Start, Stop & Change: procrastination

It’s funny how much my perspective has changed. Since my obsession with Law of Attraction the way I look at so many things is different.

And one of those things is procrastination.

I chuckle a bit when I think about the fact that I used to actually give workshops on how to combat procrastination. I taught people, essentially, how to make themselves get things done.

I had books on my bookshelves about how to overcome, stop, cure, beat, and fix procrastination.

And over the years I’ve worked with so many clients who came to coaching, at least in part, because they wanted to stop procrastinating.

I was 100% on board with all the mainstream strategies like tackling your biggest or worst task first thing in the morning, breaking projects down into bite-size chunks, building in accountability, rewarding progress, etc., etc.

Well, these days you won’t find any of those books about procrastination on my bookshelves. They are long gone. I don’t do procrastination workshops. And you won’t find me encouraging my clients to project plan and push through. You won’t find me recommending any productivity techniques or encouraging anyone to master their time.

These days you will find me taking a decidedly Law of Attraction approach to procrastination.

“When you feel enthusiasm to do something it means you’ve lined up the Energy, and you are being inspired to take action from that point of alignment. When you don’t feel like doing it, don’t push yourself, because your effort is not worth it. But, when you line up with the Energy, the feeling of procrastination goes away.” —Abraham

Wow—that is night and day compared to my old approach and old belief system about procrastination.

Here’s what I think was happening before.

Think about a workshop that is going to help you combat procrastination. Combat. Fight against. I now know fighting against things is not the highest and best use of my energy. Fighting against things simply adds energy to them, creating momentum in the wrong direction.

The other thing about my old approach, it was all about overcoming something. About efforting my way through tasks that apparently I didn’t really want to do or I wouldn’t have been procrastinating in the first place. The old way was about trying to force myself to do something while the new way is action I’m inspired to take.

What an energy difference! And what a difference in my point of attraction.

Procrastination has such a bad connotation, right?

We think of procrastination as a bad habit, as self-sabotaging behavior. If you procrastinate, you must have a fear of failure or perhaps a fear of success. I’ve had clients tell me they procrastinate because they lack discipline and worry they are just lazy.

OK, so here’s what’s interesting about all that—which, I admit, is certainly the way I used to look at procrastination. But the actual definition of procrastination is simply: the action of delaying or postponing something.

To procrastinate does not inherently mean you’re doing something wrong or bad or negative or self-sabotaging. You are simply delaying or postponing something.

Abraham would say that’s a very good thing if you’re not in alignment.

“Alignment is leverage. That’s not lazy, that’s smart.” —Abraham

So it’s not smart to take a bunch of action when you’re forcing yourself to do it. Because remember what Abraham always says: “You cannot have a happy ending to an unhappy journey.”

So it’s very smart, indeed, when you recognize the power of postponing something when the energy isn’t lined up. Or knowing how to line up the energy so you can do pretty much anything from an aligned place.

“Procrastination is not a sign that you should have your wrist slapped and whip yourself into shape to perform an action. Often procrastination is just your emotional reading on energy as it is lined up, and your awareness at some level of the futility of action that is not going to take you toward your goal. Instead of calling it procrastination, call it sensitivity to the degree of the alignment of my energy and the wisdom in not trying to push forward and make action do something it’s not possibility capable of doing.” —Abraham

There’s a lot in there, so let’s unpack that.

First, I love Abraham saying procrastination is not a sign to beat yourself up. Because I hear many women confess how terrible they are because they often procrastinate. Abraham is fundamentally changing how we can choose to look at procrastination: Not as a flaw and failing, but as simply a sign.

So what’s it a sign of? Abraham says procrastination is simply an indicator of your energy, your emotional state, your alignment.

If you are procrastinating, it’s because some deeper wiser part of you knows the energy isn’t lined up. Knows the “futility of action that is not going to take you toward your goal.”

You might think by forcing yourself to stop procrastinating and taking action, you will make progress toward your goal. Well, I would ask you to think about what the ultimate goal really is? Is it getting the project done or is it feeling good?

I don’t mean it has to be one or the other, but taking action from a place of misalignment doesn’t feel good, prevents the Universe from conspiring with you, and ultimately isn’t as satisfying or fruitful as aligned action.

“You are action oriented to your detriment. And we’re not trying to talk you out of action. We’re just wanting to talk you into alignment first, and then inspired action.” —Abraham

I’ve done a 180 with regard to how I think about procrastination.

Let’s talk quickly about The Before. I used to procrastinate. I regularly felt bad about putting something off that I thought I should be doing. I definitely looked at my behavior as negative, self-sabotaging, and something I needed to change.

Well, I have changed it. And it’s not because I don’t procrastinate anymore. It’s because I don’t have any story around delaying or postponing action when I’m not in alignment. When action isn’t aligned for me, I don’t take it.

