Friday 18 January 2019

Gina London: 'A year of possibility if you take action without delay'

'Research shows that forgiving yourself for past procrastination is the first step toward getting back on track toward accomplishing tasks going forward.' Stock image
'Research shows that forgiving yourself for past procrastination is the first step toward getting back on track toward accomplishing tasks going forward.' Stock image

Gina London

Stop! Put down that Christmas shopping list and take two minutes to read this. Don't put it off until later. Do it now. That's the focus for this week's column, folks - overcoming procrastination.

Before we all get hit by the annual onslaught of 'New Year, New You' articles in January, I'm getting out in front with a notice that our own procrastination is what keeps these annual renewal reminders forthcoming.

If we all did what we set out to do, we wouldn't need them, would we?

What is it one thing that you wanted to do this year but you didn't get done?

Did you not get that new job? Did you not get that promotion? Did you not lose those 10 pounds or one stone or whatever it is that is your personal extra-puffy amount?

1 Forgive yourself: Stop beating yourself up for whatever you did not accomplish in 2018.

It's not easy. We tend to get caught up in a loop about how we envision ourselves and our abilities.

For instance, I was in Sweden this week working with a top company's leadership team. As each person described themselves, I was struck by one individual's very self-limiting description: "I don't think I'm very interesting, so I don't tell stories."

Wow. This was from a very senior person in the organisation who had a solid career and position and would be considered a success by any standard.

And yet, their own view of themselves is precisely what is holding them back in some ways.

Of course, I appreciated the honesty, because identifying this, helps us break it down and work through.

Now, I will be helping this person recall memories of accomplishments, travels and other experiences to demonstrate and catalogue how interesting and relatable their life truly has been.

The same thing is true for you. How do you describe yourself? "I'm a loser." "I never start things on time." "I can't do this." You can break free from these self-defeating thoughts.

Research shows that forgiving yourself for past procrastination is the first step toward getting back on track toward accomplishing tasks going forward.

2 Make a Daily Affirmation: At least once a day, preferably first thing in the morning, I want you to take 60 seconds - that's all - to affirm that you are a capable human being on this planet.

Simply state your first and last name, "My name is Gina London", for example. And then state one thing you are grateful for about yourself. "I am grateful that I can help people tell better stories about themselves." Then state one positive small thing that you are going to do today. Don't say you're going to lose 10 pounds today. Say that you're going to go to the gym. Then do it. See the difference?

3 Lessen the burden: Connecting a daily small step toward in accomplishing your overall goal with your daily self-affirmation will make a big difference over time.

Procrastination often sets in when we blow a task or goal up out of proportion. When we convince ourselves we are staring up at Mount Everest, the fear sets in and we may spend more energy avoiding than doing.

Stop focusing on the summit - like landing that job of your dreams - and instead focus on the one tiny thing you can do today.

Tweak that short profile paragraph on LinkedIn. Change one section of your CV. Write a new body of a cover letter. Then take an additionally tiny step tomorrow. And so on. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

4 Calendar your tiny steps: Research also shows that the average person can maintain solid focus for an hour, but not much longer than that without needing to take a break. So, instead of blocking out four hours to tackle a project - that you repeatedly skip, try to create a 30-minute window in the morning and another one in the afternoon that you safeguard religiously.

To help you from being distracted, make sure to stay away from email or social media or anything else during your designated block of work time.

Technology can kidnap our time.

For instance, just when I thought I was getting a handle on my social media outreach - consistently posting content on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, my young daughter Lulu marched in fresh from getting a phone for her 11th birthday (don't judge).

She informed me I'm nothing without Tik Tok. What the heck is that? I'll figure whether I want to get communicating on that platform after I accomplish my small goal for the day.

5 Get a buddy: It's not easy to go it alone - no matter what your task. Enlisting someone to help you or hold you accountable - in a positive way - can make a real difference.

For those of you wanting to really climb Mount Everest, you'll need a Sherpa. For me, who really needs to lose those 10 pounds I mentioned, I hired a personal trainer.

So, here's to the new you today - not tomorrow.

Sunday Indo Business

Also in Business