- Do the smallest amount possible to start the task, it’s the starting that’s the problem, once you get started you should find yourself on a role.
- Work out what it is you’re afraid of, do you think it’s a waste of your time, the work won’t be good enough, you won’t be happy with the result – then make peace with that, aim for progress, not perfection
- Look at the task in terms of smaller chunks, this helps with the overwhelm. You don’t need to plan everything out at once, just the next few steps. Take baby steps, focus on moving forward, not the speed that you’re progressing.
- Plan treats. For example, If I write 500 words I can go and throw some paint on some paper for half hour. I can read a chapter in my book, I can knit 10 more rows of my project. I can watch the latest youtube video from (insert your favourite you tuber here)
- Can I get someone else to do it for me? Handing over jobs that you don’t want to do to someone else isn’t lazy, it’s a good use of your time. Is it worth the stress and anxiety doing it yourself or would you be happier if you could pay someone else to do it? Sure you’ve got the skills to do it, but do you have the desire?
- Write a list of things that will happen if it’s not done
- Watch the TEDx talk by Tim Urban: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator and understand how your brain works and set yourself a deadline.
- Take notice of your frame of mind or mood and deal with that first, feeling down or depressed has an effect on our brains motivational centre. This doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything and you’re going to procrastinate forever, it just means that you need to deal with the feelings first. My favourite way to do this is to write in locked notepad. This way I can write uncensored without worrying about other people’s judgements and whether I’m hurting anyone’s feelings.
- Give yourself the treat first and wake up the pleasure centres in your brain to help motivate you to action. For example, sit down with a hot drink and watch half of your favourite tv programme. Once you’ve finished your task, you can watch the remaining half.
- Get accountable, find someone who will kick your arse for not getting your stuff done. I’ve personally found this a bit tricky, you need someone who will be brutally honest with you, call you out for not acting on your intentions and still be supportive when you need it.
- Understand the way your brain works better, a great book is the chimp paradox, the child-like illustrations (reminds me of something my husband would draw) should give you a giggle.
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It’s instinctual to look after yourself first, society has turned this instinct into something we should ignore, but how can we take care of others, if we’re low on energy, passionate and lust for life?
We are taught that we should be community orientated, family orientated, that we should sacrifice our own needs to serve the needs of others. Yes, these are worthy traits, they have built us into a progressive supportive species, but these are the things that should only be focused on when we have cared for our self first.
So many of us see the word selfish as a negative thing, it suggests that we don’t care about others, that we put our own need first at the expense of everyone else.
But what if by being selfish, you are more willing to help others, you are happy to dedicate your free time to a community project. What does the term selfish mean? It means putting your health and wellbeing first before everything and everyone else. Does that seem so unreasonable? If you’re a mother, then you know how draining that role can be, without being selfish how will you find the energy and mental stamina to deal with screaming kids, to meet their constant demands and still be a loving parent. If you don’t take time for yourself, to remind yourself that being a mother is not your only role then you’ll lose your sense of self and start to resent the life you have (whether you admit it or not).
How about if we interchange the word selfish with self-care? That seems logical, it seems a no-brainer.
It is selfish to spend time creating something that makes you feel satisfied and accomplished? Or is it self-care?
As kids we spend our entire days playing, we learn about the world and ourselves through play but at some point, we decide we’re too old to play.
Being called childish as a teenager was a massive insult, so we stopped doing what seemed like fun to prove to our friends and family that we were fully functioning adults.
We feel like everything we do must have a purpose, we must be grown up, sensible and not waste our time being childlike.
Fun is reserved for once you’ve done all the adult stuff, well that’s what we’ve been conditioned to believe.
The sad thing is we lost something special during our childhood. The urge to play just because we wanted too. To get lost in our imaginations for hours on end and to colour and draw just for the sake of it. To write a story, just to see where it would take us and to paint because we loved how the colours interacted.
If I handed you pretty markers and tell you to colour something. You’d you probably ask why? What’s the purpose? Is it going to be used in some way when it’s finished?
It’s likely you’d tell me you’ve got more important things to do, such as the housework, a family to look after and a job to do.
But wouldn’t you feel so much better doing that “responsible adult stuff” after you’ve had time to play? How rejuvenating would it be to spend an hour being childlike, getting chance experience the simple wonder and satisfaction of creating something?
Allowing ourselves to play with craft supplies or to create something, tells us so much about ourselves. We are often surprised by the things we like, those we thought we’d love, but don’t and the happy accidents that occur along the way. Creative play gives us the opportunity to see “what if” without it having disastrous consequences. If we don’t like what we’ve created, we can throw it in the bin, lessons learned.
My favourite way to find that wonder and satisfaction is to throw paint down on a Gelli plate (it’s a surface you can use to make prints on) I love it because although I’ve decided the paint colours, I never know how much I’m going to love the print until I lift if off the plate and turn it over.
It really wasn’t that long ago, I barely created anything because I wasn’t sure what or who I was creating it for. Was I going to turn it into a card? Was I going to put it up on the wall? Because I didn’t know the answer to this, I never bothered to start. It was only when I focused on the feelings of surprise and satisfaction that I realised that the purpose of creating anything wasn’t the end product, but the discoveries you learnt along with way.
Not clever enough, pretty enough, creative enough, strong enough, thin enough?
Want to take up a new creative hobby? Your brain goes, “I’m not imaginative enough”. Want to feel great in your new jeans? Brain pops in waving, hey we’re not thin enough.
It’s so bloody damaging
“I’m not enough”.
It’s probably the most destructive thought you’ve ever had. It’s a tricky monster, as it disguises itself every way it possibly can. Very rarely will it ever appear in its simplest form.
The belief “I’m not (insert whatever here) enough”, will tie you up in a straight jacket, forever limiting you.
These thoughts don’t serve you. They limit you, more than you will ever realise. You might be surprised to know that they affect everyone, including those who have the world at their feet.
Want to know how this belief affects people who you would consider super successful, check out this youtube video.
But I’ve carried this thought for decades, can I really change it?
The great things about beliefs are that they’re just thoughts you’ve practised. You’ve practised this one for a while but that doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it. Instead, you need to practise the new belief that you want to have. I am creative enough, I am clever enough, I am ENOUGH.
- Will your thinking change overnight? no,
- Will it be hard? No,
- Will it be a lot of effort? god no!
- Do you need to know why or when this belief began? Noooooooo
All you need to do is remind yourself that you are enough, just as you are. It took many experiences over decades to create the belief that you’re not enough. You don’t need to wait decades to make a change. Little reminders in your daily life goes a long way, so here are a few printables to get you started.
These are A4 size but you can resize them to fit your needs.