Tag Archives: Procrastination

Conquering Clutter… and Other Hairy Monsters

 

Do you ever feel as though the little things you’ve left undone accumulate to the point that they close in on your space – both physically and mentally?

This video is about my experience with that phenomenon and what I decided to do about it one day.

Why conquering clutter is so important.

Just like our computers, we too can only handle so many programs running at once.  When we succumb to procrastination and do not take the time to simplify and process things that need to be taken care of, things have a way of freezing up.  In addition, our view of reality becomes warped as problems and challenges become magnified and the stories we tell ourselves about what needs to happen to get through them become frightful and intimidating.

To keep yourself from experiencing the overwhelm and frustration that comes from clutter building up in your office and in your mind, GET INTO ACTION and do what you are most afraid of.   

Key points from the video:

  • Clutter is frequently a result of not wanting to make a decision – which is often a product of not wanting to make a mistake.
  • The things we leave undone accumulate until they begin to become overwhelming.  Our space and our minds become cluttered when things take up more space than they should.
  • To bust through your clutter, go directly to the things you are most afraid of and JUMP IN!  Remember: You don’t need to get things done perfectly – you just need to get into action. 
  • Moving forward is far better than staying in the rut you might find yourself in.

“Always do what you are afraid to do.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
 

Implications for Real Leaders

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To find out more about how you can unleash this talent, energy and potential in your own organization (starting with yourself), sign up below to receive your copy of The Real Leader Revolution Manifesto as soon as it is released.


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Feel Like You’re Spinning Your Wheels? How to Get Unstuck

Diane Bolden - Leadership and Executive Coach

 

Have you ever had a really hard time getting something done? Something big?

When you are up against a large task or project, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the details and the magnitude of what is before you. Sometimes it hard to know where to start, and once you do it can feel like a never-ending process. To make matters worse, when the project you are working on necessitates that you do something new—something uncomfortable and challenging—it often elicits fear, frustration, and anxiety. All of these things can keep you feeling stuck.

In a state of overwhelm, the focus goes from the joy of getting something done to the aggravation of having something undone.

We can become mechanized in our attempts to figure out what needs to get done and exactly how to go about it. We may also put a lot of pressure on ourselves and beat ourselves up for things we haven’t done, rather than recognizing and acknowledging ourselves for what we have done.

In what is often an unconscious attempt to regain a sense of control, we are easily lulled into doing things that we know will be easier and potentially more enjoyable.

Some tasks don’t really need to get done right now (or ever) or that should really be delegated to others, but we often prefer those. Some of the time-wasters we get sucked into include surfing the web, making idle conversation, cleaning out your inbox, or—my personal favorite—making more lists of everything we think needs to get done and identifying all the steps we need to take. This is actually a great thing to do when you’re focused, but, in a procrastination mode, it becomes to planning to plan—and then plan some more—until you have a rock solid strategy that you never actually execute.

It may feel like you are spinning your wheelsrunning like hell and just not getting anywhere.

 I know this, of course, because I have been there. Repeatedly. And I’ve worked with others who fall into this pattern, as well, to stop the madness by recognizing what’s happening and making a shift to get back on a road that leads them where they need to go.

One of the most powerful things I have found for breaking out of a “spinning your wheels” cycle is to take some time to revisit your purposeor the larger mission or goal behind what you are doing.

  • Get clear about what­—or who—the work is for.
  • Identify how it will improve the quality of life for yourself or those around you.
  • Reflect on the degree to which it will help people, contribute to something greater, or allow you to achieve a meaningful goal for yourself.

This doesn’t have to take hours and hours. Just pause for a few moments and ask, when this project/task/ initiative is finished, what larger goal or purpose will it accomplish? What would you like to accomplish? Write it down. Add to it as you think of additional bonuses. Then, sit for a moment and see if you can envision what it would feel like to satisfy that larger purpose, vision or goal. See if you can feel it so clearly that you are actually grateful for it.

This simple act will help you reconnect with something inside you that will propel you beyond the minutia. It will give you the courage and strength to walk through your fear or resistance to do something that you may not be so good at yet. And it will help you to get back to the joy that comes through the process as well as the attainment of the end goal.

When you approach things in this manner, all that you do will be instilled with a new energyone that uplifts, delights, and inspires.

