How To Stop Procrastinating (Part 2)

Nonviolent Communication is much more than just a style of communicating.  It is a state of mind, a consciousness based on the principle that everything we do in life is motivated by a desire to meet our needs.  When we have a deeper understanding of the needs that are causing our behaviour, we are empowered to take clear action to meet them and live fulfilled lives.

This is especially applicable when it comes to procrastination.  In our last blog we described procrastination as putting off what we need to do and choosing to do something else that is usually more rewarding in the short-term.  For example, I need to study for my exam so that I can complete my qualification but I am watching Netflix and eating chocolate because that is immediately comforting my anxiety about the exam.

Can you see how we use procrastination to meet our needs?  The challenge lies in the fact that we have many layers of needs!  Let’s look at an example.

Monica is on a tight deadline to complete a proposal for work.  Her job earns her money which fulfills her need for financial stability.  However, Monica also has a need for recognition and this is the need that is causing her to procrastinate.  She is afraid that she won’t do the proposal well enough and will disappoint her manager.

So Monica is sitting at her desk endlessly scrolling through Instagram when she should be compiling the proposal!

Does this sound familiar?  Don’t despair, you are not alone!  There is a way to work through the procrastination.

4 Steps To Help You Stop Procrastinating

Did you know that you can use the principles of NVC to help you stop procrastinating?  I have been trying this in my own life and it really works.  

1.  Observe what’s going on

What is the specific task I need to do that I am avoiding?  Being clear and naming it gives us clarity and helps us to be more intentional.

I am avoiding finishing up my work proposal.

2.  What am I feeling?

Take a moment to get still.  What are you feeling?  You might be feeling stressed, fearful, or incompetent.  You might realise that you are actually tired or hungry. 

I am anxious that I won't do a good job on the proposal and my manager will be disappointed in me.

I’m thirsty and hyped up because I had too much coffee this morning and forgot to drink my water.

I’m tired because I didn't sleep well because I am stressed!

3.  What do I need?

What needs are beneath each feeling?  Do you need more information about the task or to ask for help?  Perhaps you need to reward yourself or be accountable to someone else to motivate yourself to get the task done.

I am feeling anxious because I need more clarity about the financial side of the proposal.

I am feeling fearful because I need to create a professional proposal so that my manager will be happy with my performance.

I need to calm and rehydrate myself.

I need a good sleep tonight.

4.  Take action to meet my needs

Ask for help, support or information.  Choose a specific course of action and follow through with it.  Perhaps plan a reward for yourself for when the task is complete.

I am going to go for a quick walk and drink my water to clear my head.

I will go to Anna in Accounts and ask her to double check my figures. 

I will phone Pete and ask him to read through my draft tomorrow morning. That will really put my mind at ease as he has much more experience with proposals than I do.

Tonight I will switch my phone off at 7pm.  I will do a yin yoga routine and have a relaxing bath.

When the proposal is submitted I will go out with my friends to celebrate!

Knowledge Is Power

Procrastination is a frustrating challenge that we all face. The next time you feel that niggling stress because you know you are putting off doing something that is important to you, try these four steps.  Understanding why you do something and being proactive about meeting your needs will empower you to live the life you really want to live.


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