I don’t know about you, but for many years I’ve struggled with being a huge procrastinator. It all started in middle school when I realized that I have an astounding memory. I was able to learn and remember things so quickly that I was able to get away with doing things at the last minute. The downwards spiral continued through out high school and got even worse in college. Post secondary school was a huge slap in the face. I realized how unprepared I was for exams and life’s tests. Now that I am grown and I am trying to do better and grow into a profound business woman I’m learning that these bad habits are only going to slow me down if I hold on to them.
Figuring out how to rid myself of procrastination has been a long process of trial and error, and error, and error. Since I had been doing it so long it was pretty much second nature for me to push things to the very last minute. The lightbulb moment when I recognized my battle was:
One day I came across an opportunity online to organize a program that would empower black youth in my community. It sounded like a great opportunity, so I said to myself ” Why not go for it, you never know when an opportunity like this will pop up again. I’m not prepared YET, but I can get prepared”. I sent my pitch to the organizer of the opportunity and he loved it! Then he proceed to ask me for a curriculum of the program I planned to conduct. Curriculum…. I ain’t got no curriculum, YET, I thought. Due to the fact that I saw so many other people reaching out to him about the opportunity, I let him know that he would have a curriculum in his inbox by the next morning. Now, I started to sweat a bit but I remembered that I had someone to lean on: my mentor Pauleanna Reid. She’s so bomb, I asked her for help and she came clutch with an example of a curriculum from her portfolio. In less than 24hrs I sent the man my curriculum, and he was so impressed that he sent it forward to the director of the program, and the rest is history. Now I have a curriculum that I can use and alter for many different projects that I will be apart of in the future. What I learned from this experience is: If I can drill it such quality work in 24hrs, imagine what I could do if I really put time into my work? The potential is limitless.
Now that I understand my abilities it would be insane for me to continue to procrastinate. This year my first goal is to become more productive, and conscious of how I use my time. So far, through this process it has been brought to my attention by my dear friend Yogini Ma’at, that a bad habit is just a form of routine. In order to get rid of bad routines, I need to create new positive routines in replacement.
My first step towards productivity was figuring out what triggered my bad habits, and stopping them. Once I avoided the trigger I ultimately was able to avoid the bad habit. My triggers look a little something like this:
- Scrolling on social media
- Trying to get work done in bed (lol why did I ever believe this was possible?)
- A messy desk
- My favourite songs
I replaced these triggers with productive actions:
- Do not open social media unless I’m posting, or engaging with my community first!
- Do no put your pajamas on before work is complete. This avoided being too comfortable and lethargic.
- A clean and organized desk provided me with more working space and less distractions.
- Exploring artists that I’ve heard about but haven’t necessarily listened to like, Anita Baker and Nat King Cole. This has been another great distraction killer.
The next and most important path to productivity is scheduling. I start by figuring out my yearly goal, then break it down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals. Personally, I’ve been finding much joy in using my Success Planner 2018 by Karlyn Percil-Mercieca. This planner helps me outline everything from my BOLD goals, down to how many glasses of water I need to be mindful of drinking. Stay tuned for more tips on Time Management and Scheduling coming soon. For now, start thinking about the negative patterns that trigger your bad habits. Then, figure out ways you can replace these triggers with productive action.
Until next time,