So what’s with procrastination? As I sit here in my office with an unexpected free hour of time I am not using the time wisely. I think to myself, “I could write that article I have been meaning to write. I can do an hour’s worth of research on that new and interesting topic. I can catch up on my reading.” Yet, I do not engage in any of these activities. Instead, I sit mesmerized staring out the window at the perfectly beautiful blue sky, relishing in the sunshine that is in short supply at this time of year in Canada. I used my counselling skills to encourage myself. “Come on girl! Get those fingers on that keyboard and start typing!” Nevertheless, the sleepy day-dreamy stare continues as my gaze remains focused on the sky. Seemingly, in the blink of an eye, a good portion of the hour passes and I know that I will soon to be back in the time-crunched reality that has become all too familiar in my world. And, on top of it all now I feel frustrated with myself.
If a situation such as this is a familiar scenario for you, the next time you find yourself procrastinating, I encourage you to give yourself permission to sit with it for a predetermined amount of time. Expand the experience by noticing the fact that you are procrastinating. And, instead of fighting it or getting frustrated with yourself, simply accept what is happening. Connect with the part of you that is enjoying doing nothing. Give yourself permission to deeply drink in the lovely space in time to simply “be” and expand the experience into your conscious awareness. You may be surprised at what else you learn about yourself. Follow my experience as I continue to explore the procrastination through a self-reflective mindful practice:
As I gaze out the window I notice that I feel very relaxed. I notice that I truly enjoy this feeling. However, as soon as I allow myself to notice the lovely sensation, I feel a pang of electric energy shoot through my torso. “What is that?” I ask myself. I allow myself to simply notice the sensation. “Aha! That feeling is guilt.” I have been pushing myself lately. It always seems that there is something to do. My mind is busy pushing like a taskmaster urging me on to make the most of the time. I realize that my mind is a bit of a bully at times. I yearn to have time that is designated simply to enjoy. I realize that I have not set enough time aside lately to have rest times. I make my mind up that I will schedule this time for myself in the next few days and see if I notice a difference in the rhythm of my life. Now this train of thought has led me to realize that there is fear inside of me. As I notice the fear and sit with it for a moment I perceive that it is fear of not measuring up that comes from an old message I had first received as a child. I encourage that side. “Don’t worry Hon, all you have to do is be yourself; even if you make mistakes or don’t measure up to the standards of others you are absolutely good enough.” I have reconnected with a part of myself that needed some attention. I experience a nice sense of relief and acceptance. As I reflect, I think to myself, “this is sweet!”
As soon as I gave myself permission to simply notice what was really going on in my internal world, I experienced relief. I quickly became motivated to write this blog post. Consequently, in conclusion, I again reflect on my situation and “notice”…as the light of the late afternoon slowly diminishes from the sky on this short winter day, I finish the final sentence of my latest writing project. I am satisfied. “I think I will name this post “The Wisdom of Procrastination and How to Make Use of It.”