William James, one of the founders of modern psychology wrote: “Procrastination is attitude’s natural assassin. There’s nothing so fatiguing as an uncompleted task.”
Think of your business for a moment. How many ‘uncompleted tasks’ do you have? What about the marketing campaign you were going to start? Or the new employee you wanted to hire but didn’t have the ‘energy’ to train? All of these ‘uncompleted tasks’ can cause Business Attention Deficit Disorder. Tasks that are ‘a-voided’.
Sometimes NOT doing the task is more tiring than actually doing it. Why?
Because our conditioned mind continually reminds us what we haven’t done. Our conditioned mind doesn’t reward us for what we have done because, well, it’s done. Having our mind constantly remind us about tasks left undone is emotionally exhausting.
You don’t have tasks ‘un-done’? Try this:
How many times, have you ‘remembered’ a task deadline or a promise or an event, right in the middle of something totally unrelated to that task, promise or event?
That’s an ‘un-done’ or ‘uncompleted task’.
This morning I awakened early ‘remembering’ that I hadn’t left a cheque for a colleague, where I said I would. I had totally forgotten about the promise. But my conditioned mind remembered. And it reminded me, probably all night. Then my mind kicked back in, beating me up. “Why didn’t you put the cheque where you said you would? Why did you leave this task uncompleted? That’s typical of you, Marilyn, you say something and then forget.”
I was exhausted listening to my conditioned mind beat me up. So I said, “Thank you for sharing, pass and cancel.” I got up from my computer as I was writing this and took the envelope with the cheque and put it where I said I would put it.
Now, how hard was that? Not hard at all. So why did I procrastinate in putting the envelope where I said I would at the time I said I would?
At the time I was Skyping with my colleague. My conditioned mind was telling me, “keep talking and when you’re done then put the envelope where you said you would otherwise you’ll have to go and get the envelope from another part of the house, take to the furthest reaches of the house, go outside in the heat and place it. And then your colleague will wonder why you left the conversation.” “That’s too much, ” said my conditioned mind. “Do it later when it’s cooler,” it said.
And I listened.
Today, I understand that procrastination is a function of my conditioned mind. It doesn’t want me to do what’s hard; it wants me to do what’s easy. But I know if I do what’s easy, I’ll have the same results I have now.
I want better results. I want more. So I have resolved, for today, to look around and see what appears to be the ‘hardest’ thing I can do, and do it. That will stop my conditioned mind from beating me up for what I didn’t do and exhausting me.
Right now my hardest task is making fresh strawberry and fresh blueberry pies. At 9 am on a Sunday morning.
Hey, conditioned mind! Thanks for sharing but I’m not sharing with you! I’m going to be enjoying fresh pie later today and you can’t have any!!!
Be selfish. Talk back to your conditioned mind, either internally or out loud. Thank it for sharing, then pass and cancel what it says, and do it anyway.
Refuse to be exhausted by your uncompleted tasks and work to get them accomplished. Rejoice in the tasks and events and activities that you do complete!!!