If You Can Do It Today, Don’t Plan to Start Tomorrow!

Lessons from a life coach on procrastination

No truer words! Sadly, many of us are often twisted and tied down to that word…procrastination!

When I was in medical school, I remember my roommate taught me a Yoruba phrase that also happened to be the title of one of Fela Anikulakpo-Kuti‘s hit songs! If I remember correctly, the title was in Yoruba, and it went like this: “Oun t’awa she n’iyara, ejeka bere”, meaning, “let’s start what we have come into the room to do”

While Fela probably didn’t mean it in the sense of avoiding procrastination, I believe he meant for us, as his listeners to not waste time in getting what needs to be done, done. In essence, STOP procrastinating! If you need to do something today, start today, not tomorrow.

How many times have you had stuff that needs to be done and are not doing it? How many times have you found yourself at your desk, tapping your fingers and daydreaming? Or ruminating on thoughts about your “to-do” list, or simply scrolling through social media for the third time in 20 minutes?

What is the impact of putting things off in your life? When was the last time you stopped and took stock of that?

Procrastination is defined by Merriam-Webster online dictionary thus: to put off intentionally and habitually something that has to be done. Meaning, you are aware of it, and you also know the full implication of not doing it, yet, you consciously choose not to do it.

Sometimes, repeated intentionality leads to habituality.

You procrastinate because factors such as anxiety or fear of failure outweigh your motivation and self-control.” ~ Solving Procrastination

Since signing up to become a licensed life coach, I have slowly started noticing my habits. Things I did once upon a time, that I continue to do, that have now become my way of doing. Some of them, better, (getting at least 7-hours of sleep daily), some not so much (putting off marketing my books, or finishing my 4th book).

After deep soul-searching and major self-coaching, I realized that the main reason I procrastinate is self-doubt, aka lack of self-belief, or simply put…FEAR! Fear of judgment, fear of failure, fear of negative feedback, all kinds of fear!

Case-in-point: For the past 2 years, I have been toying with the idea of shooting a documentary. It will be loosely based on my second book A Teen’s Life (available on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles online). Everyone I have told my idea thinks it’s great. And I also believe it is…

I initially had a hard time finding a movie or documentary director. Then in the past few weeks, I found one who also writes. I shared my dream with him, and he LOVES IT! In fact, he believes so much in my idea that he has already started doing background research and treatment with my book as a guide.

Now, all of a sudden, I am not so sure anymore. I started giving him excuses like; “I am really busy right now”, “My plate is quite full at the moment”, “I don’t think I can take any more on my calendar”, “I have school”, “Can we hold off until I graduate?”, “I might not find subjects to share their stories”, etc. The list goes on.

I know deep inside that it can be done. I must admit that I thought it would take a longer time than he has suggested. Somehow, once I realized it might become a reality sooner than later, I freaked out. And am still freaking out. I now understand what the Bible story about Jesus, Peter and walking on water means (Matthew 14:22–36).

Even though the documentary is my dream, and has been so for nearly 2 years now, I must admit that I have little faith, and so I am doubting. I am afraid, afraid of the unknown. Afraid that I might succeed. Afraid that I might fail. Afraid. It’s a new venture for me. Nothing of its kind has ever been done before. I have no experience. I have nothing but my dream.

So, I want to procrastinate. I want to hold off until tomorrow, that which I can start today.

“What has this got to do with anything Dr. Lulu?” You ask. Well, since I started life coaching, I have realized that many of my clients, if not all of them also struggle with self-doubt. The lack of self-belief is very strong. I never knew how much of that is freely floating around.

It is so bad that when asked how committed they are to accomplishing their goals, most of them helplessly give me a number like 7–8/10. And when asked what would make it a full 10, they shake their heads and shrug their shoulders and look at me helplessly. And I see it clearly in their eyes, doubt. Self-doubt. Self-doubt and unbelief.

And so they procrastinate. They put off working on their goals. They procrastinate. They think they can’t achieve their goals.

I recently had a client who when asked, responded with “Because I am known to not complete my tasks”. Another said “Because I am known to procrastinate”, and yet another simply said “Because I don’t believe that I can do it”

This article on Psychology Today explains the concept of procrastination and why people do it so well. It begins by stating “…understanding why you procrastinate is crucial if you want to figure out how to stop doing it”.

Reasons given in the article for procrastinating include but are not limited to Abstract Goals, Indecisiveness, Overwhelm, Perfectionism, Anxiety, Fear of Failure, Lack of Motivation, Laziness, Low Capacity for Self Control, Distractibility, Impulsivity.

