Procrastination Analysis

While looking back over my procrastination post, I came across a simple, yet powerful thought. Why?

The Inc.com article I stumbled across stated “If you’re struggling to get something done, why not spend a few minutes thinking more deeply about exactly why you want to do it.”

It’s remarkably easy to forget. So if you’re putting something off, I want to you ask yourself three whys.

Why am I doing this?
Why does it matter?
Why does it matter to me?

It sounds as though these three questions would all have the same answer, but they may not. For example, I want to do better meal planning. I have not been successful but I haven’t tried very hard, either.

Why am I doing this? I want to be more organised and eat more healthy food.

Why does it matter? Well, at the moment we get home, I feel lazy and make what’s easy. Or, I spend 20 minutes making up my mind what to make, which may or may not be healthy, and by the time I’ve prepped it, made it, eaten it and washed up I feel as though my entire evening has gone.

Why does this matter to me? If I can do it, I’ll feel as though I have more time in the evenings, we’ll both be eating better, I’ll feel more relaxed and we’ll probably save money by only buying what we need instead of random purchases. We have about 12 different jars of pasta sauce in the cupboard. That’s what happens without a plan.

That’s my motivation to get on with it. I want that zen feeling in both my brain and my pantry.

So why haven’t I been successful? Well, I’m trying to work that one out. Let’s have another look at those reasons:

  • Poor time management. I don’t think this is the key issue
  • Boredom or disinterest. Warmer. I’m not excited by cooking. Baking, yes. Dinner, no.
  • Being lost or feeling overwhelmed. No, because I’ve started well enough, I just don’t follow through.
  • Negative brain images. Maybe a little. I don’t want to make something that’s inedible.
  • Lack of experience in the subject, or lack of experience in managing oneself. Well, this is part of it. I have no idea what I’m doing

Okay, so that’s it. I’m not interested, I don’t know what I’m doing and don’t have faith that it will work anyway. Ugh, what negativity!

To combat this, I’ll neutralise the negative thoughts. I have made a few freezable/reusable meals in the slow cooker that hubby and I both liked. I saved them to a Pinterest board. They are proven to be good, so I shouldn’t worry about making something inedible. I just need to try a few more meals so that I can stick to those that we’ve pre-approved.

If I focus on slow cooker meals, I can develop more confidence. After all, it’s pretty hard to mess up a meal in a slow cooker. Yes, it might be a little repetitive to have so many soups and stews, but it’s just while I settle into a routine and grow some faith in myself.

Next, it’s the interest. There’s only one way to find out if I can develop an interest in meal planning. And that is to actually do it.

Could La La Land help your career?

How watching La La Land could help your career (spoilers)

 

Boy-meets-girl, both meet career expectations.

This is not another review about how La La Land is a nostalgic escape from the political turmoil of the day. Nor is it about how the film is a saccharine example of why the world is so polarised. The movie is both of those things. This article is about La La Land as a different genre: a feature-length infotainment production about career progression in a competitive job market.

If you don’t want spoilers…

What you should know: It’s a pleasant movie with a secondary storyline about romance. It’s not about romance. That doesn’t mean that it’s not romantic, but it has more than one definition of romance. Now, stop reading because the spoilers are coming.

If you’ve already seen it, or you don’t care about spoilers, read on…

This is a playful movie about how to be good at networking. Read this version of the synopsis and tell me I’m wrong:

La La Land is about two people in the same industry trying to rise up the career ladder. Promotions elude them because of their poor attitudes, which causes friction within their networks. The girl learns to focus on positive-thinking and skill development. The boy learns about grief management techniques and goal setting. Both are able to achieve their professional goals, but the audience is able to see that if they had not been so negative during their networking activities, they would have reached their career goals faster and experienced smoother personal lives as well.

Lessons from La La Land

The main theme of the movie is networking. Whatever your goals are, if your interactions with others are positive, your life will move in the direction you want it to move. When Mia and her friends sing “Someone In The Crowd”, they may have well all been recruitment consultants. The message (somewhat lost in their desperation) was about nurturing positive relationships. Even outside of the entertainment industry, this is a good lesson. Actually, La La Land has a lot of good lessons.

Lesson 1: It’s not just what you know, it’s who you know and how you treat them

Have you ever had a job that you didn’t care about? You did the minimum amount of work, maybe you turned up late a lot. You didn’t put in much effort because you knew you wouldn’t be staying there for long. So what happened when you were ready to leave? You didn’t have a good referee because nobody wanted to vouch for you. You didn’t care about their job, why would they care about yours now that you’re leaving? But it’s not just your relationships with known connections that could be affected. You never know who is going to be a useful connection, so don’t burn your bridges.

