I’ll do it tomorrow... procrastinitis – part 4


Welcome to the fourth and final part of my tutorial!

You’ve come a really long way – look at your notes and see how much you’ve finished already. That’s something you can really be proud of! Did you expect to make it this far three weeks ago? How do you feel about your project today? What changes have you noticed?

In the final part of the tutorial, we’ll look at an important aspect that can significantly influence your style of working in situations beyond the project you’re dealing with now.

Part 4: Give the busy bees a chance – developing a new self-concept

Our behaviours are strongly influenced by what we think about ourselves. The image that we’ve built up over the years shapes many of the things we do – and how we feel.

We’ve got plenty of experience of our behaviours and emotions, so we have a more or less conscious impression of ourselves: this is the way I am, this is how I react. I can do this, but not that.

In adulthood, these aspects of our self-concept are pretty stable and form an important pillar of our self-identity.

Once in place, this self-concept guides our behaviour from then on, and there’s a strong probability that we fall back on established ways of doing things – “more of the same”, if you like. And that’s just because we’ve formed an opinion of ourselves that we are the way we are, and by doing so we unwittingly pave the way for the next repetition. Our behaviours become increasingly consolidated, but this often happens because at some stage in our lives, we have focused our attention exclusively on this particular side of our personality. But at the same time we overlook the little signs – which were always there – that we can, in fact, move in completely different directions.

This view of ourselves is deep-rooted, but we CAN change it. Two vital resources will help us to do this: your imagination and the ability to consciously direct your attention.

If you’ve put off tasks again and again over a long period of time, this picture is probably anchored in your mind, so when you have a new task to do, you almost take it for granted that you’ll fall victim to procrastinitis again.

But over the past few weeks, you’ve seen that you can approach your work in a totally different way. This lesson will lay the foundations for a whole new perception of yourself – if you pay enough attention to it.

But first, let’s develop a counter-image: how would you like to work in the future? With a strong focus and lots of energy? Calmly with a clear structure? Strictly aligned to the amount of time at your disposal?

When I talk about getting tougher tasks out of the way, I like to use the image of a busy bee.

Bees know exactly what their job is. Every day, they make a beeline for precisely the right flowers, collect pollen and bring it back to the hive. Every action is precisely executed and part of a total work of art. They don’t let doubts get in the way, they do what needs to be done, guided by their unerring inner compass. They devote precisely the available amount of time to their jobs.

Can you imagine doing things that way? What would that mean for your style of working? For the way you complete the tasks you have to do?

So, starting in your imagination, let’s put together a picture of the new you: focused, full of energy, relaxed, taking a structured approach... maybe you’re a fan of busy bees as well – or you can choose a different metaphor that suits you and your situation better. Take a moment to bask in this new self-image – and remember: the picture we have of ourselves will shape our behaviour further down the road.

Here are a few ideas to help you:

1. Take 5 minutes every day to complete this mental exercise

In your mind, build up a picture of yourself as you sit down at your desk and start working straight away. Go into as much detail as possible: what can you see on your desk? What can you hear? What does your chair or the keyboard feel like? Imagine you’re breathing calmly, your thoughts become clear and you’re focusing all of your attention on the task in front of you. Nothing can stop you now, you just get going.

Now, picture yourself becoming happier and happier as you work through the task. You realise that you’re making progress. It’s getting easier all the time...

2. Remind yourself as often as you can of situations where you were determined and fully focused on a task – I’m sure you can think of a few: maybe you felt this way during our tutorial, or perhaps you’ve had a similar experience in the past.

Again, take on board as many details as possible – what did you see, hear and feel? In your mind, immerse yourself in this scenario and let it wash over you.

3. Find a symbol for your new working mindset, or create your own – use pictures, objects, sentences or ideas that illustrate your new self-image. Put this symbol in a place where it frequently catches your eye, helping you to steer your thoughts in this direction. Perhaps you could start by sticking an image or a word on the bathroom mirror, so that it reminds you of your new self-image first thing in the morning every day.

You should take a few minutes each day to help your new self-concept take root. The more often you think about it, the quicker you’ll start to notice differences. On the whole, though, we’re talking about a process of changing and growing that takes time to reinforce. And to round off the tutorial, I’d like to go back to my message at the very beginning: if you want to overcome your tendency to procrastinate, you need to be patient with yourself and be prepared to take part in a few small experiments – but it’ll be worth your while!

I hope you enjoy discovering new sides to your personality and developing a new, relaxed, focused and energetic attitude to your work!

If you have any questions or would like to arrange an appointment, you can reach me at angelika.groh@fh-vie.ac.at.


Contact:

If you have any questions or would like to have a consultation, please contact me at:

Groh, Angelika

Psychologist

+43 1 720 12 86-13

angelika.groh@fh-vie.ac.at