If decision and action are inherently linked, and procrastination is the delaying of action, then procrastination can also be defined as the opposite of decision.
Napoleon Hill reminds us in Think & Grow Rich that wildly successful people have a habit of reaching a decision quickly and changing their minds slowly, with the highest discernment.
On the flip side of that, people who fail to actualize their dreams have a habit of reaching decisions slowly, if at all, and of changing these decisions quickly and often.
Rapid- not reactive, but quick and clear decision making is a critical skill, and understanding our decision-making process, having access to our intuition, and a strong connection to the Divine is necessary for making aligned decisions on the fly.
When the decision is made and the aligned, inspired action becomes natural. It becomes easy and fluid. This is what we want.
Mastering procrastination requires creating new habits to replace the negative ones that you’ve likely been working to solidify for most of your life, and the first step to changing the habit is deciding to!
When we procrastinate, we really only meet the bare minimum.
We back ourselves into corners to trigger a fear response adrenaline rush and put the pressure on to get the task done. We wait until the last minute for the rush of it, but also because it gives us a pass to say “Well, I didn’t try that hard, so it’s ok that it’s not my best work,” or to say “I’m SO good, I barely tried and I did THE BEST JOB.”
Either way it’s egoic af and it really doesn’t serve our essence to be existing in this loop.
I look at it this way: If I get my work done efficiently and proactively, meaning I just do it even though I feel like I could do it later, I open up space for other opportunities to come up.
For example, let’s say I have a day with nothing on my schedule with work. I could blow off my morning writing to sleep in because “I have time to do it later.” I could dick around on social media or chatting with the witches in my Hypermind in between bits of writing and stretch my work out the entire span of the day. Or I could go for a hike because I don’t really feel like writing and “I have time later!” and later comes and I get a text from a friend asking to get dinner, or go on a road trip, leaving stat!
What I’ve effectively done by procrastinating this way is put myself in the position to make a choice between my work and everything else.
A thought on procrastination vs. managing your time in an inspired, aligned way: Sometimes I do intentionally decide to flip my days because I’m not inspired, or maybe I’m really tired that morning and I know that if I sit down to write, it’s going to be wasted, forced effort. And in these cases, I consider my priorities and make my choice with discernment. How am I going to feel if I do this versus doing that?
There’s the decision making criteria that set you free from this patterning.
Here are my top 7 tips for mastering procrastination
1. Value efficiency
First, understand that life is a resource trading game. The way we relate to time, energy and space determines the results we produce. Concentrating our energy and focusing it in results in the most abundant outcome with the least effort. Scattered, fractured, distracted efforts result in less abundant outcomes with more effort. When it comes to procrastination, installing core values that support efficient ways of existing is important. These values drive our behaviors, our thoughts and our emotions; all essential for working smarter, not harder (and producing better results).
2. Define clear objectives
Decide what your objective is. What is the goal, and why? What’s the ONE thing you need to focus on right now in order to move the needle in that direction? One thing, and one thing only. Everything else waits until this one thing is completed.
Breaking projects into digestible steps loosens overwhelm’s grip and gives us a clear start and stopping point. If I do this, only then can I do that, so I must do this first and not think about that until it’s time to think about that!
3. Strengthen your focus muscle & build resilience
Focus is a muscle. It’s a skill that we must train to learn, strengthen and maintain. We are seeing a spike in ADHD because there are more distractions and ego-lures than ever before. Information is constantly coming at us and it’s our job to manage how we respond or react to the external world.
Focus is a devotion. There will always be distractions, and reasons why it’s hard to do what you need to in order to create what you’re wanting to create!
It’s our job to decide to harness our energy- our thoughts, our attention, our emotions, our physicality- and focus it in productive ways, or identify as a victim for how hard it is to be present and focused and productive.
Expanding your creative capacity requires learning to sustain the uncomfortable work of, well, doing the work.
4. Do what connects you to source & inspires you!
This may sound counterintuitive to everything else that I’ve written, but don’t force it. It’s like… make sure your gas tank is full and being refilled regularly. I’ve shared that my morning routine is 4 hours long, and it’s a non-negotiable as it sets me up to do really good work with as little effort as possible.
Proactively give yourself space to go inside yourself. Meditation and journaling are non-negotiables for successful women devoted to their expansion, because these women know that these practices set them up to do their best work with as little effort as possible!
Go outside in nature. Prioritize time with family. Get high with friends. Reward yourself and celebrate every single day. Give gratitude. Dance your ass off. Be SO in love with yourself and project that clean energy everywhere you go! Flirt! Fuck! Have FUN, and then sit down and do your work!
5. Track your cycles
We are cyclical creatures.
We make things easier on ourselves by getting to know our Ultradian rhythm and honoring our daily peaks and valleys. For women, tracking your menstrual cycle totally changes the game. Women are not linear and we do not operate on a 24 hour cycle as men do; our cycle is 28 days. Know where you are and adjust your expectations accordingly. Your performance during the week you bleed will look different than the week that you ovulate. There are ways to hack our hormones to support our energies to leverage the cycle even further, but on a very fundamental level, it’s essential to know where you are and operate accordingly.
A personal example: I don’t write during my menstrual week and if I try, I only end up procrastinating and subsequently feeling like shit, so I don’t even try. The end.
I teach this in The Portal as well as in Manifesting With Intention, if you’d like to learn more about how I leverage my cycle.
6. Stop before you are exhausted (while you’re still ahead)
This one is a big fuckin’ deal. If you’ve existed in a procrastination loop for a while (all, or nothing), you’re likely in the habit of going until you burn out. Stop it, it’s driving your procrastination habit!
Ernest Hemingway famously said: “The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day…you will never be stuck.”
Do not go until you are burnt out! By knowing when to quit for the day, you will no longer be perpetuating the all or nothing spinout. You’ll experience exhaustion less and therefore have less friction when it’s time to start again, because you feels better!
7. Reset for the next round
Getting started is difficult when you can’t just jump into the task!
Waking up to a kitchen that needs cleaned before you can make a really great, mindful cup of coffee kind of sucks, and it’s a great reason to convince yourself to stay in bed a bit longer, or run out to the coffee shop instead of journaling. Sitting down to write when your desk is a mess and you have 100 tabs open on your computer is a distracting and doesn’t feel clear.
Years ago I implemented a strategy called “clear to neutral” in order to create some new, more aligned (positive, productive!) habits in my day to day.
Here’s the hack: When you’re done with a work session or a task, it’s not completed until you’ve reset your space. For example, save the project and close the program. Close your browser tabs and all windows. Make final notes and put them in appropriate places.
Totally reset your workspace; clear your desk, clear the counters, put the dishes away, etc., so it’s fresh and clear and inviting when it’s time to sit back down to get to it.
I’ll leave you with another Hemingway quote. He said, “Never mistake motion for action.”
Be discerning and diligent, and see what begins to flourish for you.
Try these tips, share your takeaways and tag me on social media!