We've all done it and postpone tasks that we should focus on but decide to do it later. Inevitably, later never comes or comes too late, which creates a crisis that ultimately could have been avoided simply by managing the distractions.
The concept of to do or not to do isn't just about managing distractions or making the best use of your time. It's about obtaining the correct state of mind to achieve the desired outcome, and I want to help you understand how, as it may be your fears and insecurities that hold you back from doing.
Do you find yourself choosing to watch TV, or are you scrolling through your phone to check up on social media instead of attending to more important tasks?
Do unfinished tasks loom over you? Like a dripping tap, your to-do list keeps mounting. Drop by drop; each task is ignored. You put it out of your mind until the drops form a flood. Help! Call the plumber! A seemingly small and insignificant issue starts to appear insurmountable.
It's so easy to fool yourself into thinking there's still plenty of time with thoughts of I'll get to it after I've done this unimportant task... Before you know it, panic takes over. Suddenly time has run out—a sense of dread sets in as you start criticising yourself with thoughts of why you didn't manage your time better; you should have started on this crucial task earlier - yesterday, even last week. I call this conundrum to do, or not to do.
To do vs not to do
To do means acting decisively. You execute, achieving the desired outcome on time. Your objective may be to learn, complete something, to accomplish, or achieve a result. You aim to win, obtain success or achieve closure.
With the to-do attitude, you gain satisfaction in completing the task. You will probably feel happy, excited or possibly relieved.
By contrast, not-to-do is what most people would call procrastination. Some may go as far as to call it slacking off or laziness. We shouldn't be so quick to make these assumptions without considering what the cause really is.
It could simply be that the project doesn't excite you. Menial tasks can appear boring, tedious or repetitive. You've done this so many times before that the thought of doing it again seems almost agonising.
However, the issue could run deeper. Often, not doing something is a means of protecting yourself as you may feel that the task is too complex. You feel overwhelmed. You may believe that you will fail. Things like this will create fear, preventing you from even making a start. The concept of not-to-do dominates before you even begin.
On the upside, delaying a decision can be necessary for some situations as it will allow you time to evaluate your options. You may need to do some research first to examine all the possibilities. By planning, you can make better decisions. You have a clearer vision of the outcome before you undertake the task.
Distinguishing between to-do or not-to-do requires some honest questioning:
Finding the Answers
Gloria Mark is a professor at the University of California, Irvine, specialising in digital studies. When observing how people interact with social computing and digital distractions, she noted that it takes, on average, a little over 23 minutes to return to the original task after a distraction.
This raises the question:
What benefit do you receive by delaying the tasks until later?
I was a pro at not-doing as I constantly avoided tasks and making decisions to avoid being seen as a failure. However, this behaviour just fueled my feelings of unworthiness as I had a preconceived notion that I was not capable and I would be criticised. As knew I would get it wrong anyway.
As a result, I never completed anything on time or found a way to pass the buck. Ironically, I would always be on time to meet people as I deemed this fun, this being one of my values. So, completing tasks that made me feel inadequate was no fun at all.
To find the answers to why you avoid tasks, you first need to know why. Questions you may ask yourself are:
If you've lost love or focus for what you are doing. Don't worry, this is okay.
When we find it challenging to undertake tasks that need completing, it's time to take ownership of the situation. To find the strength and focus required to rise above the issues that are holding you back. By identifying the cause of your inaction, you will begin to understand why you are in a state of not-to-do and begin to turn it around to a to-do attitude.
The following are steps to manage distractions. To overcome the delay tactics that prevent you from accomplishing what you need to do:
Finding the Balance
While it's important to focus and manage distractions, you need to accept that you are human and won't always be perfect. You need to understand why you are so easily distracted or why you avoid starting in the first place.
Be honest with yourself when asking the tough questions. Seek the answers, and you will find fulfilment.
Not-doing leads to feeling stressed, even unworthy, and unaccomplished. Whereas doing brings joy and a feeling of accomplishment.
Remember, you are a work in progress, so be gentle as you transition and upcycle your mindset into the new you of TO DO. What once was hard does becomes easier.
I am Narelle Painter, creator of Healing with Solutions. I help guide you to upcycle your mindset by clearing your misperceptions and deep unresolved beliefs (DUB). I practice energy healing to implement positive change into your life. This helps you achieve your goals without fear, stress, or anxiety.
To find out more or book an appointment, contact Narelle via mobile 0444 512 890 or head to my website www.healingwithsolutions.com.au.
You can also connect with me on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn by searching for Healing with Solutions.