If You Are Going to Procrastinate, Do It with Intention!

by Dani Fake Webb on April 27, 2010

Ah, the art of procrastination. We’ve all experienced it. I have been amazed at the lengths my creative self will go to in order to avoid a task I really don’t want to do. I’ve cleaned out closets that haven’t been touched in years. I’ve rearranged furniture, bathed dogs, run errands, washed cars, ironed my underwear. (Ok. I haven’t really ever ironed my underwear. But I might!) Anything to avoid the unavoidable.

You relate to this, don’t you?

Having tasks that we really don’t want to do will always be a part of life. Therefore, the temptation to procrastinate will always be around. For most of us, procrastination is a negative word. But, since it will always be around, we might as well embrace it! You know that old saying, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!”

So how do you “join” procrastination?

Stop fighting it. Seriously. Procrastinate with joy, with intention, with abandon!

Here’s what that looked like for me on a dreary Monday when I just could not get motivated. For the first couple of hours in the morning, I did some of the things that many people do when they are procrastinating. I checked email. I played on Facebook. I surfed the Internet. I turned on the TV (something I never do during the day!) I made the bed. I did laundry. I rifled through the pantry and ate mindlessly. Anything to avoid the task at hand. (Sound familiar?)

Now, in the above scenario, imagine my mindset. I was on the computer (email, Facebook, Internet), thinking, “I really shouldn’t be doing this. I am just wasting time. I really need to go do <insert unwanted task here>. But I don’t wanna!” Those thoughts created feelings of anxiety, defeat, and failure. And guess what? Feeling anxious, defeated and like a failure are not conducive to getting “the thing” done. In fact, those feelings lead to more negative actions, which lead to more negative feelings, which lead to more negative actions – see the vicious cycle here?

What I needed was a way to break that cycle of negative thinking and feeling.

So, I “joined” procrastination. I made a good cup of Starbucks coffee. I snuggled up on the couch and watched Desperate Housewives. I took a hot shower and lingered as I got dressed and applied makeup. I made a healthy lunch. I picked five people I really wanted to connect with on Facebook and went out and said hello.

Was I any closer to getting “the thing” done? No. I was still procrastinating in that I was not doing “the thing.” But. (And this is a huge but. Like a “Baby Got Back” but.) But….

I did each of these things with a different mindset. I savored a good cup of coffee. I gave myself permission to watch a TV show I love. I let myself enjoy it. I literally set an intention to enjoy Desperate Housewives. I was avoiding the task. But it was a choice. I was not a victim to procrastination. I became its friend. I did not beat myself up as I did the things I wanted to do in the moment. The reality was I was avoiding “the thing.” But that was happening anyway. So, I just went with what was. I quit fighting and went with it.

And the most important part? I did it with compassion toward myself. I had a mindset of compassion and the freedom of choice. My thoughts as I did those things were more along the lines of, “I love this show. It’s horrible and hilarious. Starbucks coffee is one of my favorite things. Dang this is good. I love me a hot shower! Let’s try eyeliner today. I really want to connect with x, x, x, and x. What can I say to brighten their day?”

Can you see the difference? I was in the moment, doing things I enjoyed. I was aware I was procrastinating, but I was procrastinating with intention. The result of all those thoughts? I felt relaxed, calm, and peaceful. And when I feel relaxed, calm and peaceful, guess what? My actions are very different. When I felt anxious and defeated, nothing got done and I had a horrible experience of the day. But when I felt calm and peaceful, guess what? I took a step toward “the thing.” Yep. I stopped procrastinating.

The act of procrastinating with intention led to the end of procrastination. Isn’t that cool?

Now, I didn’t get “the thing” totally done that day like I had hoped. But I got part of it done. And, more importantly, I did not spend most of the day hating my life. I gave into procrastination and found compassion, care, and even progress.

Life is not just about getting things done. It is about enjoying the ride. Is it worth hating yourself for not completing something? Let yourself have a cup of coffee with Procrastination. And really enjoy it. You may be surprised to find that Compassion frequents the same coffee shop. And she may be the best friend you can ever have.

~~Thoughts~~

What is your relationship like with procrastination?

How do you treat yourself when you procrastinate?

What would it be like for you to “join” procrastination?


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

PicsieChick April 27, 2010 at 1:44 pm

I love that question: “What is your relationship like with procrastination?”

Lately, I have so many big projects going on, along with a full time job and life, that I set a goal to accomplish at least something every day towards 2 of the goals. I have learned to think of the tiniest task to complete, and have used my procrastinating place – Twitter and blog-reading – as a reward. “After I accomplish x, I can read those blog posts that my friend tweeted.” This worked well on the weekend, when I had a whole day, it’s more difficult to fit it into an evening, but I think I’m making it work.

Of course, I am finding that there are some extremely small things that can be accomplished towards my goals! LOL

Thanks for the post. It really is all about being in the moment. And it’s good here.

Hugs and butterflies,
~T~

Julia Rogers Hamrick April 27, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Great post! So true. You have found the entrance to the amazing realm called “Easy World”!

There’s no such thing as procrastination in Easy World. In EW, you only do that which you’re inspired and energized to do and everything that really needs to get done, gets done in the flow, with ease. Doing what you *feel* like doing means you’re in your rightful place in the Design for Harmony.

When you drop resistance (procrastination is pure resistance) and embrace doing that which you *feel* like doing instead trying to make yourself do what you think you *ought* to be doing, you put yourself back in Easy World where magic happens.

Things you might not ordinarily enjoy doing or have simply been resisting out of rebellion to a “should,” either turn out not to need to be done at all, or someone else will do them, or you’ll be inspired and energized to do them yourself and even enjoy the doing of them when the time is right! Inspiration and energy can’t come to you when you’re in resistance.

Tammy Vitale April 27, 2010 at 7:59 pm

I so love this post given that I’ve been putting off writing a report that I need for an eseminar that I need to get set up by 5/10 – okay I’m still early (I finally got it done today! woohoo!), and I cannot tell you how many things got done while avoiding what turned out to be quite simple. Happy to say that (mostly) I didn’t beat myself up too badly for not meeting my own self-imposed deadline (and still got it done so I can tell Christine tomorrow that yes indeed it’s finished!)

Melissa Dinwiddie April 27, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Great article! Intention makes such a difference.

And as an interesting note, in my life procrastination actually led to an entirely new career, when I started making art to procrastinate from “what I was supposed to be doing” at the time.

Sometimes procrastination is a clear message that it’s time to check out another road….

Dani Fake Webb June 3, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Hey Tammy! Thanks for the comment. Would you believe I JUST today realized I HAD comments?? Apparently I have to approve them. Who knew?? Sorry for the delay – and thanks for reading!! :)

Dani Fake Webb June 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Easy World….Love that Julia!! Thank you for the comment – and I am so sorry for my delay – I JUST realized I have to approve comments. I just thought I didn’t have any!! Hope you have a great day!

Dani Fake Webb June 3, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Melissa, I love that! A whole new career from procrastination! I’d say that is a GREAT example of your Authentic Self talking to ya!

Dani Fake Webb June 3, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Hello ~T~
Thanks for your comment! And sorry for my delay – just had a big lesson in how blog comments work (I didn’t think I had any!)

And I love your idea about the procrastination tasks being rewards for steps taken (even if little.) One more example of how we can have fun with ourselves as we go through life….

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