I’ve been thinking lately about how we, as women, sabotage and undermine our best efforts to become all that we’re capable of being. I think that one of the most powerful ways that we do a number on ourselves is by procrastinating. What exactly is procrastination and how do we use it to sabotage ourselves over and over again?
Well, let’s start with a definition. I did a web search for the word “procrastination” and found the following definitions:
“To put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness. To postpone or delay needlessly.”
I tend to agree with the first part (i.e., putting off doing something or postponing, etc.), but disagree with the second part (i.e., out of habitual carelessness or laziness). I’ve worked with enough women to know that the majority of us are neither ‘habitually careless’ nor lazy! I only wish I could be more careless and lazy! Don’t you?
Instead, I find that most of us are so busy trying to do so much and trying to do it all so well, that if we end up putting something off, it’s usually because we’re so burned out from everything else we’re trying to do and we can’t face that ‘one last thing’ on our ever-expanding “TO DO” list!
I think that we end up procrastinating many things in order to actually take care of ourselves. Unfortunately, however, I often see women putting off the exact things that would be the most beneficial to them (I’m guessing that you, too, have skipped your exercise class in order to sleep in for an extra hour). How can we learn to not put off those things that give us the most peace, relaxation, and sense of accomplishment? By putting them at the TOP of our list!
Here’s something that I use and share with clients with great success. Write up your regular “to do” list for the coming day and include in it one major self-care activity (yes- ONE A DAY!). Examples could be: exercise, get a haircut, have a bubble bath, watch a funny movie, etc.
The possibilities are endless! Then, prioritize each item on your list; making sure that one self-care activity is one of your ‘top three’ priorities for the day. (I can hear you screaming, “I can’t! I could never do that!”). I’m choosing to ignore your protests and you should too. Just try it for one week and see if you don’t feel a whole lot better…
Then you can try procrastinating stuff that really can wait (i.e., washing the car, reading over your insurance policies, etc.) and practice making yourself your priority! And yes, even women with children can do this successfully. In fact, kids benefit greatly by learning that mom also has a life and deserves good things (it’s called “modeling behavior” and it’s definitely something you want to teach your kids). Were we taught self-care growing up? Not many of us were for sure… Why not teach your kids by modeling self-care behavior? They’ll thank you later!
And lastly, when you stop procrastinating YOU you’re not being “selfish”: everyone around you benefits when you’re happy, healthy, and calm.
What are you going to do for yourself today?
I’ve got to go- my meditation cushion is waiting!