When people procrastinate they often tell themselves they are waiting until they are ready or waiting for a feeling that will push them to begin.
But the truth is you just have to start. Instead of waiting for some kind of magic to turn you into someone that gets things done straight away, make it a habit.
Any habit or behaviour takes practice to implement and practice to change.
So, instead of hiding behind the label of being a procrastinator start making a conscious effort to be the kind of person you want to be. The kind of person that gets things done sooner rather than later.
Chocolate cake for breakfast is a great idea in the moment. It’s sweet, chocolatey and tastes great.
But if you’re working towards becoming someone that is healthier and eats more nourishing food then you might not want to make a habit of it.
It’d be like saying you want to stay dry then going outside in the rain.
But if that is not something you are working towards then it doesn’t really matter what you have for breakfast.
Taking breaks will always be necessary. However, when you commit to doing something every single day, suddenly taking a break becomes a little more difficult.
As much as you can try and make up for it the day before or the day after, it’s not quite the same as maintaining consistency.
Once you’ve stuck with something as a daily habit for a couple of months or even a few weeks, the thought of missing a day and losing that streak isn’t particularly tempting.
And so it becomes easier to not take breaks.
But as great as it is to be consistent and build daily habits, you never want to apply so much pressure that you won’t let yourself take a break even when you feel like you need it.
When you’re sharing your words online everyday there is very little pressure for what you post to be the best thing you’ve ever written.
If todays words aren’t particularly good, I know that I can always write something better tomorrow or the day after.
Sometimes what I consider to be my some of my best work doesn’t gain the numbers that I think it will or should. Other times, the stuff I’m pretty indifferent about ends up becoming the most popular.
I’ve written posts that I thought were my best at the time only to look back months later and realise it could have been so much better.
And so the idea of my best work is pretty flexible. If in 20 months of daily blogging, this post was the best thing I’d ever written, I have no doubt that I’d change my mind a few months later.
Reminding myself of all this makes blogging every day so much easier.
I think it’s fair to say that more often than not, a daily blog is for the writer.
The reason behind this is almost nobody reads a daily blog every single day.
There are occasional readers and regular readers but it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t miss a post.
Posting so often allows me to not put so much pressure on each thing I share, it also forces me to challenge myself.
I have posts that have never been read, perhaps the title wasn’t interesting enough or maybe you just weren’t interested. But from a totally different perspective, I posted another day and kept up my writing practice.
That matters to me more than trying to please the reader.
The creator of the habit loop determined that in order to change a habit you needed to change your routine. For example, drinking a glass of water when you crave a cigarette.
For the past 7 days I’ve been working to undo a habit. I didn’t consciously replace it with anything but I suppose I could say I’ve been writing instead.
By the time I got to the 7th day I found I had little interest in carrying out the habit I’d been trying to undo.
It served as a reminder that sometimes we get so caught up in doing things that we believe we’re stuck or that it will be a hard habit to break.
Granted this doesn’t apply to everything but I think it’s fair to say that not all habits are difficult to break.
In the moment missing a day of daily blogging feels like failure but in the grand scheme of things I know it’s not that bad.
If you look at it one way missing 8/365 days isn’t much at all.
But on the other hand can you really call yourself a daily blogger if you don’t post every single day.
When I first started daily blogging it really bothered me when I missed a day, mainly because it was never intentional. It frustrated me that I could forgot to post and not realise until the next day and by then it was too late.
Luckily, I’ve now realised that when you make a mistake if you focus on learning from it instead of getting mad at yourself it’s much less likely to happen again.
And of course this applies to so much more than just blogging
There’s a popular saying that goes ‘Slow progress is better than no progress’. I totally agree.
What we often do is rush because we want progress to be quick.
Perhaps this is because slow progress doesn’t feel like moving forward in the moment. It’s only, in a few weeks or months time that you’re able to see how far you’ve come.
This idea of choosing to rush instead of embracing slow progress can be applied to many scenarios, one of which is procrastination.
Dedicating a few days to get something done is often much more appealing than spending a few weeks doing something bit by bit.
But often we don’t have a few days spare, just a few moments each week.
And the great thing about slow progress is that it helps build a habit of long term commitment.
On the other hand when you rush you’re relying on adrenaline and cortisol, what your body releases as a response to stress which is great in the short-tun but not something you want to make a habit out of.
There are 2 ways of working.
The first is in batches, a couple of hours one or 2 times a week.
The second is bit by bit, day by day.
Many people find themselves picking one of the two ways thinking that it’s the best way of working.
But it turns out it depends on the work you’re doing and also the way you feel like working.
Last year I was focused on scheduling posts and there were times when I’d be scheduling a week of blog posts in one go.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been writing and publishing a blog post at the end of my day. At first it felt strange and I was frustrated that my batch blogging habit had fallen away.
However, from taking the bit by bit approach I’m enjoying blogging more. I spend moments of my day thinking about what I want to say and then I type it up at night. It feels like I’m creating a better writing practice because I’m clicking publish each day.
It’s not to say that the bit by bit approach is the best way of working. But what I can say is that it’s going pretty well for me right now.
I start each day with a gratitude practice of listing 10 things I am grateful for.
Things are changing quickly and becoming quite difficult in some ways. It can be difficult to keep up with gratitude through challenging times.
You might find yourself wondering what exactly there is to be grateful for in a time of such great uncertainty. But I find that if you focus on the good bits (no matter how small) there is always something to be grateful for. I have no doubt that before you know it you’ll have reached 10 things pretty easily.
It could be sunny weather, the people you live with, the food in your cupboards, your health, the smoothie you made, being able to communicate with loved ones far away, the fact that you’re able to work from home, the friend that sent you a song as a pick me up, the extra time you have now you’re no longer commuting to work or even your favourite (almost) daily blog.
It might be difficult to think of things when you’re fearful or overwhelmed but know that this the perfect time to put your daily gratitude practice into practice