Do the Work: Inspired Action in the Face of Procrastination

Earlier

The balcony door is wide open and the curtains are swaying, the sky a slightly lighter shade of blue than it was this morning when I was out running around the national park across the road. There are birds – many birds – loud, singsong-y and free, chirping at each other, chasing each other around that big blue expanse, the sun sliding down in the distance.

Friends are coming home from the beach, one yelling out to another at home on the balcony: “Throw the keys down!” “THE KEYS!” And everyone laughs and the thrower is teased, his aim crooked, the keys completely missing their target. It sounds – and smells – like someone’s having a BBQ. The laughing continues, there’s a splash in the pool. More birds. Some noisy cars. Sunday sounds.

All this happens while I’m resisting. It’s been four hours now and while my beloved naps beside me on the couch, I’ve been sprawled out in a mismatched ensemble of floral pants, a stripy hoodie, zero makeup and chipped plum nail polish whipping through chapters of my latest read – the book I’ve just finished and wedged in its tight new home on the shelves – sabotaging my own grand plans for the day.

The thing is, today was meant to be my “blog” day. I even scribbled a cheerful (possibly over-ambitious) to-do list this morning, with time blocks and pink highlights and big, black letters to KEEP ME ON TRACK. It’s stuck on the wall above my monitor to help me make things happen… and until now, while I sit here typing these words, resistance has kept me from doing any of it.

Master Procrastination Techniques

 

If you’ve ever procrastinated before (and if you haven’t, deep-bow-my-worship-I-am-not-worthy), you’ll probably recognise some of today’s antics below:

1. Grocery shopping. Not a full shop, just a necessary trip all the way to the supermarket to get supplies for lunch. Fantastic time-killer.

2. Taking at least 30 minutes to make said lunch. And then, of course, allocating plenty of time to eat lunch slowly… and tucking into “a chapter or two” for dessert “… and then I’m definitely getting on the computer, OK?”

3. Cleaning. The bedroom, my computer desktop (shortly after failed writing attempt #1).

4. Writing a list of potential blog topics for the next month on my calendar – a list I know I’ll never stick to because I rarely (never) follow an editorial calendar. Seemed important to do it TODAY though.

5. Editing photos for my work Facebook page. On a Sunday. I don’t get paid to work Sundays. Textbook procrastination (this one followed failed writing attempt #2).

6. Getting snacks! Filling up my glass of water way too many times! Way too many toilet breaks a result of way too many water refills!

7. Trying to do the last thing on my list first, to, you know, get into something. Ending up back on couch with book.

8. Meditating mid-reading sesh – for clarity and motivation – and then realising I wasn’t meditating, I was listening to the key-throwing fiasco instead.

9. Seriously contemplating why I was sitting inside when the weather was perfect and it was a freaking Sunday and I hadn’t done anything anyway so I may as well have been out there ENJOYING MY DAY OFF. Oh hello, self-pity.

Such fun!

It’s 6pm now and the book is done and I find myself here at the computer, because, despite the above indicating otherwise, I actually do want to do the work. Showing up here and writing empowering content that might answer a question or untangle an issue in your life is hugely important to me – this is the stuff that really ignites my inner inferno, as you know – which is why I wanted to share today’s little battle to let you know that we all go through periods of inaction and indifference. We all come up with justifications for why we shouldn’t, or can’t, get the work done. 

Advice From the Trenches of Inactivity

 

Do the work.

Just do it. Start. Wobbly and fumbly but with hope in your heart. That’s all that you need from the outset (it gets better from there, I promise).

Do it because you’re ready to expand, to stretch, to tear down walls. Because it matters. Because you can’t NOT listen to the call.

Do it to create space for more. To click into gear, to encourage momentum, to unlock flow.

Do it to activate that sacred part of you that knows that anything is possible – but also knows you need to meet those shimmering intentions halfway.

Do it because what you want wants you too.

Desire can only be held down for so long.

+ Do you ever struggle with procrastination? How do you get started and “get the work done?” Share your stories, tips and tricks in the comments below!

