Free Spirits, Flow And Putting Things Off
one thing I’m good at it’s putting things off.
And I know I’m not alone.
Free spirits, by their very nature, tend to live with as little routine as possible, and sometimes it can be hard to focus on getting stuff done – especially those things that we don’t really want to do anyway.
Even though I live in the flow – there are still things I need to do that I don’t want to – housework for starters, then there’s scary things like outlaying a lot of money for something I know I need, or booking a dentist appointment… and all these things do cause procrastination.
But how much more do we suffer when we are constantly putting things off that we know we need to do?
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Here’s what made me think about this.
Today I was walking my dog – it was a beautiful Saturday morning and I walked past a woman who had just finished washing her car. I said to her that it’s such a great feeling isn’t it, when you’ve been procrastinating over it for ever … and finally you do it?!
Her face brightened up and she burst into laughter and agreed – I’d obviously struck a chord… she’d probably been putting off washing her car for weeks (or maybe days depending on how fastidious she is) and had finally done it and felt amazing.
It made me think about that great rush of energy we get when we finally do something that we’ve been procrastinating over… If we feel so great when it’s done – then what energy are we blocking while we’re putting things off?
Putting Things Off Can Become A Habit
How many times have you been putting things off without even realising it?
You’re feeling energised, and think – yep – I‘ll tackle that task now.. just let me tidy up my desk quickly? Or, I’ll just check my emails first.
These are what are called avoidance behaviours, and quite often they masquerade as ‘important-things-that-I-need-to-do”.
This kind of procrastination can become a habit – because you’re not even aware you’re doing it, and you feel like you are doing what needs to be done (after all - you just cleaned your desk and checked your emails!) – but somehow there’s one or two tasks that never make it off the ‘to do’ list.
6 Ways To
Free Up Your Energy And Get Stuff Done
Here are 6 ways to stop putting things off so you have more energy for what matters..
Make a decision – any decision. Sometimes you just need to make the decision not to finish something. If the book is boring, just stop reading it. If what you’re doing isn’t resonating, stop doing that… there are 100 ways at least to get fit, for example – if running is just NOT your idea of fun and you keep putting it off, quit and find something that energises you.
Stop thinking about it - just start. Just take that first step without going through the whole.. "oh, I just don’t feel like it" conversation on your head.
Housework is my nemesis… I hate it… Actually, it’s not that I really hate it, but I just can’t find any way of feeling good about doing it. So I put it off.
But when, after days of promising myself I’ll vacuum and I know I just have to do it… I just do it. I go downstairs, get the vacuum cleaner, plug it in and vacuum. I feel better already because I’ve started… and then I know another 20 minutes and it will be done… yay!
Make a list the day before of the 3 most important things to do tomorrow. We all know this - but here's the thing - when tomorrow arrives – just do them. Don’t do anything else first, don't make coffee, answer any emails or make that 'important' phone call.
Once the first one is complete, then make the coffee or answer the email (don't do both). And then do the second item on your list without thinking about it. Repeat once more and you’re done!
Chances are you’ll be so energised you’ll start on more projects as well.
Break your to do’s down into bite size chunks. In other words, don’t have a list like this:
- Clear entire email box (that you haven’t cleared for a year), sort kept mail into folders to keep, make sure I unsubscribe from all emails I don’t want to receive any more.
- Plan new blog post, write it, find the image and publish. Etc…
You’re giving yourself FAR too much to do and you’re bound to run out of energy well before you’ve finished the first one.
Instead, break them down. If clearing your email box is really bugging you – that’s your priority for tomorrow.
1. Clear email box of all emails I don’t need
2. Sort kept mail into folders
3. Unsubscribe from all unwanted emails.
Then, if you feel so inclined, start on tomorrow’s things, breaking them down into easy to manage mini tasks.
Avoid avoidance behaviours. Those are the I’ll-do-it-now-but-I’ll-make-a-cup-of-coffee-first moves that I mentioned above.
NO… just do the thing you said you’d do and then you can make the bed have coffee and do whatever… The thing about this is that you don’t even realise you’re putting things off – you feel ready to do them, but there's just one other thing you'll do first…. Once you notice that you do this – you’ll never be able to let yourself off the hook again!
If the inspiration isn’t there – just start anyway. Now I know that I advocate inspired action. But when it comes to mundane stuff that needs to be done, sometimes you can’t wait to be inspired; you just need to do it.
You’ll know inside whether you really are being told ‘not now’ by spirit, or whether you’re just procrastinating…
Living In The Flow Includes Getting Stuff Done
The bottom line is to understand that even as a free spirit living in the flow, there will still be things that you have to do that you don’t really feel like doing.
Flow is living in the overall energy of allowing things to manifest in their own time and their own way without constantly trying to control how it happens and how it manifests. But there are still going to be the bits you don’t really like doing. You just need to do them and get them out the way so you can allow your energy to flow, not get stuck in excuses and resistance.
Someone once said – you put the same amount of energy into not doing something as you do into just doing it… and it’s true. Think of how much energy you lose by avoiding the issue, making up stories to yourself and feeling guilty or irritable because you haven’t done what you said you would…
There are times when procrastinating is a GOOD thing (just to confuse you – that's a topic for another day), but when it’s those mundane, everyday tasks – and you know you’re putting things off - stop wasting your energy and just do them.
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Putting Things Off