1. Do a jumping meditation
If you've got too much on your mind to focus on work, try this short active meditation to get out of your head and get present in your body.
Set a timer for one minute.
Stand up, close your eyes, and let your arms hang loose at your sides. Consciously roll your shoulders back and down. Relax your jaw. Breathe in...and out....
You can bounce lightly or really go for it like you're on a trampoline.
However you jump, keep your body loose and keep breathing. If you need something to focus on, notice how your shoulders and back feel as you bounce loose like a rag doll. Or pay attention to what your feet feel like landing or leaving the floor.
Stay in your body.
When the timer goes off, notice how your energy has shifted.
Then get to your task! ;)
2. Read some Love notes
One of the subconscious reasons I procrastinate is because I'm afraid that whatever I'm setting out to make won't be good enough. So why bother trying? I'll just watch another episode of "Jane the Virgin" on Hulu instead.
When I notice those "not good enough" thoughts popping up, I head over to a special folder on my desktop for some energy-shifting Love.
In this folder I keep copies of happy-excited emails from clients and screenshots of Facebook comments: praise for my work, gratitude for my contributions, anything that reminds me that I'm not a talentless troll.
If any Judgy McJudgerson stranger found this folder on my laptop, they'd think I was the world's most flagrant narcissist. But I don't care! Because reading those old love notes really works on those days that I can't muster up the energy to get to work.
3. Escape your routine
I have THE BEST commute to work: After getting ready for the day, all I have to do is walk the 50ft down the hall from my bedroom to get to my "office". (AKA, the dining table).
Unfortunately, though working from home does wonders in terms of decreasing my carbon emissions, my home space contains a lot of procrastination triggers.
On my less focused days, I find myself unconsciously picking up my guitar, binge-watching TV shows on my comfy grey couch, or stressing out about the dishes and finding myself elbow-deep in a deep clean of the entire kitchen.
Even when I used to work in an office I'd have days like this, when something about the space was sucking up my productivity.
Excite your neurons by leaving the familiar behind. Escape to a café you haven't tried yet, to a bright co-working space (if you have one in your area), or if the weather is nice get outside!
The change of scenery will enliven your brain and open you up to different parts of your creativity.
4. Use a timer
Sometimes a task seems too huge to wrap your mind around--you haven't even started yet but you're dreading the hours you're going to have to spend finishing the project.
I use a kitchen timer to break up my work day. It's crazy simple, but for me it works!
For writing blog posts for example: I set my kitchen timer or my phone to go off in one hour, and dedicate myself to one writing for that hour--no distractions.
When that hour is up, I wrap up my last sentence quickly and STOP. I don't try to squeeze out any more ounces of Flow. I don't work 'til whatever I wrote in that hour looks good. I just walk away.
Then I set the timer for 20 or 30 minutes and do whatever the heck I want (that isn't work). Maybe I walk down the street to the art store to ogle at all the colorful pens. Maybe I jump back into a Neil Gaiman novel I had to put down earlier. Maybe I take a nap.
When that timer goes off again: back to work, and the cycle begins again.
If working on something for an hour seems too long, start with a shorter time. Bit by bit, your project will get done. Do what works for you.
5. Take it off your to do list
Sometimes I procrastinate because the task at hand feels lifeless and soul-sucking.
If you've tried all of your counter-procrastination tricks and you STILL can't bring yourself to do whatever it is you think you should do...I wonder if it's something that you can let go?
Delete it. Or delegate it.
If writing blog posts is painful, delete it from your To Do list. (Make an inspiring collage, take a picture of it, and put that on your blog instead!)
If editing your website drives you bonkers, delegate it. Can your super-savvy daughter do it for you? Can you hire it out?
It's your turn...
- What project have you felt blocked in this week?
- Which of these Energy-Shifters are you going to try to stop procrastinating?
- What are YOUR favorite energy-shifting strategies to get things done?
I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!