As the care-free days of summer come to an end our to-do lists get longer and our schedules become more rigid. This leads to a common symptom of the default mindset, procrastination.
In Mindset Coaching the words used to describe procrastination are “mental resistance”. That’s because there’s no tangible reason for procrastination. It happens in our minds as we resist doing something that needs to be done.
It may be a project, a tough conversation, or starting a new habit. Whatever it is, we mentally resist it until the consequences of not doing the task become greater than the annoyance of doing it.
When we look at procrastination in this way it’s easy to see why the tasks we procrastinate feel boring, annoying, and pointless. We put them off because we expect them to feel boring, annoying, and pointless! But there’s a different way to look at it….
When training with the US Speedskating National Team in Salt Lake City there were several workouts that I dreaded every week. I would spend extra time stretching or chatting with support staff to avoid the on-start of these brutal workouts only to find that once I got started the workout wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was the build-up in my mind that had caused my dread.
What tasks are you dreading, and therefore procrastinating, the most? Are the tasks really that bad? Or is it the reaction in your brain that makes them feel that way? Fight this feeling by bringing purpose to your work.
For example, skating sets of 20, 30, and 50 laps all summer long is boring, monotonous, and seemingly pointless; but training endurance in order to prepare for maximal performance in the 1500m was full of purpose. Challenging myself to skate more efficiently as fatigue set in kept the work engaging. And pushing myself to race my teammates on the last few laps of every set kept the work exciting.
How can you bring purpose to your work today in order to avoid mental resistance and keep your work purposeful, engaging, and exciting?