INTRODUCTION

Program: Stop Procrastinating Start Living

A Twelve-Week Self-Coaching Program to Prevent The Procrastination 

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Zig Ziglar

So, you’re ready to move forward and make positive changes in your life.  Excellent!

I want to be brutally honest with you. I suffered from the debilitating habit of procrastination.  It ruled my life for a long time. Then, with help, I decided to make a change. This change gave me the confidence and skills to move forward and create the life I desperately desired, and now enjoy!

Having dealt with procrastination in my own life, I understand the psychological roadblocks and the emotional suffering it creates.  I’ve combined my first-hand experience, my education in the field of home organization and staging, and my business and personal acumen to create the revolutionary twelve-week course that you see in front of you.  It will change the way you think. It will help you change your life. Stop Procrastinating, Start Living is a one-of-a-kind program designed to help you learn the skills necessary to start the exciting journey to productive change and self-discovery.

We all have excuses for why we don’t want to do something that really needs to be done.  We put it off until tomorrow or the next day after that…procrastination at its best! However, procrastination is addictive and leads to chronic behaviour. It is like the grieving process….it comes in stages.

  • Denial: (This doesn’t have to be done right away. It can wait.)
  • Anger— Mostly self-directed, but not entirely! : (Why can’t I just get this done? I make me so mad! and/or “If people would just stop being so demanding, I might manage to get things done!)
  • Guilt—which has a way of seeping into every thought 🙁 I am a sub-standard human being with a weak will and no ambition or initiative!)

These stages have no particular order; like schoolyard bullies, they attempt to rule and defeat us, willy-nilly.  How about regret, fear, and sadness? Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.  But I overcame and so can you!

What You Will Need to Start.

Although this workbook is online, I want you to print it out and put it into a three-ring binder. There is a lot to learn here and I do not want you to feel overwhelmed or anxious.  The journey you are on can only be done one step at a time.  Each week is a step.  Concentrate on that step only, looking back to what you have accomplished but not looking forward and stressing about the next step.

In order to do this you will need:

  • to have access to a computer and a printer
  • a 3-hole punch
  • a 3-inch, 3-ring binder
  • some loose-leaf paper
  • small stickers or stars that you like

With all this in hand, we are now ready to go.  Wooooo-Hooooo!  This is going to be fun, and life-changing.  Thank you for letting me a part of your life and transformation!

Stop Procrastinating, Start Living! is divided into 12 weeks of small, manageable projects that you will perform at the same time every day. Before you begin, read the instructions carefully. Write down how you are feeling as you proceed on this amazing transformation to a new and healthy lifestyle. Take note of your energy….to prevent postponing the job and being discouraged.

Warning! At times, the job at hand may feel too complicated…too difficult…too big or just too overwhelming for you to handle. Take a break, go for a walk in nature, call a friend or just start breathing. It will pass, trust me.  YOU CAN DO THIS!

What is Procrastination?

Procrastination is the deliberate act of avoiding the things we have to do. Those who procrastinate have developed the habit of lying to themselves and/or others. They have convincingly manipulated situations so that they appear either incapable of performing a task, or do not possess the time or energy to complete the work required. Ninety-five percent of people procrastinate on a daily basis in one area or other of their life. Regardless of when and how they habitually put things off, they all have a mutual enemy, the fear of change, success, failure, rejection or the unknown.

In Which Area of Your Life Do You Procrastinate?

If you check two or more items below, procrastination is affecting your life. By doing this test, you will determine which parts of your life are most prone to procrastination. 

Home

  • Fixing things
  • Organizing and cleaning
  • Doing dishes
  • Paying bills on time

Personal Life

  • Eating healthy meals
  • Exercising
  • Reading books
  • Getting enough rest

Career

  • Getting to work on time
  • Completing tasks
  • Preparing a resume
  • Following up on commitments

Relationships

  • Ending unhealthy relationships
  • Nurturing supportive relationships
  • Forgiving a relative
  • Forgiving yourself

As you look at the areas of your life that have been affected by procrastination, how do you feel? What emotions surface when you confront the reality that your life has been affected by putting important things off?  Be as honest as you can and write these feelings down in your binder.  What you write will be for your eyes only, unless you want to share them with me or others in your life.  But it is important to write these feelings down, to commit them to pen and paper and be honest.

Welcome to the “Stop Procrastinating, Start Living!” DIY Coaching Program

Congratulations on taking the procrastination challenge. By taking action and making the decision to do this program, you are already on your way to successfully breaking the habit of procrastination once and for all. Now that you are aware of what procrastination is, where you procrastinate, and how it affects you, you will be more inclined to successfully tackle its hold on your life and move forward with confidence.

THERE WILL BE HOMEWORK! 

