Passing Through the Cloud of Procrastination to Action

(Let the record show that I did a fair amount of procrastination while writing this post, but I finally acted and hence now you can read it.)

In the Heroic Yes! Blog, I often write about creating ways to live our dreams by spending more time doing exactly what we want to do.  However, I’ve found that, ALAS, sometimes there are simply things we don’t want to do that seem to be required of us to live the lives we want.  These things can really pester us.

I learned this from being assigned homework in grade school.  I loathed homework and found it an affront to my free time.  But I also wanted to learn, progress, excel, and make good grades.  So I did the homework. (Often after much procrastinating and a minor tantrum or two.  My parents can well attest to this!)

While the last homework I was officially assigned came during my MFA program back in 1998, I realize that even now I still have homework, often in abundance.  I still have things I don’t want to do that need to be done to live the life I want.

You know the things that really engage your procrastination muscle; the things you keep putting off…and putting off?

When we think of completing activities like paying parking tickets, gathering paperwork for taxes, or going to the dentist, we are often more inclined to drag our feet than dance for joy.  We love the results of these activities, having clean teeth and staying on the right side of the law, but the activities themselves often leave something to be desired.

What things do you avoid doing even though you feel that doing them is necessary to achieving the life you want?

From years of struggle around doing things that I feel need to get done but just don’t want to do, I’ve discovered that it’s important to weigh the results of doing the dreaded activity versus not doing the dreaded activity.  When you weigh these results, try to do so with the open mind.  Always remember that you never actually have to do anything. If you like the results of doing the dreaded activity better than the results of not doing it, I encourage you to come up with a strong and joyful purpose for doing it.  Having a strong and joyful purpose for doing an activity you would rather avoid can pierce through the fog of procrastination. This purpose can help you shift from focusing on, “I don’t want to do this” to “I’m doing this because I have a strong and joyful purpose for doing it.”

(The following example seems almost too simple, even to me, but I like it because it illustrates a powerful way to clear the fog of procrastination.)

Say you’re shopping and suddenly you remember that you are parked by a meter and your time is about to expire.  So you leap over people to sprint out of the store only to find the meter three minutes past due and a yellow ticket envelope with a forty-five dollar ticket in it neatly tucked under your driver’s side windshield wiper.

You are mad as can be.  Hasn’t the parking authority heard of a ten-minute grace period?  You first instinct is to deposit the parking ticket in the nearest trash receptacle.

Then you quickly think, “No! I have to pay this ticket.  It’s the law.”

But then with equal speed you think, “Do I actually have to follow the law?  Well no, people break the law all of the time.”

So now you calm down somewhat and begin to contemplate the results of not paying the parking ticket versus the results of paying it.  The results of not paying the ticket are attractive.  By not paying it, you would save forty bucks plus the time of paying it.  This all sounds great, so then you start thinking of additional possible results of not paying the parking ticket, which might include a far bigger fine, eventually going to court, feeling some guilt about breaking the law, and experiencing a high level of stress every time a police officer is driving behind you.

Then you think of the results of paying the parking ticket, which include following the law and getting it over and done with.  The second course of action seems much simpler and like it will bring you more joy in the long run.  So now you have the information you need to form a strong and joyful purpose for paying the parking ticket.

You proudly declare, “My strong and joyful purpose in paying this parking ticket is to make my life simpler and find joy.

(“Proudly”, “strong” and “joyful” may seem like unusual words to use in relation to paying a parking ticket.  But doesn’t the above phrase seem more relaxing and empowering than being as mad as heck about paying a parking ticket?)

In the grand scheme of things, paying a parking ticket is small potatoes.   You can force yourself to quit procrastinating, write out the check, put the darn thing in the mail and be done.  Not that big of a deal, right?

But really thinking about the bigger reasons why you choose to do something as simple as paying a parking ticket and then creating a strong and joyful purpose for doing it can give you invaluable practice in passing through the cloud of procrastination to action.  This practice is great so that when bigger things that you don’t want to do come up, you are ready.

