50. Action = Joy: How to Stop Procrastinating & Take Action

Michele Schmidt MooreDesign Lessons Podcast

Hey Designers,

During Season 3 of Design Lessons, you learned how to use the LEADER mindset to alleviate a daily challenge that you had.  If you didn’t get a chance to participate.  No worries.  You can download the Project You: 30-Day Action Planner and I walk you through your own project.

Welcome to season 4 of Design Lessons.  Our keyword for this season is action. Taking action is the key to creating a life that you love to wake up. In fact, my mantra in this season of my life is action = joy.  When I find myself procrastinating on a task or a conversation, this helps me remind me that generally once I take an action instead of thinking about it, I feel good. I feel joy.

During our talk today, we are going to create some solutions that are going to help us limit our procrastination.

Raise your hand if you have ever procrastinated.

I’m imagining that your hand is up.  At some point in our lives, we have procrastinated on a task.  I know that I have. I bet you have too.  Think back over this past week or last month.  When have you procrastinated doing something that you felt you should do?  Maybe even something that you wanted to do.

For me, procrastination was a habit that actually brought me pain when I was in high school. The anxiety that was caused by procrastinating would build, and I would feel awful.

Looking back it’s hard for me to pinpoint what had me turning in almost every assignment late.  And that was back when teachers deducted a lot of points for late work.  So on top of the procrastination, there was a penalty.

Over the years, I don’t really have deadline procrastination anymore.  I meet my deadlines.  I’ve learned that starting a project can keep that anxiety at bay and can also keep that project from seeming bigger than it is.

What I have come to realize is that procrastination is a form of fear.  To stop procrastinating, we must first identify the root of that fear.  Think about that for a moment.  What are you fearful of that is making you put off a task or a conversation?  Perhaps it’s a fear of rejection.  Perhaps it’s a fear of conflict.  It could be many things.  You have to figure out what it is for you.

That work is important, realizing what you are fearful of.

You might be asking yourself, but what are some concrete strategies beyond identifying what I’m fearful of that can get me moving on a task?

Here are two other forms of procrastination and their solutions that maybe resonate with you too.

1: Imagined Obstacles

Imagined obstacles are when you see a task as only being a linear one. I must do A before I can do B. You can find yourself in a linear stop gap unable to move forward unless you complete this one task. That one task becomes bigger than it is and creates a bottleneck to progress. You are saying to yourself, “ I must complete one task and then the other.” This is a linear stopgap of your own making.

So what’s the solution? Instead of making a list of tasks that need to be accomplished. Create a web. This visual representation reminds your brain that tasks do not have to be done one after the other. If you are looking to prioritize a task, move it more toward the center of your web.

Taking action creates momentum which in turn creates progress which leads to satisfaction and you guessed it joy.

Yes, Action = Joy

2: Stage Fright

Whether you are giving a speech, or presentation, or just meeting someone new, you might find yourself with stage fright.

Although I do a lot of public speaking, I still have a little stage fright. I’m definitely nervous for days before any speaking engagement. I go over in my head all that I might say. I practice in the mirror in the bathroom, on my drive to work. If I’m honest this nervousness is helpful in that I am always well prepared. But it does me the disservice of distracting me from the rest of my life, from being truly present.

Perhaps you have experienced this too when you’ve found yourself in a new situation or meeting new people.

So what’s the solution?

The solution is in taking action. How many times have you had stage fright or been in a novel situation, but the actual experience is pleasant, exhilarating even?

That’s the magic. Once you start, once you take action, you are in the flow of the conversation whether that is with one person or 500 people, and it feels good.

The trick is to remember that feeling. Capture that moment of exhilaration and excitement in your mind and memories and revisit it when you find yourself with stage fright.

Remind your brain that you are not embarking on a dangerous situation.

It is in remembering this moment of action that your resistance will melt away. You are in it and you feel joy.

That's the real takeaway! Action = Joy. Learn to stop procrastinating & take action on episode 50 of the Design Lessons Podcast. Click To Tweet


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