A Procrastinator’s Guide to Becoming More Punctual

By some estimates, 20 percent of people consider themselves to be chronic procrastinators and many more put things off on occasion. If procrastination is getting in between you and your life goals, try these suggestions for getting things done with less delay.

Understanding Why You Procrastinate

  1. Spot perfectionism. Procrastination and perfectionism often go hand in hand. You may be setting your standards so high that they intimidate you from doing your best. Determine if you’re avoiding important tasks because you’re anxious about how well you’ll perform.
  2. Make up your mind. You might procrastinate because you find it challenging to make decisions. You keep developing more options and telling yourself that you’re doing background research rather than buckling down to more concrete work.
  3. Analyze your feelings about the last minute rush. Maybe you’ve become conditioned to the euphoria you feel when working under pressure. You may need to find more productive ways to motivate and reward yourself.

Changing Your Thinking

  1. Examine the consequences of immediate gratification. Impulse control often lies at the heart of chronic procrastination. Try asking yourself which activities will contribute more to your wellbeing over the long term. You may enjoy watching several episodes of your favorite TV show back to back when it’s more profitable to spend that time studying.
  2. Drop the dread. Worrying about a project can often be more unpleasant than just doing it. Try adopting a neutral state of mind when you start listing all the reasons why you put off a project, like doing your taxes. You may be pleasantly surprised at how effectively you can reduce the stress you place on yourself.
  3. Hold yourself accountable. Take charge of your life by acknowledging your own abilities and making a commitment to give your best efforts to the things you care about. For example, get started today on your resolution to exercise daily rather than waiting until some hypothetical time when you’ll feel more energetic.

Developing New Habits

  1. Schedule your time realistically. Take an inventory of how you currently use your time. Calculate how long it really takes you to complete your typical errands compared to the overly optimistic scenarios that keep putting you behind schedule.
  1.  Minimize distractions. If checking emails and surfing the web are eating up your time, put those distractions out of reach temporarily. See how much more you can accomplish when you focus only on the task at hand.
  2. Manage interruptions. Some interruptions are inevitable. Remain flexible so you can get back to work quickly rather than letting a five minute phone call turn into a wasted afternoon.
  3. Break tasks down into manageable chunks. Set intermediate deadlines for yourself. If your final proposal is due in a month, allot time for each section, editing, and proofreading.
  4.  Practice with small endeavors. You can turn almost anything into an opportunity to reinforce your new habits. Wipe down the kitchen counters immediately instead of saving up all of your cleaning for the weekend.
  5. Reward your progress. You might procrastinate because it allows you to spend time on things you enjoy more than the things you’re trying to avoid. When you do your grocery shopping before work rather than sleeping for another hour, pay yourself back by serving up your favorite dish for dinner.
  6. Expect setbacks. You’re likely to experience some backsliding. Look for the temptations that pull you off course and develop strategies to overcome them. If you feel lethargic after dinner, schedule your toughest work early in the morning when you’re more alert.

Overcoming a tendency to procrastinate will help you accomplish more and feel better about yourself. By devoting your energies to meaningful activities rather than trying to avoid them, you’ll enjoy more peace of mind and a richer life.

How to Help Children Deal with Stress

Stress is a huge part of life but not the part that runs it! How we deal with stress is the key. As a parent, mentor, or grandparent (whatever your role may be) makes sure to convey how you deal with stress as being the key ingredient.

It is abnormal to see children today – just relaxing. People are constantly putting expectations and demands on children. Chronic stress in children is increasing – enough to concern health care individuals.

Listen to a child to make sure you notice what is going on with them. Make sure they are not overly stressed. Signs are: whining, isolation, acting out, lack of patience, stubbornness, lack of focus, headaches, stomach aches, lethargy, and more. Pay attention to these signs to see they are from stress or if they are simply a case of misbehaving.

Teach children to know the difference from relaxation and stress. Explain how stress makes a person feel – stiff like a piece of wood or when they are relaxed they may feel like a wet noodle. Help them visualize what relaxing and becoming stressed looks like. Help them practice relaxing. This way they can notice when they are becoming stressed and take action to stop the feelings associated.

Remain calm and be available as a care giver. Let them know they CAN come to you to talk about anything at all. Spend time alone with them to ensure they are comfortable. Be patient with the child. Step by step is the motto – they are learning.

Most importantly – HAVE FUN together! There is a lot that can happen while laughing – healing and basically turning back stress and years from your life. Play games, watch silly movies, exchange silly jokes! You will both be glad you did.

It is so important to remember that stress happens to everyone and how you deal with it is what will show on your face. If you become a wonderful wielder of stress – you should think of yourself as a champion – teach a child this skill and you will be investing hugely in them!

