Breaking The Procrastination Cycle

Oh the irony - I was procrastinating on writing a blog post this week and then decided to write about procrastination!

This morning I sat down to my computer to write and found myself scrolling through Instagram, reading other blogs, looking at holiday photos of people I’ve never met on Facebook... you know the drill.

I always feel brilliant after I write to you readers, so what was holding me back?

The task seemed too big

Even though I write here every week, today the idea of it just seemed insurmountable.

Writing and editing the post, finding photos to go with it, sending it to my subscribers (BTW - have you signed up above to receive my blog posts and my 5 best tools for everyday ease yet?) - it all seemed like too much ahead of me today.

However, I mentally broke it down into smaller tasks - I would just try and write the post, then see what happens. Of course momentum took over and once one task was done, the next seemed possible - and so on from there.

I couldn’t visualise the benefits

‘No one’s going to mind if I don’t post this week’, I thought.

But then I remembered I promised myself back in October that I would post every week and that I would be bringing value to my readers if I did so.

I’ve made a commitment to write here on the blog and I know mentally that if I don’t achieve that it would eventually make me feel negatively towards myself.

I hadn’t told others

The accountability of someone else should definitely not be underestimated.

I spoke to my friend Abby and told her I was struggling to get a post out this week. She talked through the perils of procrastination with me, we had a laugh about our similar mindsets and I knew now that she’d be expecting me to get the post done.

If you’re feeling in a slump and not motivated to get something done, talking through it with someone really does work wonders for propelling you forward.

There was no reward in sight

Celebrating and rewarding yourself are not negative things.

My reward wasn’t even that big - I told myself if I wrote this blog post I could make myself a latte and sit on the couch catching up on Snapchat.

Yup, that sounded pretty amazing to me so I pushed through and knew the reward was coming.

I could have easily procrastinated with that activity first, but it felt so much better to sit down with an accomplishment already under my belt.

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Whatever you’re procrastinating on, try these tips to propel you forward.

I’m happy to be your accountability partner if you let me know what your task is in the comments below!

3 Steps To Becoming A Morning Person

You can believe me when I tell you I was never built to be a morning person.

As a teenager I remember cringing as my dad chirped ‘Morning!’ while I dragged myself out of my bedroom to the kitchen, wishing I could lay on the floor and sleep for another two hours.

In my 20s I was obsessed with shortening my morning routine - doing as much as I could the night before, skipping breakfast and getting the latest train to work as humanly possible.

A few years ago I decided this couldn’t be the reality of the rest of my life. Feeling grumpy and sluggish was no longer how I wanted to start my days.

Now, I get up 20 minutes earlier than I need to and take all the time I need to get ready for the day ahead. So how did I do it?

Ease into it

My transformation into a (somewhat) morning person did not just happen miraculously one day. It took lots of trial and error and alarm tweaking.

I mapped out what I wanted to get done in the morning and how much time it would take to comfortably do each task.

For example, I didn’t want to skip breakfast anymore and, in fact, I wanted to take 15 minutes to eat it while reading my favourite blogs.

I started building that, and all my other ideas, into each day.

Think of the five things you’d like to do in the morning before your day kicks off and start slowly moving your alarm clock back to accommodate them. Try it for a week and if it doesn’t work, mix it up the following week.

Do something for yourself first

This concept is a major factor in becoming a morning person.

Whether you work full time, have a family, or have a number of other commitments each day, if you get up and launch into those tasks first thing, it won’t set your day up to be centred and purposeful.

For me, I take 20 minutes when I wake up to meditate and do some yoga stretches - old me wouldn’t have believed I’d have the energy to do this each morning, but now, I know I won’t feel myself if I don’t do these things.

It’s good for my mind and body and sets me up to move on to my to do list.

Have something to look forward to

If you’re finding you are having to drag yourself out of bed each day, it’s likely you’re stuck in a routine that doesn’t inspire you much anymore.

Yes, we have all chosen the set up for our day-to-day lives, but that can still become monotonous, no matter how much you enjoy your family, work or home.

If you plan (and even calendarise) something fun each day, you’ll wake up knowing you’re planning a mid-morning coffee from your favourite cafe, or going for a walk with a good friend, or going for dinner with your partner after work.

Here are 34 of my favourite ways to have fun if you’re needing inspiration.

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What can you add in to your morning routine this week? Can you even set your alarm a little earlier? Let me know in the comments below.

5 Ways To Break Your Tech Addiction

Every person I speak to openly admits they are addicted to technology. Phone mostly, iPad often, Netflix more frequently.

We live in a world designed to keep us addicted - any question that pops into our mind can be immediately researched on the internet, notifications give us that little rush of dopamine we need and hours of binge watching TV series can keep us comfortably distanced from what we really want to do with our lives.

We know it ain’t good for us, so how can we begin to heal our technology addiction?

Keep a tech time log

Back in 2014 I kept a time log and discovered I was spending 2 ½ hours of my free time A DAY scrolling the internet. Terrifying right?

I’m much better now, but I’d encourage you to do the same - note down how often and for how long you’re reaching for your phone each day this week.

Don’t jump on first thing

If you start your day scrolling through feeds, checking emails and Googling, how do you think the rest of your day is going to go?

Will you feel centred, focused on your goals and productive? 

Or will you be distracted, a little scattered and focused on others’ needs all day?

I think we know the likely answer.

Try and start the day with something more useful to your development - read a book, do some meditation or light stretching, journal or go for a walk. Your phone will be there when you get back, I promise.

Schedule your scrolling

This is a tough one, I’ll admit. Our default mode when we have any spare moment (even when driving, as noted by Louis CK here) is to reach for our phones.

It’s hard to fill those in between moments with anything but our devices, but music, a useful podcast or some deep breathing will serve you better than constantly flicking through your social media apps.

After you’ve done your time log, try scheduling some time in the morning and evening for more focused use of your phone (and time).

Turn off notifications

My life would be so much worse if I hadn’t have done this years ago.

I’m still so astonished by how many people have every notification on in their phone and, more importantly, how often they look at those notifications while I’m talking to them.

Turn them off people, you can thank me later.

Use the red light at night

I’ve only started using this one in the last week or so and can’t wait to see the benefits to my sleep. Turning your phone to red light (the iPhone instructions are here) makes your brain think it’s night time and helps us fall asleep more quickly.

If you’re finding it hard to cut out bedtime phone usage all together, this could be the tip for you.

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Are you brave enough to keep a tech time log? What ideas will you implement in your life this week to break your tech addiction?