessity for us to maintain our sanity. But sometimes I find myself tempted to say yes, even when my gut reaction is, “Ugh, I don’t really want to do that…”

We recently got asked to speak at a corporate women’s event, at a company where I’d presented a couple of years ago. I was tempted to say yes for multiple reasons — they’d be paying us, it was good exposure, and we’d likely get a few clients from it — but I remembered my last experience there, and I hadn’t felt good in that environment.

I couldn’t explain why, but I didn’t want to go back. I knew if I said yes, I’d be kicking myself later.

I decided to give myself permission to let it go. I imagined responding to the email (that had been sitting in my inbox for over a week, draining my energy every time I looked at it) with a “No thank you” … and all I felt was HUGE relief!

So that’s exactly what I did, and I felt immediately lighter letting it go.

PERMISSION IS CLARIFYING

Hanging around in avoidance-mode with all kinds of “shoulds” hanging over your head is uncomfortable. It’s heavy. And it makes you feel totally out of alignment.

So whenever you find yourself saying you’re going to do something, and it keeps not happening … stop hating on yourself and give yourself permission to let it go (or ask someone to let you off the hook).

Then check in with yourself. Do you feel pure relief? Or do you feel disappointed and upset to see it go?

Neither answer is wrong, and it’s important to honor your initial gut feeling.

twitter-birdGive yourself permission to let it go, then see how it makes you feel.

So now I want to hear from you: What have you been procrastinating on or avoiding lately? When you give yourself permission to let it go, do you feel pure relief? Or do you feel disappointment and a surge of motivation? Leave me a comment to let me know!

Much Love,

Kristen (+ Rachel)

 


 

SPOTLIGHT ON … THE PASSION PROFILE SHORT COURSE

This week, we’ve got something good coming up that we want you to know about!

If you haven’t heard, we’re really close to re-launching a brand new Clarity on Fire website. To celebrate that, as well as the holiday season, we’re doing something special:

During the week of December 8th through December 15th, we’re giving EVERYONE a $50 discount code for the Passion Profile Short Course. AND … everyone who signs up for the PPSC is also going to get an hour-long bonus video called “How to find a job you LOVE.”

If you don’t know much about the PPSC, the (mega-short) story is that it’s a completely online, do-it-yourself, 5-hour-ish long course that you can finish in as little as one day … all about how to connect your career to your Passion Profile.

So, if you took the Passion Profile Quiz and loved your result, and you’ve been wondering how to have a career that aligns more with your values and passion … this course is where we recommend starting.

Here’s what a couple of PPSC enrollees have said about their experience:

“I was immediately sucked in and have finally found excitement and motivation in me that I haven’t felt in a long time.” — Dana S.

“When I started the PPSC, I hated my job. Even though I had a ‘cool’ job, it was a horrible fit for me, and no one had ever told me that it was OK for me not to like it! I made such HUGE progress that I found a new job within a few weeks at a great company. And it’s SUCH a good fit for me!” — Lindsey P. 

No need to mark this on your calendar or join any special list. This is just your head’s up! We’ll remind everyone about it when the time comes. 🙂

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