 It will take 15 to 30 minutes each day. It will help you to move forward without losing momentum. Journaling about your feelings toward each project you tackle will be very helpful and enlightening. Remember, there are no wrong feelings.  They are perfectly acceptable, and yours to acknowledge and embrace. Every week you will review the things you have learned and the projects you have finished. Please don’t be concerned about doing things perfectly. You will not be graded.

You can’t change other people, but you can change yourself.  You owe it to yourself to be the best you can be. Ask “What would my life be like and who could I influence positively if I overcame this limiting habit?”When you let go of unhealthy habits and move forward to a better life, your family and friends will admire your courage and learn from it. 

Stop Procrastinating, Star Living! Will:

  • uncover the reasons you procrastinate
  • peel away the layers of your bad habits
  • help you overcome crippling self-doubt
  • assist you to discover what you really want from life
  • enable you to overcome the fears, blocks or beliefs that keep you stuck
  • guide you to find your passion and purpose
  • teach you to take pride in yourself and your accomplishments
  • train you to use your skills to organize your home
  • equip you to avoid the traps of procrastination
  • facilitate you to delegate to others—We don’t and can’t know and do everything!
  • give you a better understanding of your finances
  • embolden you to prioritize projects (not everything is of equal importance!)
  • expose your tendency toward perfectionism,( What is Good Enough?)
  • Bolster better relationships with your family

How Do We Change?

Many of us are sleepwalking through our lives and choosing a path that doesn’t require much work or commitment. Because we resist the changes that will result in learning and growing, we settle for less in every aspect of our life. Some of us are addicted to complaining about how unfair life is, instead of doing something to improve it.  Many people blame others or use their circumstances as an excuse not to move forward. We need to understand that every change to improve the quality of our lives starts and ends with us. Our family and friends will make their contributions and help us along, and we must be grateful for their gifts of time, money or advice, but change is up to us. Procrastination, blaming others, or complaining about our unfair “lot in life” will sabotage any movement toward what we deserve and desire.

Once we realize the toll procrastination has taken on our health, finances, self-esteem and relationships, it’s time to buckle down and work through the obstacles that are holding us back.  I am passionately committed to helping individuals get this destructive monkey off their back.  It is time to discover the strength that is within each of us to achieve our goals and find our purpose in life. I also believe that a lack of self – esteem and confidence contribute significantly to the habit of putting off the things that we must do, but which we often fail to accomplish. 

If ever there was a time to believe in the old adage, “honesty is the best policy” it is now. Let’s not waste another precious second feeling guilty for procrastinating. Now that we have recognized this limiting habit, it’s time to make positive changes and move toward the life we have always wanted.  

Take a look at the list below.  Check any that apply to you and take the first step   to improving your situation. 

  • Poor health (Take this seriously. See a doctor, get sound medical advice, and FOLLOW it!)
  • Low-paying job (get career counseling and see what your options might be)
  • Incompatible partner (have an honest talk, get relationship counseling)
  • Low self-esteem (Indulge in some self-care—take a long, relaxing bath or shower)
  • Anger & frustration (make room in your life for exercise)
  • Isolation from family & friends (make a call, volunteer, join a club)
  • Financial difficulties (stop spending money on things you don’t need) 

People Who Procrastinate Are Often Judged Unfairly.

People who procrastinate are often labeled unproductive, uncooperative, disruptive or even lazy, but most procrastination is caused by fear, lack of necessary skills, improper planning or lack of motivation. When we don’t do the things we are supposed to do, we run the risk of becoming bogged down, depressed and lethargic. Our brains may very well become overloaded, and our thoughts dulled by regret, self loathing, doubt and confusion. The end result could be that we become incapable of seeing the opportunities that present themselves to us on a daily basis. The brass rings of success are grasped by those whose minds are clear and free to be motivated, dedicated, persistent and action-oriented.

There are a million and one excuses for failure, yet not one of them will help us get ahead.  The secret to getting yourself out of procrastination is to stop making excuses and start making plans!  We will discuss this more fully a bit later.

There are many types of procrastination. One I see on a daily basis (and of which I am sometimes guilty)) is productive procrastination. 

 when we decide to do something to bring us closer to our goal, (for example, an improved financial situation, better health or an opportunity to further our career) but we suddenly decide to do everything except the one thing we need to do to get closer to our goal.   All of a sudden, the floors need washing, our filing system is in chaos and our best friend is in crisis, yet again. We become so engrossed by busy-work, putting out relational fires, and solving other people’s problems that our own life doesn’t even get off the starting block.

Happy Helpers

 

Example

 

Lisa is known for being a kind, well- informed individual. She never says “no” and always gets things done. She is part of every committee at work, a member of all kinds of associations, and is very active at her children’s’ school.

 

When she gave me the list of volunteer jobs she does, I was impressed but I also wondered when this dear lady slept, ate or spent any time at home with her family?