Game of the Day

What is your game plan for the next time you feel like procrastinating?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com

Are You Ready To Take Action?

As a kid, I always thought, “Sure, I’m ready to take action.  I’m ready to do something fun!  I’m ready to have an adventure.”

But as an adult, I have come to realize that sometimes we desperately want specific things to occur in our lives, but we aren’t in a place YET where we’re ready to take the actions that would allow them a greater chance of occurring.

We can be like a basketball player who keeps asking the coach to put him in the game.  However, the coach keeps looking down at the player’s feet.  Then EVERY SINGLE TIME, the coach shakes his head no.  The player gets more and more frustrated as he watches the coach rotate every player in and out of the game, sometimes two or even three times, EVERY PLAYER EXCEPT HIM.

Can you imagine the poor player’s frustration?

He keeps saying, “Come on! Put me in the game coach!  I’m ready to score lots of points!  I’m ready to make you proud!”

The player’s face becomes more and more red.

FINALLY, the coach takes pity on the player.  The coach simply points down at the player’s feet and says, “I’ll gladly put you in the game, if you put on your shoes.”

Sometimes if we look honestly at what we are presently doing in regards to preparing for our “basketball game,” we will find that we’re happy with little or no action, that at the moment taking action would bring us less joy than taking no action.

And this is OK.

When we take our actions from a place of being ready, we are more likely to enjoy them and be successful.

Of course, there’s a balance.  If we want to be in our “basketball game,” we do eventually have to put our shoes on. 

But knowing that it can be OK to wait to take action can give us more freedom to decide when to make our entrance onto the court.

Game of the Day

How do you decide when you are happy with little or no action in regards to a particular situation?

How do you decide when you are ready to take action?

How do you find comfort and joy with whatever decision you happen at this moment to make?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com. 

Putting Our Hopes Into Action

One of our greatest abilities is believing that things that frustrate us and cause us pain can change.  This is hope.  When we actively express hope in our lives through our thoughts, words and actions, hope becomes even more powerful.

For example, when our car won’t start because of a dead battery, it is one thing to sit in the car and hope that it will suddenly start.  It is another thing to put this hope into action by calling a friend and asking them to drive over with jumper cables.

In another instance, instead of just hoping for a cleaner environment, my friends Kris and Ryan, through example, have showed me that putting that hope in action can be as simple as picking up litter when out walking or canoeing.

There are multitudes of ways to put our hopes into action.  Exciting!

Game of the day

What changes are you hoping for in your life?  What steps are you taking to put that hope into action?

The Secret to Achieving Extraordinary Results on a Daily Basis

No matter who we are, how much money we have or don’t have, how many times we’ve been or not been to Disney Land, we all have the ability to achieve extraordinary results.

I now define an extraordinary result as any result we achieve that is outside of our comfort zone. I’ve found that achieving Beyond-Your-Comfort-Zone Extraordinary Results is a very effective step towards creating the productive and joyful life that you want.

I spent many years comparing my results to the results of friends, family, and famous people.  I never felt I added up. I would spend lots of time feeling bad about not adding up.  This was a good recipe for many Jason Freeman pity parties, but did not leave me with much energy to feel motivated, joyful and productive.

At last I came up with a new system.

The secret to achieving an extraordinary result is simple.  First you find something beyond your comfort zone, something you want to do that you haven’t done before or done as well before, or done as consistently before or done having as much fun before.  Then you create a way to do it.  And finally you play as you do it.

PLAY is the keyword.  Many times you will succeed at creating your extraordinary result.  Sometimes, you won’t, which will be an invitation to PLAY again.

For example, right now I’m typing on my laptop, which is well in my comfort zone because I’ve been a writer since high school.

And I’m also producing an extraordinary result- I’m writing my first blog entry.  I’ve never been a blogger before.  This is outside my comfort zone and thus an extraordinary result.

 The Game for Today:

Create an extraordinary result outside your comfort zone that you can PLAY at achieving TODAY.

Then Play.  See what happens.  See how your world expands.