For this How-to Tuesday we are going to focus on how to STOP THE EXCUSES. Its only about 10 am and I already felt the detrimental effects of what making excuses and procrastination does to my mood, so I found this topic fitting.
A tiny but relevant example: I had to pee really bad this morning when I woke up. But my significant other was beside me looking all cute, my dog was at the end of the bed peacefully chewing on a toy, and my cats were OUT of the room and not sitting on my head (per their usual behavior). I knew the moment I moved, everything and everyone would wake up and life would have to start. Plus, I was really warm. So I laid there. But then I REALLY had to pee, dangit, and everything I feared happened anyway. All of a sudden the cats jumped on the bed, which irritated my dog – who proceeded to bark at them (waking my significant other up), and then jump on me to give me morning kisses with his wet, slobbery tongue. Right on top of my extremely full bladder. Normally this would make me smile as I love my family – but like I said, I really had to pee. So it annoyed me instead. Grr, now I just wanted to go back to bed… But I couldn’t even do that, cause I still had to pee. I felt my annoyance level increase more. Starting your day off that way sucks.
I know ya’ll have been there. The very clear point I am making here is that excuses lead to crap results or no result at all. I would have been way more chipper and ready to start my day and get the MORE important things done if I didn’t make the excuse not to pee in the first place.
Its been a week or so since I have started my minimalist journey, and although I should be further than I am now, I am proud of my progress. Yesterday I promised myself that today I would do every load of laundry and sort the clothes into piles to keep, donate, or trash. But since I woke up in a blah mood, I decided to write this blog instead (Yes, I know it is still productive but it’s still an excuse in disguise on why I’m not doing what I should be).
After this, I swear I’m going to do it because I am going to follow my own How-to advice on how to STOP THE EXCUSES! It’s worked for me before, and it’s going to keep working for me. Read on.
1. Decide what you are going to do.
Did you make a promise to yourself or a goal you wanted to reach today? If you’re like me then you probably have a million things on your to-do list. Oftentimes I find myself falling into the same trap. “Ah hell, I have a million things to do and won’t get them done anyway… another episode of Criminal Minds on Netflix won’t hurt.” Yes it will. Pretty soon a whole day will go by and you will have accomplished nothing but hours in front of the screen gushing over Derek Morgan and Spencer Reid. So pick one or two of your main goals and write them down.
2. Seriously, write them down
It may sound funny, but it works for me. Just try it, at least until you learn to keep promises to yourself. Write your goal on a blank piece of computer paper with large black letters and then pin it to your living room wall, or kitchen, or wherever you spend the most time. You can’t rip that paper up or burn it until the task is done. There’s been times when I had 5 pieces of paper on my wall from a week where I just hid in my computer room and then had to add another piece the next day – until walking by the hideous signs gave me enough motivation to do the task so I could take them down. Maybe I should have written a “Wake up and pee” sign for this morning, ha ha.
3. Recognize the excuses and thought-stop them!
This is the most important – so listen up. It’s easy to let excuses run your day and stop you from being productive and happy. Catch yourself mid-excuse and then force yourself to stop the thought. It’s hard, but practice it. If you want to do the dishes but then start to make the excuse that “oh I’ll wait until after dinner,” cut yourself off at “oh I’ll wait.” Because that’s what matters, the fact that you’re trying to make it OK to wait. Realize that your mind and laziness center of your brain (of course it exists) are trying to sabotage your productive efforts. Beat them down and show them you’re boss.
4. Just do it.
Now. Go do what you need to do (Of course, after liking this post or commenting with your goal or tips). X out of this screen and go do it. It’s amazing how much relief can come from completing something you set your mind to. I want the same thing, and I want the hideous “DO LAUNDRY” sign off my wall – so I’ll catch ya’ll on the flip-side!