Image: Julian Bialowas 

18 Comments to “Do the Work: Inspired Action in the Face of Procrastination”

  1. “Do it because you’re ready to expand, to stretch, to tear down walls. Because it matters. Because you can’t NOT listen to the call.” This hit home for me! <3

    As I'm reading this I've been to …
    -Cook dinner slowly
    -Ate dinner slowly
    -Made raw chocolate for emergency stash
    -Having raw chocolate right now
    -2nd water filling trip
    -Went to take a shower
    -Took my pencil out and turned my notebook to a blank page
    -And then I got caught in the abyss of Facebook/Youtube/who knows what else…

    I know I want to create, because my Inner being wants to and needs to! Thanks for this nudge to bring me back on track!

  2. Jia Ni: Glad it resonated with you lovely, it always amuses me how “productive” being unproductive can be. Or so we think. ;) xx

    Jackie: Ahh, fear/ discomfort – the ultimate dancing partners for procrastination + resistance. Jump in honey, chunk it down so it doesn’t seem like such a huge task, and tackle it in realistic timeframes. xx

    Sierra Lynn: You’re totally not alone sweets! It gets us all sometimes. xx

  3. Its nice to here you are just like the rest of us Rach!
    I struggle the most with my uni study. I find it so hard to get my head in it, but once I push through the first fuzzy ten minutes I seem to slide right in. The problem is trying to find the motivation in the first place!

  4. Oh, my sweet! It is 10.10pm on Sunday night, and I just finally (finally!) finished writing the blog post that I had been procrastinating over all weekend! Then, I was about to pop on over to facebook before I did my final edit, but I randomly decided to check here first… and found your beautiful words that will not let me let myself off the hook.

    Resistance fights such a creative battle. Honestly, he wields his sword with force and flair and persuasive precision (‘But you’d feel so much better if you tidied your room!’, ‘But stretching is important!’, ‘But it will only be one more episode!’)…

    I feel your pain, needed to hear this, and (as always) love you words!!
    xo

  5. I am the queen of procrastination to the point where I have just had to payout money for an extension of time on an online course that I have had 12 months to complete. I am literally paying for my procrastination! While discussing this with my best friend she asked me why i had procrasinated on this and why I continue to procrastinate on so many other things in my life causing me much anxiety. I had no answer… ‘Just because I ‘spose’ was the best I could give her. Her response: ‘Are you afraid of succeeding? Are you afraid that you might do well and you don’t know how you will cope with realising your dreams?’ I had no answer for her there and then but I think upon reflection that she may have hit the nail on the head.

  6. Hahah! Love this post – you just perfectly described my day yesterday!

    And so timely in a cosmic way too… I was laying outside reading Louise Hay this afternoon and was struck by her belief that procrastination can be the manifestation of a sense of unworthiness… hrm, I’m clearly gonna have to meditate on that for a while before I get to anything on this weekend’s TO DO list (and why yes, it is almost 11pm on Sunday night) :D

  7. Aaaahhh such true words, loving this post on procrastination because it’s true. Waste a day then spend the last minutes of the day making myself feel guilty.

    Momentum here I come.

    Thanks Rach.

    Night x

  8. Ha ha! So refreshing to know that I’m in great company with you Rach and the lovely ladies above!

    I was all set today to finish off one of my last papers for my Masters, knew exactly what I wanted to write and what had be done instead I……

    – Spent wayyyy too much time creating with chalkboard paint.
    – Cooked + cleaned; was a total Suzy homemaker.
    – Got lost on Pinterest.
    – Looked for a home we would like to buy and then after finding said home discussed the renovations we would make!

    And now when I should be finishing up, I’m having a little break looking at my favourite blogs.

    Like you say, it’s amazing how productive a little procrastination can be! Am sure I’ll be thankful tomorrow when I’m back to work, that all the laundry is done and, for all the ready-made lunches and snacks in the fridge.

