Productivity, Procrastination, and Mindfulness

woman in gray coat using white laptop computer

Welcome to the discussion on procrastination! I’ve been wanting to talk about this topic for a while now, but you know, I just kept pushing it off. LoL. Just kidding, this topic popped into my head earlier this week when I told myself something that kind of changed my perspective on procrastination, which I will get to in just a minute.

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Everyone Procrastinates

First of all, I want to come clean with you all in that I am a chronic procrastinator. I am the person that puts off a task for 3 months because I don’t want to do it, and then once I do get around to it, it takes me 3 minutes to complete and I’m like why the heck didn’t I do that earlier. I know not everyone is like this, but I do know that even people who are completely on top of things procrastinate at some things in life. Nobody is perfect.

I’m guessing if you do everything you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it, the things that involve taking care of yourself are things you probably procrastinate on. We all do it, in some shape or form. I feel like there are two groups of procrastinators. Task procrastinators, and self procrastinators.

woman at computer looking stressed

As with pretty much every topic I talk about on the podcast and blog, I want to remind you that procrastination is completely acceptable. We’re all human. You are normal. It would be totally impossible to do every single thing you need to do at the right time. When you put more energy into one thing, other things are going to fall to the wayside a bit. It’s just a fact of life.

So what we are going to talk about today is how to prioritize the things you put off. Here is what I said to myself earlier in the week when I was struggling with getting some things done. I said ok, Beth, if you’re not going to do it now, when are you going to do it? Instead of just casually saying, oh I’ll do it later, this question put more weight on my decision to to either get it done, or put it off. If you’re not going to do it now, when are you going to do it?

It kind of made me realize that there would be a consequence to not doing it now. I had already blocked out time for it, the opportunity was here for me to do it, but I was still tempted to distract myself with other tasks. While I would still feel accomplished with the other tasks, they weren’t necessarily what needed to get done. Thinking of it in that way made me reprioritize it. Ok, well, if I don’t do it now I will have to move some other things around later in the week, possibly creating a ripple effect of tasks being put off. So, I guess I’ll just do it now.

But on the flip side, sometimes there is a good reason to move things around. Priorities and goals can change. They can change in the next hour, day, or week. So don’t be too hard on yourself when you do need to move things around, as long as you’re aware as to why you’re doing it. Don’t just mindlessly give yourself excuses about why you’re moving this or that around. Put intention behind it. Someone I worked with recently often said do something now that future you will be thankful for. So in other words, when you prioritizing things, think of it in terms of will you be happier tomorrow that you did it today? If not, then maybe it’s not a priority.

How To Prioritize Tasks

For instance, maybe you really want to shower before bed, but instead you chose to do the dishes and clean up the kitchen so you would feel less stressed in the morning. If you know that you’ll be annoyed with yourself the next day for leaving the kitchen cluttered, then you know what you need to do. Or on the other hand, maybe you decided to take that shower and leave the dishes for tomorrow. For me, with busy schedules and little kids around, I take a shower whenever I get the chance because it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. Yes, the dishes will annoy me in the morning, but in this case, I will be more annoyed if I have to use dry shampoo another day to make my hair look decent for work. Prioritize what will make you feel better now AND tomorrow. Think about it in both the present moment, and the future moments.

Do the thing that you need to do to make yourself feel better about what you’re accomplishing. It may look different each day. One day it might be the shower, and one day it might be the dishes. You know what your habits, triggers, and excuses look like. Pay attention to them.

Sometimes the laundry, and cleaning, and bills can wait another day if it means you’re taking better care of yourself. And sometimes tackling those simple to-do list items are exactly what you need to get out of a slump and feel more productive. Tune in and listen to your mind and body every day. You will know deep down what you should be focusing on in that moment. Will you feel better if you put off the task and focus on something else for a few minutes, or will you be harder on yourself if you put off the task. When you are paying attention to your thoughts and actions, you will know what your decision should be.

The mantra in our meditation today, and to focus on throughout this week will be: I pay attention to my needs, and I focus on myself.

Ok, well, I’m actually going to pause and take a break to go make those doctors appointments that I’ve been putting off for a while. You know it’s going to take me like 5 minutes do, but yet I haven’t done it. I want to clear my procrastinator conscience before I meditate so I can go in level headed. I encourage you to do the same. Pause, go do that one task you’ve been putting off, and come back with a little less stress on you.

Because, don’t forget…If you don’t do it now, when will you do it? Let’s go be productive.


Meditation For Self Love

[Meditation Script]

I am proud of you for working hard on yourself and paying attention to your needs. The universe has spoken and I believe we were meant to be here right now meditating on this topic. We all have come together for one purpose, to focus on ourselves and make our lives more peaceful. Let’s work on feeling at peace with thew way things are working out in our lives. Trust the timing of your life, despite some procrastination. Feel at peace with the way things are building and shifting in your life over time.

Procrastination is often a sign that something else in our lives is being neglected.

Now go ahead and relax into your meditation posture. Closer your eyes or have a gentle gaze at the floor, palms reaching out or clasped in your lap, and spine straight.

We are going to practice a box breathing style today.

Take a deep breath in for 4 counts. Hold for 4 counts. Breathe out for 4 counts. Hold for 4 counts. Repeat cycle 4 times.

Let your breathing settle back to your normal pace. Focus on your breath for a few moments. Notice the air going in through your nose, filling your lungs, and reversing the motion. Count your breath if needed to try and prevent your mind from wandering.

Recite our mantra 3 times:

I pay attention to my needs, and I focus on myself.
I pay attention to my needs, and I focus on myself.
I pay attention to my needs, and I focus on myself.

Now, let’s create some positive energy around this mantra. We’re going to recite it again while rubbing our palms together. Notice the friction and warmth, and the energy rising within your own body. Gently lift your hands and place your palms together in front of your heart and begin rubbing them together.

I pay attention to my needs, and I focus on myself.
I pay attention to my needs, and I focus on myself.
I pay attention to my needs, and I focus on myself.

Now very slowly pull your hands apart. Feel that energy pulling, growing, and expanding in front of you. Take a few deep breaths and let this feeling resonate with you.

Gently lower your hands again and just sit and breathe for a few moments with this feeling of positive energy within you and surrounding you.

Thank you for meditating with me today. I am feeling happy, accomplished, and centered after this session. I hope it felt the same for you and if you want to take it one step further, go ahead and grab your journal and write out some of your thoughts right now.

Don’t forget that your mindful action for this week is to be intentional with your procrastination. Ask yourself, if I don’t do it now, when will I do it?

computer on desktop with woman working
About The Author

Beth Backes

Podcast host and certified meditation teacher. Creator of the Mindful Living Made Easy stress management strategy. Meditating, tea drinking, yogi, mom.

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