How to stop procrastinating and get into the flow?
Procrastination comes from the Latin pro, which means "forward" and crastinus meaning "till the next day". It is a pathological tendency to differ or to postpone action to the next day.
Most of us procrastinate. There are some of us who procrastinate for everything, others who procrastinate only in certain areas. There are some who procrastinate in their work, others in housework, in administrative work or all at the same time.
In any case, procrastination is a plague, we rarely feel good when we procrastinate, and we have deep inside of us this feeling of guilt that we should be doing exactly the things that we’re procrastinating about.
Procrastination is a form of resistance to the flow of life. When we procrastinate, we are in resistance to our own flow, in other words in resistance to the call of our soul, to the energy of the Universe. It is this resistance that is responsible for the discomfort we feel when we procrastinate. In fact, it is an accumulation of energy that is being blocked. Like water flowing along a stream, the flow of life is the energy that flows naturally when there is no resistance. If we put a dam of stones in this stream, the water no longer flows and it is blocked. And if we wait long enough, it will eventually stagnate completely and become a kind of stagnant swamp. The same thing happens when we procrastinate, the energy accumulates and ends up creating stagnation in our energy field, and therefore stagnation in our life.
The more we procrastinate, the harder it is to get out of this vicious circle. All these things that we are supposed to do and always put off, the more time goes by, the less we want to get things done. It's like a room that becomes more and more cluttered, everything piles up everywhere, and the more it stacks up, the less we want to get in there and tidy up.
So how to stop procrastinating, take action and be in the flow?
First of all, we need to find out at what level of procrastination we are; beginner or expert procrastinator, acute or chronic procrastinator? Are we only procrastinating in certain areas? Are we procrastinating about our creative ideas? Are we procrastinating for boring tasks? It is important to identify how and where we procrastinate.
Generally, procrastination is seen as a form of laziness or apathy but what is really behind it? We just need to take a look at what we feel when we procrastinate: shame, guilt, even feelings of depression... In fact
procrastination is the manifestation of low self-esteem, it is not the cause but the consequence. We are devaluing ourselves, we do not believe in ourselves, we think we do not deserve; we find it hard to find enthusiasm and energy to take action. And all of this ends up creating a vicious circle and we feel stuck.
If procrastination takes an important place in our life, it can be associated with a form of depression and apathy. Since we do not love ourselves, we do not value ourselves, procrastination will simply add another brick to the wall of negative beliefs that we have about ourselves. These negative beliefs and mental patterns come from childhood and the programs we received from our parents. Apathy is a lack of enthusiasm, in the case of procrastination, enthusiasm to do things and feel fulfilled. When we have a lack of enthusiasm, even for the things that normally bring us joy, it indicates how one or both of our parents have systematically broken down our spontaneous enthusiasm when we were children. It was not OK to show any enthusiasm.
For example: a child jumps and runs around because he just has a great idea and is so enthusiast about it. The parents are busy, not in the mood, and instead of welcoming his enthusiasm and rejoice for the child, they will annoyingly say: "Cut it out! Just calm down and go back to your room!" The child takes in the reaction of the parent as a signal that his enthusiasm is not ok and is not acceptable for his parents. He will then begin to suppress it. The other reason might be that the child never received any support from his parents for the things that were important for him. For example: a child asks to take piano lessons, and his parents tell him: "But why do you want to take piano lessons? You do not even know how to play the recorder properly and it's way too expensive!". There too, the child will learn to suppress his desires and what makes him feel good because he has learned that it was not acceptable for the parents. His self-esteem plummets, because his spontaneous nature is not embraced with love.
So we see how in adulthood, all this programming can be transformed into procrastination, apathy and even depression.
So, the first thing to do if we want to stop procrastinating, is to work on negatives beliefs related to our self-esteem. Go looking for the cause of your behaviors and beliefs.
The second thing is to draw inspiration from people who are in the flow.
So what is being in the flow?
Being in the flow is when one is fully aligned with one's soul / higher self / True self, whatever we want to call it, and therefore fully aligned with the energy, the flow of life. These are moments when we are at our maximum capacity, fully focused, fully in the moment, in the experience of what we do and in joy. Time stops, the outside world no longer exists. This is also called "being in the zone". It is an athlete at the peak of his performance, a musician playing at a concert, a painter working on his canvas, a writer who pours his words onto a blank page, a scientist in his laboratory focused on his experiment. It’s a kind of trance state.
The third thing to do is to make a list of all our priorities. Given the level of procrastination in our lives, there might be a lot of things left undone. Making a to-do list with the priority things to do and setting a concrete schedule to do them will already allow us to get all that out of our head. Because when we procrastinate our head is very cluttered with « things we need to do ».
Fourthly, it is going back to the present moment. When we procrastinate, we are either in the past ("I should have done that") or in the future ("I'll do that when") ... if we bring everything back into the present and ask ourselves these questions: what can I do right NOW to reach my goals and objectives? What is the next action I can take right NOW ?
Being in the present moment is also being aware of the excuses that the mind might come up with to prevent us from taking action.
Fifthly, learn to value yourself. Especially after taking action, congratulate yourself for having done so; take the time to feel the satisfaction that it brings to take action. Like: « Wow ! you just cleaned the dishes, you’re so awesome ! » Even if it's one small thing at a time, congratulating ourselves systematically will motivate us to do even more things.
When we start to get out of procrastination, we begin to get into the flow. We start to feel a lot of joy because it is inseparable from this state. It is easy to feel that when we are in a creative state, but we can be in the same flow while accomplishing more mundane tasks. We can find meaning and presence in everything that we do all the time.
When we create a momentum of movement in our life by taking action, things start becoming more fluid, and we experience more and more synchronicities. We feel good, happy to participate in the experience because we come out of the ego and self-consciousness. Being in the flow doesn’t mean to always be in action, being a contemplative meditative state is also being in the flow. Action leads to action and by encouraging and congratulating ourselves, we feel less and less resistance to do things and more and more pleasure and satisfaction to get things going. Because we find ourselves in a state of alignment with who we really are, where everything becomes fluid, easy and effortless.
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