“Procrastination is the wisdom not to force anything you’re not vibrationally ready for.” —Abraham

I love that! So, I still procrastinate, but I see that behavior of postponing or putting off action as wisdom from my Inner Being not to force something I’m not vibrationally ready for.

A question I’m often asked is: But what about the stuff I have to do?

Well, I think we would all benefit from taking a fresh look and new approach to what’s actually on your list of must-dos. If that resonates, be sure to listen to episode #013: Your To Do list is getting in the way of the Universe.

Asking yourself why there’s so much on your To Do list that you are not in vibrational alignment with would be a good place to start.

The fact is many of us have constructed lives that are not about joy, but are about efficiency and elevating the value of getting things done at the expense of feeling good. Lives that are about trying to keep up with the Joneses and other definitions of success that don’t feel particularly good.

“Let your standard of success be your achievement of joy. For in the finding of joy, you are finding vibrational alignment with the resources of the Universe.” —Abraham

Now that certainly doesn’t have to be your definition of success, but I encourage you to think about what role joy and happiness have to do with your standard of success.

In other words, are you living in such a way that you experience emotions on the high end of the emotional scale on a very very very! regular basis? If not, is that something you want to change?

So, back to this question: What about those times when you really “have” to do something? I’m imagining you telling me, But, Jennifer, I have to do my taxes or tun in my expense reports. I have to clean out the attic or finish writing that proposal.

Again, if this were me, I’d really question the “have to” part of it first. But if it’s truly something you’re going to take action on, I would ask:

  • What’s the most fun way?
  • What’s the easiest way?
  • What’s the most loving way?

“The rule of thumb is, you never take action when there is negative emotion within you because it will always be counterproductive. Always talk to yourself until you feel better and then follow the inspired action that comes from that open valve.” —Abraham

Asking yourself what the fun, easy, loving way is will help you release some of your resistance and negative emotion around the task at hand.

I’m not trying to turn us all into people who never do anything, never get anything done.

Of course not! My hope, instead, is this: I want you to feel better more of the time.

You can do this by managing your mind and by making it a priority to feel good.

First, I want you to stop letting how you feel depend on circumstances, even your long To Do list. You can, indeed, run the errands from your happy place because it is your thoughts about those errands that determine how you feel, not the errands themselves.

The bottom line: Stop letting circumstances dictate how you feel. Bring awareness to the fact that it’s your thinking about those circumstances that are creating your feelings. That gives you an opportunity to think on purpose and find a better feeling place.

“If you don’t take the time to line up the energy, if you don’t find the feeling place of what you’re looking for, not enough action in the world will make any difference.” —Abraham

Second, I hope you stop doing so many things you’re not vibrationally aligned with. I hope you raise the bar and prioritize feeling good.

“If your dominant intent is to feel joy while you are doing the work, your triad of intentions—freedom, growth and joy—will come quickly and easily into alignment. See your “career” as one of creating a joyful life experience. You are not a creator of things or a regurgitator of what someone else has created or a gatherer of stuff. You are a creator, and the subject of your creation is your joyful life experience. That is your mission. That is your quest. That is why you are here.” —Money and the Law of Attraction

 Are you creating a joyful life experience?

What if you gave yourself permission to procrastinate until you felt vibrationally aligned with the truly inspired action?

That thought scares a lot of us. We fear it means we won’t ever do anything, won’t get things done, won’t reach our goals.

I think it means just the opposite. I think it means we will have found the pleasant, pleasing way to productivity. We will have discovered the joy of aligned, inspired action. And we will become hooked on what it’s like to feel good and follow impulses—all the while letting the Universe do the heavy lifting.

“If you’re not excited about it, it’s not the right path.” —Abraham

For many of us, our response to that is Yikes! Because we’re taking a whole lot of action in our lives that we are not excited it.

That’s a sign, my friends.

“When an impulse comes, don’t procrastinate it! When the impulse comes, it means it’s ripe for this moment! When the impulse comes, act on it! Write the note, make the phone call, go there, do that, whatever the impulse is, follow through with it with action, because that’s your guidance system saying, “Coast is clear! Go for it! Go find the pleasure of this moment that is all cued up for you, by you, and with us.” —Abraham

When you clean up your vibration, even a bit, you become more aware of these impulses. They get clearer and stronger.

And if you pay attention to them and follow them with your action, everything changes.

You start to have a very different relationship with procrastination. It’s your friend instead of your enemy. It’s something to pay attention to rather than overcome. It’s letting you know you’re not vibrationally ready yet.

“There is nothing lazy about creating your vibrational atmosphere. There is nothing lazy about hooking up with Source.” —Abraham