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The Mindful Entrepreneur

The Putting Off Loop

Categories: Fears & Anxieties - Organisation - Productivity

All of us put things off. I certainly do it. Maybe it’s a bill, maybe it’s a report I need to complete or maybe it’s just contacting someone about something you said you’d do last Tuesday. The thing is, once you’ve started putting something off (once you listen to the lizard voice), the more you put it off, the easier it becomes. You basically forge a habit of putting it off, and you end up in a program loop;

10 Print “Procrastinate”
20 for i=1 to 1000: next i
30 goto 10

But here’s the rub. The same as a computer uses up precious processing power by sitting in an endless loop, effectively doing nothing; If it’s on your mind, your mind is doing the same, and it’s affecting you mentally more than you probably realise. So, you have 2 options.

1. Let go of it completely. Drop it and never think of it again.
2. Deal with it

If you choose to avoid both of these options and procrastinate, then you continue wasting precious mental resources on a daily basis, whether you realise it or not. Every time that task enters your mind, you’re committing energy to it, you’re wasting time and you’re letting control slip away. Even when you’re not actively thinking about it, it’s still there, chipping away at you. So you need to make a decision, and the decision is this;

Is it important? Does it need to be done? or can it just be let go completely?

You can usually tell if something is important by how it makes you feel. If it fills you with dread, or anxiety, then you can probably be sure that it’s important. So, if it IS important, then do it. And do it now. If you can let it go without too much concern, likewise, do it now. Either way, make an active decision and accept it.

What if you Need More Information?

If you need more information before you can action a task, then make sure that you really do, and that it’s not just an excuse which you keep telling yourself.

If you decide that you really, really do. Then make the active decision to look at the task again in 3 days, or 7 days, and review whether you have the information by then or not. Either way CTRL-BREAK out of the loop and get it out of your mind until you can action it.

What is important, is that as soon as you can action it, you should action it. Thereby avoiding an unnecessary loop altogether.

Only fear stands in your way. Conquer it before it becomes a nightmare.

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About the author: I’m the Founder of Own the Web (aka. Mindful Marketeer), & I’m passionate about helping good causes, local & small businesses grow by bringing clarity to situations. I do this through my work at Own the Web, whilst practising mindfulness & blogging about it here. Other quick facts also include I’m a vegan, an individualist, equality champion & a mindful free thinker. Connect with me on Twitter or Peter Leigh on Google+.

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