    As for my paper….I’ve given myself permission to write and to write badly so that the thoughts and ideas are all there, I just have to fix them up a little. Tomorrow is a new day and I’ll tackle that part then.

    Great post xx

  9. Rach, this is amazing and could not be more perfectly timed (since it is now Monday morning and I have yet to begin ANYTHING). I have been procrastinating for – wait for it – a week. Seven days of utter unproductivity.

    And now, your post has reminded me why I even attempted to tackle this massive, obstacle-tacular degree in the first place: because I love it. Back at it ;) Thank you!

  10. Love this post, Rach! It made me feel hopeful, somehow. Perhaps it was because after all that (and your day did sound kind of lovely, btw), you still sat down and got it done. There is still, always, time, and the time will come even though it may be at night and even though it may require a little inner push. (I must admit, it was also a little comforting to know that even you – whom I admire for always getting so much done – gets caught up with procrastination sometimes ;p )

    • Jess: Hey there, yep of course – I think procrastination is a universal affliction unfortunately. You’re so right, it’s those fuzzy, fumbly first 10 minutes that are the hardest, but once you’re “in” everything flows from there. My main source of motivation is knowing (a) how good it feels to get something done (b) that if I don’t, it will roll over from to-do list, to to-do list and suck up valuable energy I could be best using elsewhere. X

      Jess @ Sparrow + Sea: Loved your article so I’m glad that you got that one out there gorgeous, the words would have found their way out eventually but HOW GOOD DOES IT FEEL TO BE DONE?! Xx

      Tara: Oh my sweets. You, honey, have had a hell of a few weeks with moving and travel and big events and stepping out of your comfort zone… and so much more. Be gentle, nurture you first and then dive headfirst into that soul work. I know I’m waving the JUST DO IT flag above, but I think there are exceptions (like upturning-your-whole-life kind of exceptions!) so know that you’re simply in transit, and the work will be done as soon as you can ground yourself again. Xx

      Jacinta: Oooooh sounds like you have a very wise friend gorgeous. The way I see it, there are a couple of answers here:

      1. You’ve lost the love for what you’re studying, and you’re procrastinating because you’re hoping you’ll either find that love again… or that if you avoid the course long enough, it will just “go away.”

      2. There’s a deep-seated fear of succeeding – as your friend says – which often comes about when we don’t have clarity over where we’re going and The Next Step. Could it be that being enrolled in the course gives you an excuse/ reason not to pursue other things in your life – things that might force you to step out of your comfort zone a little? Some food for thought.

      My advice? Write yourself a super positive affirmation and stick it on your mirror or in your purse, and read it daily. Write something like this:
      “I am always guided and supported as I create the life of my dreams. I am confident and open to everything that comes my way, knowing that every experience is an opportunity to grow.”

      How does that sit with you lovely? xx

      Kate: You little night owl, you! I was in dreamland when you wrote that comment so kudos to you for even BEING AWAKE! As always, Louise Hay is spot on with that assessment. Let me know if you feel any shifts today beautiful after acknowledging + meditating on those feelings. Xx

      Sofia: I had this very simple mantra a few years ago: GET SHIT DONE. That was it. Any time I felt like procrastinating, I’d repeat that over and over until I got the job done. I also made a commitment that if the job will take a minute or less to complete, I do it right there and then. I find this super useful, let me know if it works for you too. Xx

      Cara: Such a great idea to just do a big ol’ brain dump and “write badly” – and then come back with fresh eyes. It’s amazing how just having * something * there helps. Xx

      Courtney: Do it for the love, bebe!! Xx

      Kylie: Thank you lovely. I’m glad it left you feeling hopeful (rather than “hope-less”) and you’re so right, there comes a point where you can’t procrastinate any further and you just have to man up and tackle that beast (the beast that is never as scary as you talk it up to be once you actually sit down and meet it face to face). xx

  11. Sooooo true, i am procrastinating right now, reading your blog instead of getting into the pile of my work sitting in front of me. ha, the irony of it! but you have inspired me… thanks beautiful xx

Leave a Reply to Sofia

Cancel Reply