We are often not happy with the progress we are making because we were too busy with other things. When we are not busy complaining, we are absorbed with reflecting on the past or worrying about the future.
“If I don’t get the presentation going now, I will totally embarrass myself .“ I picture tomatoes flying.
“Oh, gee, I really don’t want that to happen!“ I see myself being dragged off the stage.
“Okay, now I really have to make an amazing presentation. I can do it!“ The pressure builds up.
“Hm, how to start? Let’s look at some Ted talks“ Another half an hour later I am so humbled I need to get a coffee.
Does this sound familiar? One reason for procrastination is often the reluctance to deal with future events. Or maybe we didn’t perform well at a similar task in the past and don’t want to deal with the reminder. We want to do better. No, that is wrong. We want to do the best that is in us.
Do you see what I did there? I used the word do. In order to do something now that will make things alright in the future, you need to be focused on the now. Right now.
If you have difficulties calming down, here are a few exercises that work for me:
- When I am worried about a future event, like a presentation, I imagine myself at a time right after the event. Time will pass and I can take comfort in the fact that this moment will come.
- When I don’t think I am not able to do something new, I think about all the things I thought I couldn’t do but still managed to do in the past. Then I imagine how boring a life without challenges would be.
- To root myself in the now, I picture my favorite place, item or person and take five deep breaths.
- I do my version of meditation: I sit crossed-legged in an absolutely dark room (closet) and listen to tracks from Dawn of Midi’s Album Dysnomia. Believe me, trying to follow individual sounds in these tracks is the best method to get totally lost in the moment. Try to breathe slowly and focus on your position in the room. Think about the space above you and your position in the building. Focus on parts of your body, feel their weight, feel your breathing, until everything is calm… (if you are worried about the time, then set a timer – easiest when you listen to music on your cellphone. I try to do 20 minutes, but 10 minutes already do wonders.)
Every moment is our chance to define what we are tomorrow. Yet, there is no reason to be afraid.
So, whenever your catch yourself drifting off into the future or the past, while you should be producing something now, make the effort to get your focus back into the moment. Live in the moment! BTW, this is Quick Tip No 50!