Feeling stuck has to be one of the most annoying things, doesn't it? When you're wishing you were further along, had more money, better relationships, a new job, but sometimes things get in the way.
Occasionally, we can get stuck choosing which direction to take, or which decision to make.
I found myself in that exact place recently. For 20 years I've lived in Sydney, specifically in the Bondi area (bar 5 years in when I lived in Adelaide). But two months ago I upped and left. I gave away most of my belongings, I gave up my beautiful flat in Bellevue Hill, where I'd lived for 8 years, and I quit a full time job that was, frankly, not doing it for me any more.
All of that part of the story is all great.
But where that left me was in a state of 'in-between-ness'. A state entirely brought on by myself mind you, but for the past two months I've felt a bit, well, not quite there. And not quite getting as much done as I would have liked. Or had planned.
After saying my goodbyes to Bondi I chose to give myself 3 months travelling around a bit, doing home and dog sitting. Ideal! I thought to myself. I'll be away from distractions, staying in beautiful, natural surroundings with loads of time to build my business, write blogs, record meditations, create courses and voila, by the time I land in Byron I'll be set!
But the reality of the first three weeks looked more like this…
A beautiful house with great views, two giant dogs and two cats, all of which had varying needs, in varying degrees. During the day, not too bad, I could kind of work although it involved being constantly nudged by a Rhodesian Ridgeback. At night, well, that's when the real fun began. No chance of recording any meditations (or doing any) with a 19-year-old cat making nails-down-the-blackboard purr-meow-screech kind of sounds (earplugs left by the owner were much appreciated). And in the mornings I was usually cleaning up cat vomit or trying to fight my way out of the bedroom without being tumbled by said Ridgeback.
That was three weeks which put me back a bit. I could feel the sense of not doing enough creeping in. And yet I just couldn't find the headspace (or the actual space) so get some of my much-needed work done.
So I put it off.
And then, two weeks later (which means 5 weeks closer to settling in my soon-to-be permanent destination), I found the plans were changed … a hurricane in Hawaii delayed my next dog sitting job for 2 days (the dog owners were going there, not me), which meant the original 2 day interlude I had between house-sits was now 4 days, and that left just one day before a magazine deadline.
So again, other things took precedent and my own work was left in the to-do basket.
My inner dialogue was far from Zen at this point. But there was nothing I could do. With Mars, Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Pluto all in retrograde, my dreams of being productive were dwindling, fast.
I asked myself: Am I procrastinating? Is this happening because actually, I don't want to do the work and it's far easier to tell myself I can't get into the right zone or find a quiet enough space to get my work done. Recording meditations with a whining dog in the background? Not really what I'm going for …
There were plenty of reasons but I was trying to figure out were they also, or actually, excuses?
And that's the second most annoying thing about procrastination.
#1 is that it's happening and it's frustrating because you feel like you could/should be doing more.
#2 is that you can work yourself into a frenzy wondering if you really are unable to get it done or making the whole thing up.
#3 is where the distraction becomes a cycle of frustration, self-doubt, back to square one, rinse and repeat.
So, how the eff do you know if you're procrastinating and how the heck do you get out of it, if you are?
If I knew the answer to that I wouldn't be writing this blog. But, having just come out of the above cycle I can offer this:
First off. Give yourself a break. Truly. You don't deserve to be reprimanded, condemned, shamed or blamed for stalling on a project. None of those things help.
Second, never mind if you're making it up, creating it yourself or if circumstances are causing your momentum to stall. Do something else instead that will help shift your energy (and focus) onto something that lifts you up again. Maybe that's going for a walk or a run; hitting the waves for a surf, pumping weights for 30 mins, watching a funny TV show. Just do something (unashamedly and wholeheartedly) that lifts your energy then go back to whatever it is you feel needs to be done.
Third, if you still can't muster up the momentum, make a list of what needs doing and break it down into the smallest actions points possible. Like, even if #1 becomes 'open laptop'. Then do the first thing on the list, immediately. Maybe you'll feel invigorated enough to do the second and third things too.
Lastly, if none of that works. Give up. Seriously. Put whatever you're supposed to do to one side and consider this: maybe that thing just doesn't float your boat. Perhaps that stands just for today, or maybe it'll never do it for you.
If it's the latter, then that's a bigger conversation to be had – with yourself, or someone like a coach whose job is to help guide you towards your goals. Because if the thing you're stalling on is a work project, and the idea of doing it is less preferable than sticking pins in your eyes, then right there is a life segment that could do with being unpacked and transformed.
And if it's simply that you're in a state of overwhelm and don't know where to start (a common problem for many of us), again, being coached around that is one of the best ways to change your habits. In just a single session you can find yourself free of a problem that's been bugging you for years.
Change isn't easy to do on our own. We may have a zillion tricks and tools up our sleeves but executing them can be a whole different matter. It's far easier to help someone else work through their blocks than break through our own. Hence why I have a coach too. Coaches need coaches just like everyone else.
Because procrastination is an everyman's (and woman's) game. None of us is exempt from getting stuck or feeling blocked. And it's OK to not be 100% productive, 100% of the time, but imagine how much more you might achieve if you had someone to check in with each week or month. Not just a friend, but someone whose sole purpose is to help you achieve whatever it is you want.
Procrastination is going to touch all of us at some point, so if you find yourself stuck in a rut, about anything from work to relationship patterns to money worries, don't put it off any longer. Give coaching a go. Your life is the most important (and only) thing that really matters.
Procrastinate on that and let me know when you're done.
PS Just for the record, I did work through the above with my coach. :)