Lesson 2: Sacrifice is not the answer

As discussed before, sacrifice is stupid. If you lie to someone to make them or someone else happy, you will hurt someone. If your personality, beliefs, passion and soul all align and then you give up who you are for someone else, you’ll both end up miserable. You’ll get stuck in a sacrifice circle until one of you breaks. That’s not fun. But if you are positive and stay true to who you are, you’ll get wherever you are headed faster and it will be an easier ride.

Lesson 3: It’s not too late to change your career trajectory

Feel like you have stalled, think about what you can do about it. Could you get some extra training, maybe a free online course or a via a local meet-up? Could you attend some networking events, and if you already do are you developing meaningful connections? Have you actually identified your goals so you know exactly what you are working towards and why?

Lesson 4: Your vision of success can change and you can still be happy

Don’t adjust your vision to fit your resources. Identify your vision and adjust your resources to fit. What did Mia truly want from her career? She wanted her work to have a positive impact on people.  That success could have taken many different forms, but if she had held too tightly to the vision of affecting others through screen acting, she wouldn’t have worked on her play, which developed her storytelling skills, which got her film gig. Her skill development advanced her career in either ending, but when Mia enjoyed the process she had a greater impact in her audience and felt more successful. As said in Lesson 3 above, it’s not too late to change your trajectory, just remember to enjoy the changes on the way.

 

If nothing else, think of La La Land as a reminder that we could all benefit from a little self-reflection. Re-evaluate what you want from life and see if you’re on the right path. While you’re contemplating, put the film’s soundtrack on. I think we can all agree it’s pretty damn good.

Start. Anything. Just start.

I voted Remain and I don’t agree with Trump. I also don’t feel very connected to many other Remainers or anti-Republicans. Why? Because right now I’m seeing a lot of cheap insults from both sides (and a lack of independent journalism) and so I really don’t want the “Remoaner” or “never-Trumper” label. Or the “ignorant elitist”. Yikes.

What I really want is an action list. So I’ve made one. Feel free to follow it, ignore it or criticise it. But it made me feel less defeated.

UK:
  1. 1. Sign the petition for electoral reform. End the oppression of First-Past-The-Post.
  2. 2. Follow the plan to introduce associate membership of the EU. You take the UK out of the EU, but you can’t take the EU out of the 48%.
Everybody:
  1. 1. Join your local electoral reform group (UK, US, and I’m sure many other countries have their own groups). Yes, that includes you too, Aussies. Your voting system may be better than many others, but it could do with some tweaking.
  2. 2. Pick the one thing about the world today that depresses you the most. Support a group that’s trying to fit that. It’s hard when you start thinking “I want to help refugees, but what about all the homeless people? And how can I help the disadvantaged access the opportunities that I have had? Oh god, what about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and all those fish eating plastic, and all the people with cancer or dementia?!? THERE’S TOO MUCH HORRIBLENESS IN THIS WORLD!!! I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!”Don’t get overwhelmed by everything that’s a mess right now. Pick the one issue that makes you the most angry/queasy/depressed. Don’t feel guilty if you’re helping trees instead of people. The point is that you’re helping.

Start today, and you’re already doing more than you did yesterday.

Start. Anything. Just start.

I’ve started giving free jobhunting help. Doing something starts now.

Procrastination Obliteration

I don’t understand myself sometimes. For example, I’m currently feeling enthused and motivated to throw myself into my new job. At the same time, I’m also feeling overwhelmed to the point of paralysis. I have work in front of me that makes me feel excited, but I’m not doing it. Why?

The reasons why people procrastinate
  • Poor time management – you’re just not aware of how much time you have in relation to what you’re wanting to do
  • Boredom or disinterest – avoiding doing the unpleasant
  • Being lost or feeling overwhelmed, not knowing where to start
  • Negative brain images – perfectionism, fear of success/failure, negative and “all-or-nothing” thinking
  • Lack of experience in the subject, or lack of experience in managing oneself

There are techniques of combating procrastination, but I even delay treating my procrastination because it has such a good side effect.

I get so much other stuff done!!

During the time in which I should have been reading a policy document and creating a flowchart to match, I finished two blog posts, sent out quote requests to a bunch of party DJs, read the news headlines, took a brisk walk in the sunshine and booked myself in for a lunch date with a friend. I did all those tasks quickly and vigourously. However, now I feel like a nap, it’s been an hour and I still haven’t read the damn policy.

Ideas for procrastination obliteration

Any other recommendations? Add yours to the comments.

Cover image from Pixabay. It has awesome cat pics.

Why you aren’t achieving your goals

How many goals have you set for yourself at the one time? How many did you achieve? All of them, thus giving you a massive sense of accomplishment and the head size to match? Or none of them, resulting in an entire weekend on the sofa, sulking, with reality TV and a bucket of ice cream while you wish you never set goals in the first place.

The most I’ve ever set at once was about nine and I can’t recall whether I achieved any of them. But I never stop setting goals, because some I do manage to achieve and that feels pretty good. So why do some work and some fail?