Whatever you experience as you work on a project will be the same thing people will feel when they partake of the fruit of your efforts. The more we remember this, the more we will experience the satisfaction and gratification of having done something truly meaningful—something that lifts us out of the humdrum and into a place of brilliance. And all who come into contact with our work will be better off because of it.

Interested in additional strategies and practices for getting out of overwhelm so you can have more traction, make a greater impact, and infuse more life and meaning into your work? Stay tuned for more information about my upcoming online course and group intensive, The Real Leader’s Guide to Freedom and Flow or click here to get on the waiting list and get first priority (with no obligation) at the limited spots that will soon be available.

Outwitting Overwhelm – from Frustration to Freedom

If you’ve been following my blog for the last few weeks, you may have noticed that many of the posts have been about getting unstuck, overcoming procrastination and overwhelm, and moving forward.  That’s because these are challenges I’ve been working through lately.  And one of the best ways I know to find answers and solutions to my challenges is, well, to write about them.  I think it’s because writing about something requires you to hold a question in your mind that allows you to access answers.  Sometimes my answers come through writing, and sometimes they come through in other ways.

One of the insights I received came through watching my nine year old son do his homework.  There is a dynamic there that has both fascinated and frustrated me.  The kid is really smart.  And his homework is really not that hard.  He could sit down and finish it in a matter of minutes.  But the second he pulls it out of his backpack, something happens that literally freezes him in his tracks.  It’s as if a huge mountain has suddenly erupted out of the page and grown into a formidable and intimidating barrier between what he needs to do and his ability to get it done.

He sits and stares at the paper.  He complains about the work it requires him to do.  He worries that he’s not going to be able to do it right (or at all).  And then any little thing that captures his attention suddenly absorbs every ounce of energy and focus he has.  A bug.  A little drop of water on the counter.  The way the numbers on the digital clock change with each minute.  Thin air has even captivated him in this state.  And hours can go by before he has mustered enough courage and motivation to even raise a pencil to paper.

“Ryan,” my husband and I tell him, “in the time you take to complain and fuss about it, you could have it finished!”  “You can easily do this – you are so smart!”  we tell him.  Amazing.  None of that seems to get through.

And then I realized that my son is a mirror image of me when I get overwhelmed.

It’s not that the tasks are all that hard or the obstacles too entirely difficult to overcome.  It’s that somehow my mind enlarges them to several times their normal size so that it feels as though I am getting ready to tackle Mount Everest when in reality I only need to take a little stroll around the block.  I tell myself stories (sometimes consciously and other times unconsciously) about how difficult things will be – especially things I’ve never done before.  And I get sucked into the crazy fallacy I have battled my entire life that has me believing I need to get everything perfect.  Before I even realize what’s going on, I feel totally fatigued – can’t even think straight.  And then I need to just sit for awhile – or go find something to do that is easy, so I can check a box and feel as though I have accomplished something, anything.

So now I know where my son gets it.  Instead of trying to teach him.  I have decided to allow him to be my teacher.  In addition to showing me what is standing in my way, he has reminded me that all the words in the world don’t make a difference when you are trying to teach someone to do something you have not yet mastered.  Kids learn through action, not words.   And so do adults.

So if I’m going to do even a lick of good for this kid, (and my other kids, and my clients, and anyone else I might want to help), I have got to get busy working on myself.  But how do you overcome a lifetime of perfectionistic  patterns that keep you from taking the action necessary to achieve your grandest visions and goals?

With this question at the top of my mind, I went for a run.  As with just about any of my runs, the first fifteen minutes was hard.  I was tired and stiff.  It wasn’t fun.  But I powered through it.   And then I got into my zone.  My legs felt lighter.  My breathing evened out.  My head began to clear.  I started to enjoy myself.  And I ran a little faster and a little harder.  It felt good.

And then I had a second, equally powerful insight.  To break out of the perfectionism trap – to get out of overwhelm, to free myself from my own self-created prison, I simply need to get into action To take even one small step toward my desired goal – with the knowledge that at first it may be uncomfortable, stilted, far from pretty, less than perfect.  And then to take another, and another and another.  Until finally I reach my zone.  I have a feeling the more diligence and effort I put into those initial steps, the more quickly I will get through that “warm up” period and into a place where I can actually make headway – and – dare I say it – even have some fun?! 

So that’s my simple plan.  And I’m sticking to it.  And when I need a little more motivation and inspiration, I’m going to go hang out with my son for awhile.

“Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” 

~ Albert Einstein

  Copyright Synchronistics Coaching & Consulting 2010.  All rights reserved.

If you liked this post, you may enjoy other articles written about Boosting Creativity, Productivity & EffectivenessDownload these and others for free at www.DianeBolden.com/solutions.  While you are there, you can subscribe to receive a new feature article each month.  You will also receive my free report on 10 Traps Leaders Unwittingly Create for Themselves – and How to Avoid Them.

Though comments are currently closed, please feel free to email me at Diane@DianeBolden.com with your feedback, questions and thoughts.  Have a specific challenge you’d like to see a post written about?  Let me know.  I’d love to hear from you!

Getting Unstuck – The Power of Purpose

Do you ever have trouble getting something done?  Something big?

(Or maybe something that feels big?)

When faced with a rather large task or project, it is easy to get bogged down in the details and the heaviness that comes with them.  We can experience what feels like a never ending process of having to check a bunch of boxes to advance something toward completion.  And when the project we are working on requires us to do something new – something uncomfortable and challenging – it is easy to get mired in feelings of fear, frustration and anxiety.  All of these things can keep us feeling stuck.

Our focus goes from the joy of getting something done to the frustration of having something undoneIn this state, many of us tend to become rather mechanized, as we try to get clear on the steps before us and what we need to do to accomplish them.  We can also put a lot of pressure on ourselves, beating ourselves up for any lack of progress and failing to recognize and acknowledge ourselves for what we have done.

We may become easily distracted by things that we know will be easier and potentially more enjoyable – tasks that don’t really need to get done right now (or at all), and things that may really be more appropriately delegated to others.  We can get sucked into unproductive activities, such as surfing the internet, engaging in idle conversation, taking several coffee breaks, or – my personal favorite – making more lists of all the things we need to do and identifying the steps we need to take in order to get them done.  This is actually a great practice when we are focused, but in a procrastination mode it can become relegated to planning to plan – and then plan some more – until we have a rock solid strategy that we never actually implement.

It may feel as though you are spinning your wheels  – running like heck,

but not getting a whole lot of traction.

I know this, of course, because I have experienced it myself.  Many times.  And I have worked with a lot of people who fall into this pattern as well to recognize what’s happening and shift into something that will get them back on a more productive track.

One of the most powerful things I have found to break out of a “spinning your wheels” cycle is to take a few moments to revisit your purpose – or the larger mission or goal you have which relates in some way to what you are doing.

  • Get clear about what – or who – the work is for.
  • How will it improve the quality of life for yourself or those around you?
  • In what way will it help people, contribute to something greater, or allow you to achieve a meaningful goal for yourself?

You don’t have to take several hours to do this.  Just stop yourself for a few moments and ask, when this project/task/ initiative is finished, what bigger goal or purpose will it accomplish?  What would you like to accomplish?  Write it down.  Add to it as you think of additional bonuses.  Now, sit for a moment and see if you can envision what it would feel like to satisfy that larger purpose, vision or goal.  See if you can feel it so clearly that you are actually grateful for it.

This simple act will help you reconnect with something that will fuel you beyond the minutia.  It will give you the courage and strength to walk through your fear or hesitation to do something that you may not be all that good at yet.  And it will help you to get back to the joy that comes through the process  as well as the achievement of the end goal.

When you go about accomplishing things in this way, all that you do will become infused with a new energy – one that uplifts, delights and inspires.  Whatever you are experiencing as you work on something will be the same thing people will experience when they partake of the fruit of your efforts.  The more we keep this in mind on a daily basis, the more we will experience the satisfaction and gratification of having done something truly meaningful – something that lifts us out of the mundane and into a place of magnificence.  And everyone that comes into contact with our work will be better off because of it.

Copyright Synchronistics Coaching & Consulting 2010.  All rights reserved.

If you liked this post, you may enjoy other articles written about Boosting Creativity, Productivity & EffectivenessDownload these and others for free at www.DianeBolden.com/solutions.  While you are there, you can subscribe to receive a new feature article each month.  You will also receive my free report on 10 Traps Leaders Unwittingly Create for Themselves – and How to Avoid Them.

Though comments are currently closed, please feel free to email me at Diane@DianeBolden.com with your feedback, questions and thoughts.  Have a specific challenge you’d like to see a post written about?  Let me know.  I’d love to hear from you!