Are you a procrastinator? I think many of us are and I certainly can be, too. It’s a terrible habit, isn’t it?
It’s self-sabotage really. And I hate the side-effects - frustration, stress and many sleepless nights.
And yet most of us do it.
Now why is that? Why do we stall, defer and delay those things that we know we should do?
Canada’s Carleton University has done a great deal of research on that question and their work refers to it as “the gap between intention and action.”
When you study the habits of great writers, they are a very disciplined bunch. They write at the same time, in the same place and for a certain period of time or a certain number of words. They are self-regulators. They’ve set up a system and they follow the system.
E.B. White, who penned the charming childhood favorite “Charlotte’s Web” once said, “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”
I would offer the same thought on joy. When we postpone joy, we risk never experiencing the many happy moments that come our way every single day.
There’s a very effective strategy for dealing with procrastination called the 5-Minute Take-off. It’s a simple concept. You commit to starting the thing you’re postponing and even if you only do it for 5 minutes.
Once we reach the 5 minute bell, we often find ourselves engaged, energized and frankly, relieved to have finally started.
I’d like to propose that we use the same strategy for finding more happiness in life.
Next time you feel cranky, disillusioned or flat-out-tired-of-it-all, give your attitude a 5-Minute Take-off. Say to yourself “For the next 5 minutes, I’m going to focus my thoughts on only the things in my life that bring me joy.” And then set the timer on your phone and do it.
Combine the intention to be happier in life with the action to make it so.
It won’t solve all your problems. We know that. But it will make life more meaningful in spite of those problems.
Mark Twain once said of his writing process “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
I’d offer the same when it comes to creating a more joyful life.
Just get started.
Until next week, I hope your life is full of joy and gratitude,
Linda Sterling Sease is a professional speaker, career coach & writer on the power of a joyocracy to transform companies, homes and communities. To explore how Linda can work with your organization, call 303-319-5829 or email her at Linda at SterlingSease.com.