After some experimentation of methods for maintaining motivation towards a goal, these are the two things most likely to throw me off track: the process isn’t fun or the goal isn’t a priority.

Tweet: Identify why you’re losing motivation towards you goal: either the process isn’t fun or the goal isn’t a priority

Exercise isn’t fun, I have more important things to do than finish that project, learning a language is frustrating. Some goals might fall into both categories. No wonder we keep failing at them!

How to find the fun when working towards a goal

It’s about the journey, not the destination, yada yada yada. How do we actually do that?

Try taking a step back from the goal. What are some activities that you do that make you feel good? What activities do you enjoy freely, without any thought to achievement?  Can you combine one of these activities with a goal?

Thinking of two of the most commonly broken New Year’s Resolutions, losing weight and saving money, how could we combine fun with these?

Exercise equipment in front of the TV is a popular idea, but what else? There are all sorts of developments in the exercise-powered electronics range, but for something more simple, how about a Walking Book Club?

Saving isn’t a fun process, but instead of focusing on how to spend less (boring!), thinkabout how to have more fun at home (yay!). Learn some new recipes, binge-watch some quality shows online, fall back in love with actually calling friends on the phone and having a good, long chat! Actually, invite them over to enjoy your cooking! Spending less and saving more will become a side-effect of your in-house entertainment.

How to prioritise your goals

In order to be motivated enough to achieve a goal, there has to be a good reason for having it in the first place.

Ask yourself “Why do I want this?”. If the answer is along the lines of “because it would be cool”, this is not your goal. You’ve set it for people other than yourself.

Tweet: Ask “Why do I want this?” – If the answer is “because it would be cool”, it’s not your goal. You’ve set it for people other than yourself.

Let that goal go, it’s not yours.

If your answer relates to self-ownership and personal growth and satisfaction, that’s great! You just need to work out why you’re not prioritising it. Why are you undervaluing something that is important to you?

I set a goal to read more. I used to read novels but I haven’t done in years. I would see sites like GoodReads or hear friends talking about what great books they’ve read lately and I would feel like I’m missing out or being left behind. I was adding a strange competitiveness to reading, which I knew was ridiculous. It meant that reading wasn’t my goal and that it was a frivolous activity that wasn’t worth prioritising. I had to rethink why I wanted to read more. The real reason was that I wanted to write a novel. Completing even just a first draft would be a great personal accomplishment and also be a gift to those around me who have inspired it. I am more inspired to write when I’m reading. I want to read more to fuel my writing. I realised that reading wasn’t frivolous, it was a fun way to inspire my writing. That made the goal mine, and a higher priority, and a lot more fun!

So really think about your goals. What’s getting in the way of accomplishing them: are they not fun, not yours or not a priority?

 

Cover image from Pixabay. It has awesome cat pics.

 

Identifying my purpose from the floor

As per my lazy exercise regime, I was doing a little yoga after work and was looking for a YouTube video to play.  I came across “How to know your life purpose in 5 minutes“, a short video with a softly spoken gent who went rather briskly through his hypothesis. Spoiler alert: 5 minutes is irrelevant, it’s the 5 questions that will give you an answer. Apparently.

These are the questions to ask yourself:

1. Who are you?
2. What do you love to do?
3. Who do you do it for?
4. What do those people want or need?
5. How do they change as a result of what you give them?

Then, when someone asks you “What do you do”, you answer with your response to question 5.  Intriguing for me, as I don’t like telling people “I’m a PA”, because that’s nothing to do with who I am, that’s really just how I feed and clothe who I am.  I would like a better answer. Starting at the beginning, I’m Ellie. I love making people feel good about themselves. I do this for people who are feeling bummed or stuck in like. Those people want to feel that they are in charge of their lives. As a result of what I give them, they feel motivated and empowered.

“Nice to meet you, Ellie. So what do you do?”
“I motivate and empower people”.

Bleh.  Sounds too fluffy and still doesn’t sound like me. Let’s try again.

I love inspiring people. I do it for people who feel trapped or stagnant. Those people need to be encouraged to believe in themselves. As a result of what I give them, they are empowered to make positive changes to their lives.

“So what do you do, Ellie?”
“I help people make life-changing decisions”.

Oooh, I love that.  But I feel it’s a little focused toward life coaching, which is something I am definitely very interested in, but it’s not all of me.  What about my writing? My love of radio and online media? What about travel? Let’s try one more time.

I love expressing myself creatively. I do it for people who are looking for inspiration. Those people want to take ownership of their own lives. As a result of what I give them, they feel motivated to make changes towards living with positivity and autonomy.

“Yo, Ellie. What do you do?”
“I inspire self-ownership in others so they can make positive life changes.”

Bingo.

How about you? Can you boil down what you do into one marvellous sentence? Give it a try and add it to the comments!