How to Live Anxiety Free

Anxiety freeAnxiety is something that can truly take over your entire life. Ultimately sickness can occur if we let stress and anxiety rule our lives. But no need to fret for there are natural ways to combat the feelings of stress and anxiety and below I share some with you.

Controlling Stress and Anxiety

First you need to understand what is controlling you that may be causing the stress and/or anxiety – what are the triggers? Can you control it or is it something you need to manage instead. You can overcome some stressors just by simply managing them. If you don’t like where you live or the kind of job you have – you can take steps to improve what you have or work to change the location or job. Taking control via steps of action is key.

Changing Your Health

One sure way you can change your situation is by changing your health. Some people do not think of it this way – but you can be in control of your health by taking control of your diet and exercise.

By categorizing and organizing your anxiety and stress – you can learn to manage and control this aspect of your life.

Here are some tips that may help:

Organize anxieties - Write down who or what triggers your anxiety. Write down ways that you can feel better when the anxiety first starts. You can have a plan of attack so-to-speak. Being prepared will help you mentally defend yourself.

Breathe well – Rapid breathing can enhance a  panic attack and hyper ventilate. Make sure you remember to breathe deeply and slowly to calm and relax yourself when you feel a stressful moment coming on.

Visualize a calm place – Take yourself to a happy place – a place that makes you relax… keeping in touch with what makes you happy and relaxed really helps this process. Imagine being in an ideal situation. Visualize yourself letting go of the stress and calming down.

Encourage yourself – Repeat a powerful and encouraging statement to yourself. Saying, “I am worthy of a new and fulfilling job, one where I am treated with respect and not abused”. This kind of statement can be very powerful to use when you are stressing out from work and anxiety seems to be ready to take over. You can create a statement for any situation. Reassuring yourself of positive things is very powerful for your mind and makes your mind very strong.

Grow healthy – Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly will help you in finding your happy place.  A strong mind couples with a strong body. If you abuse your body by eating unhealthy, processed foods and drinking lots of alcohol/taking drugs – your body and mind will spiral downward.

Backup – Have someone to talk to that can support your efforts and encourage you. Letting friends and family help is a great and it will help strengthen your mind as well. Professional help is also available and there’s nothing wrong with using a professional counselor to help you.

Remember to take great care of yourself – you are the best and only person to do this. Taking care of your body and mind is always the best thing for you.

Avoiding Overwhelm

avoid overwhelmAvoiding the feelings of overwhelm is something that is not only necessary for our health but to our mental state of mind as well.  When we actively and consciously avoid those feelings we can ultimately avoid the burn-out feeling.  We all know what that feels like, exhaustion both mental and physical, short temper, sad, anxiety and sometimes depression.  Before we experience these feelings let’s look at some ways that we can avoid them all together.

  • If you sense the feelings of stress or anxiety coming on it is important to analyze what you do on a daily basis.  All too often we get up and go and don’t take time to truly focus and determine if we are doing too much.  Consider taking out a pad of paper and writing every detail of our day on this pad.  You will be truly amazed at what you do on a daily basis! If removing some items from your long list are impossible, then consider stretching out the tasks throughout the week.  Do you truly have to wash several loads, cook dinner, clean the floors, take your child to baseball all in the same day? Break down your tasks and you will automatically feel the sense of relief.
  • We as women, tend to believe that we can do everything on our own, which of course will lead to burnout.  It is perfectly acceptable to ask for help.  If you are married, ask your spouse to help with the daily activities.  If you have children, teach them tasks that will help you throughout the day and week.  Remember they are never too young to participate in family activities and that includes chores.  Ask a friend to help or simply be there to vent. Yes, it’s okay to vent!  Keeping all those feelings of overwhelm inside is not healthy.
  • Learn to incorporate breaks into your busy day.  It is important to take breaks to refresh your mind, and get the second wind which is needed to continue.  Take a nap or to rejuvenate yourself, consider going outside to inhale the fresh air.  Take a 10 to 15 minute walk and feel totally renewed.  It is important to simply step away from whatever situation or activity is causing you stress at the moment.  Once you take the necessary break, you will beat the burnout stage before it occurs.
  • Ultimately no one knows your body better than you!  Don’t ignore the signals that surface when your body or mind is feeling overwhelmed.  Headaches,  for example are not normal and are signals that your body gives you to signify that something is wrong and many times it’s because we have taken on too much.  Be careful and listen to your body.  Just as the oil light goes off in your car as a sign that it’s time for a maintenance check, your body will give you signals too.  Be aware of them and you will ward off the burnout stage and enjoy life to the fullest.

These are just a few tips that will help you stop the feeling of burnout in its tracks.  Begin implementing some of these tips today and you will enjoy getting up each day to a brand new day full of greatness.