Let's travel back in time together for a moment.
I'm seventeen years old.
I'm sitting on my Dad's office floor staring down at rows of notecards.
Curly hair askew.
Half a mug of tea set beside me on the floor.
I'm anxiously and exhaustedly poring over the facts of what will soon be a paper on Alexander the Great.
I've had it on my syllabus for months.
It's due tomorrow.
I started it 3 hours ago.
I'm about to cry I'm so stressed out.
Why did I do this to myself?
Why do we all do these things to ourselves?
Wait until the last minute?
Stress ourselves out?
For me, it usually comes down to any combination of four reasons:
1. I don't know what to do
2. I don't know how to do it
3. I don't want to do it
4. I don't have (or think I have) the money
In terms of that paper, I didn't want to do it and I didn't know how to do it.
It was long term avoidance at its best.
And then it was real painful.
Fast forward to present day.
I was working with one of my coaching clients a couple of months ago and we were talking about her goals.
She told me she desperately wanted to stop procrastinating.
I asked her what the opposite of procrastination was, figuring that the opposite must be the antidote.
She sat there for a moment, and I did too... "What IS the opposite of procrastination?
(Eventually, we googled it.)
It's being pro-active OR
DING! DING! DING!
That was it!
The solution to the problem.
For the next number of sessions, instead of working on her not procrastinating, we focused on anticipating all areas of her life where she normally procrastinated and worked on her getting them done ahead of time.
It changed everything.
Now let's apply this concept to your life.
Just sit with the idea of anticipating your week for moment.
What can you anticipate?
Needing a specific outfit for work?
Do you need to do that laundry right NOW or put something by the front door to take to the dry cleaners right NOW?
Is it anyone's birthday?
Do you need to get them a card? A gift? Can you look something up on Amazon right NOW?
What is your plan for this weekend?
Grocery shopping? Can you look up recipes right NOW? Going out to dinner? Do you need to make reservations right NOW? Put a reminder in your phone right NOW?
What about when it comes to time?
Can you anticipate traffic? Yes you can. And you can give yourself a buffer of time to anticipate anything else that might come up. Can you be realistic about how long things will take? How can you schedule your life so that you feel good instead of rushed?
These are high level examples.
Take them and apply them and you'll find they really work.
Now some of you may already be saying, "I'm a planner. I do this already."
YAY! Go you! Great work!
Many people are not planners.
Learning to anticipate is a HUGE skill that can help you PLAN your week.
Anticipation precedes the planning.
You planners do this instinctively.
The rest of us are caught reacting.
So here's the high level again!
That's the last step and the best part of anticipating!
When you're not constantly behind the eight ball, you have time to chill out.
You're not anxious because you know what's coming (at least what's within your control).
You're ready for it.
You don't have to be in that fight or flight state.
Now if you're procrastinating on something you don't want to do - if it's something that's particularly emotionally laden - or if it's something you don't know how to do - or if it's something you don't have the money for - those are a different story.
We'll go over more about anticipating - specifically those issue areas - in Part Two next week.
In the meantime, try anticipating your life this week and tell me how it goes for you!