 

It was obvious Lisa was avoiding her home and the responsibilities that came with it. Her house was littered with papers, clothes, old food and bags upon bags of unopened food and new clothing. Despite the great income her husband was providing, this family was suffering financially. Lisa was addicted to shopping. It provided a temporary stress release from being overwhelmed and depressed. It numbed her feelings of inadequacy and unhappiness, at least temporarily.

It’s always easier to deal with somebody else’s problems, rather than face our own. However, when we take responsibility for our own life, and adjust our attitude, it’s easier to fix the problems we have, big or small.

Fear of Failure

Procrastination can be fuelled by a fear of failure. In this instance, procrastination is most likely related to perfectionism. Invariably, people resist or deny possessing this personality trait, even when it is patently obvious. They are associating perfectionism with having a clean and tidy home, a perfect family and everything running smoothly. When I mention that perhaps they are waiting for the perfect time when everything is aligned, and there are no challenges to doing the things they are supposed to do, it’s like a light bulb comes on in their head, “Oh yes, I do that! That’s me!” Given the chance to examine their behavior honestly though, they admit that those tasks are things they don’t want to do, or feel they cannot do successfully. Problems like lack of alignment and repeated impediments to getting things done, are just excuse to put things off, indefinitely. 

Fear of Success 

There are more than a few of us who have a fear of success. Because it sounds a little strange, people will deny fearing success. Doesn’t everyone want to be successful? However, being successful carries with it more responsibilities to yourself, your family, your work, or your community. If we succeed, how will we manage to keep all our ducks in a row?  How will we continue to be successful, day in and day out? If we won’t be able to keep functioning at this higher level of responsibility, what’s the point of trying? In the end, for some of us, it is easier to fail than to succeed. It is easier to hand off our important decisions concerning finances and career or just-about-anything to someone else, like our spouse or even fate.   We are not pleased with situation—not really. We feel stuck and unproductive, but at least life is predictable.

Fear of the Unknown

This unbalanced emotion is rampant!  It doesn’t matter what kind of job we do or how much money we have. Fear of failure and the unknown are probably the number one and two reasons we stay in jobs we dislike or in unsatisfying relationships. In other words, we settle for less. We become experts at dealing with a life filled with disappointment, chaos and crisis.

Questioning ourselves for five minutes, once a week can bring a lot of clarity to our lives. Do I like how and where I live? Do I like the person with whom I am living? Do I like my job? Are my finances in order? Do I like myself?

Now, here is the trick; complete honesty is required— no excuses, and no blame. If the answer to all these questions is “yes”, then continue on your path of success and happiness. If you answer “no” to any of these questions, you have work to do.

People who are not living their chosen life are less likely to be successful and happy. No matter how hard they try or how hard they work, things just never seem to change. Explore the resources of professionals who are qualified to help you with whatever issue you might have. Admitting there is a problem is always the first step in changing ourselves and our lives.

Why Do You Procrastinate?

Do any of these reasons ring true to you? 

  • I am tired and have no energy.
  • I am lacking the right skills.
  • I have low self-esteem.
  • I have a controlling attitude.
  • I don’t feel like doing it.
  • I hate this job.

Live Consciously, and Be Aware of Your Habits 

If you know when you procrastinate, prepare yourself with positive statements

  • I can do this!
  • I am willing to learn this.
  • I will ask for help etc.

Here is an idea that might be useful if you can at all manage it.  If you have a project you don’t have the time for, or you simply don’t want to do, give yourself permission to delegate it to others. Delegating properly so that things get done, is not the same as procrastinating.

Now that you have learned about procrastination, answer the following questions.

  1. What is procrastination?
  2. What causes procrastination?
  3. What are the benefits of procrastination?
  4. What are the consequences of procrastination?
  5. Has your new understanding of this unhealthy habit shed light on how and why you procrastinate?

After discovering the truth about your procrastination, write down how you feel. Some people feel shame, frustration, guilt, anxiety and overwhelm.

Example: I feel angry with myself because I haven’t accomplished the things I want.

Your Personal Commitment to Change

Please thoughtfully answer the following questions in your binder.

  • Do I want to change or is somebody forcing me to do so?
  • How much do I want to change, 10%? 20%?  50%?
  • Am I willing to put in the effort and time to create this change?
  • Am I ready to start doing things differently?
  • Am I ready to COMMIT to doing what I need to do to move forward?

 

 

 

Start Today, Continue Tomorrow 

Learn to Say NO!

The tendency to please everybody by saying YES when we want to say NO is not in our best interest or the interest to others. Start by saying “no” to the hardest group of people in your life.  This could be your family or close friends, or your kids and grandkids!  Just say “no” and mean it.

I wish you the best of luck on your journey to get organized and prevent procrastination form stealing your time and energy.

“The Life You Crave, You Can Create!” Ranka

I know you CAN DO IT!

Ranka