As I read through each item on their list. I kept hoping to not see myself in them. Alas, I saw myself in nearly 80% of them. In a sense I feel good because that makes me “human”, but then I feel sad because, I need to do something about mine, soon!

What about you? How do you set your goals, and how do you ensure they are achieved? Are you able to achieve them on your own? Who holds you accountable? Do you also procrastinate? How badly do you, if you do? What, if anything are you doing about it? Do you need a coach?

Even as I struggle with mine, I still hold space for my clients. I help them prioritize themselves and what they want. Prioritize their goals, and work towards them. Work through the self-doubt. Work through their unbelief. Work through the reasons they procrastinate. Ironically, I sometimes believe in them more than they do.

The good news is, the article also delves into what can be done about procrastination. It has a laundry list of action steps that essentially begins with self-awareness.

I shall continue to work on my procrastination. I know what I have to do. The question is; will I do it? Hmmm, only time will tell. And as for Fela, well, I plan on making him proud.

Dr. Lulu

Mindset and Motivational Life Coach For Physician Moms

“Remember your Mantra…”

art business close up decor

Dear Blog,

Hi, welcome back! Thanks for stopping by once again. How have you been? Me? Oh, I have been doing kinda fine… Why? you wonder, well, it’s because I kinda did the bravest thing I have pretty much done in a looooong time. Two days ago, I turned in my resignation at my place of work. Yes, I thought long and hard about it before I did it, and I did it.

 

Did you read my welcome blog? If you did, then you know that I am on a quest to re-brand myself in this 49th space, as I usher in my 50th anniversary. No, quitting was not really on the menu, at least not like this, not this early, but, one thing I am learning, is when you fall in the river, you either quickly learn to swim…or you sink.

 

I have worked with my current employer for about 2 years now. Basically since I left the U.S Air Force in 2016. I am one of the top producers in my clinic, if not the top producer. I have given them my very best, and then some… Have I also asked for favors? yes, indeed, I have. I told them I needed time to go to school, during my intake interview, they obliged. I switched from four 10 hour days to five 8 hour days, with no resistance. I work from 10 a.m to 7 p.m daily to allow me study in the mornings, which has been a blessing. But I have also given ALL of me to them. I see my patients sans drama, I see more patients sans drama. My patients and I have a wonderful relationship. I will surely miss them, but… this call is greater than the sum of them and I. I know I bring a splash of “rainbow goodness” daily to work. I carry my unique African pride around the office with me, and my #blackgurlmagic?… oh yea! that’s a given! All this is because, I absolutely LOVE what I do. So, it’s not work, it’s my life.

However, there comes a time when one has to grow up and grow out. I believe that time has come. So, in the spirit of transparency and full disclosure, I informed my superiors  of my plans to pursue my dreams of entrepreneurship. I simply need more time on the weekdays to do so. I asked to work part time. A request which they denied. So, I did the only other thing one should do when they have vision, while those around them only have sight, I quit.

To my surprise, the elation did not last too long, when my arch nemeses, “Self Doubt” and its best friend, “Fear” came-a-calling. I started experiencing palpitations and other expressions of my autonomic nervous system, to the point that I believe I had a partial panic attack last night. I heard them in my head “What have you done, girl? Are you for real?  You done lost your mind, Chile? What about your bills? Don’t you have a son going off to college next month? Blah, blah, blah…” I even had a terrible headache from no where. I craved carbs like mad, and unfortunately, I let my cravings win, and ate half a container of gummy bears, some pop corn and a spicy chicken patty before I could stop myself (yea, I know my Beloved is going to read that last line, shake her head, and roll her eyes. Pero, es verdad).

I went to bed early, and woke up around 2am with tachycardia and warm sweat. I said a prayer to Jesus, and luckily, I was able to fall back to sleep. Woke up early, and started my morning Yoga Retreat exercises (by Beach Body) When my Beloved came out to leave for work, I was just finishing up. I told her about my panic episode, and asked her if she thought I had made a mistake. She calmly took a deep breath, looked me in the eye and said “No you didn’t”. “Remember your Mantra, she chided, If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough…” “Think about all those people who are routing for you, but most of all, focus on all those doctors, and teens who are waiting for your help, all those whose lives you will touch, who will benefit from your business(es), and stick with your plan. It is very normal for you to feel this way”.

I shed easy tears after she left for work. I was so touched by her words. I said a quiet thank you as the door closed behind her, and folded up my mat. And right then it became crystal clear to me that I had made the right decision, no matter what “Self Doubt” and “Fear” have to say about it. I also remember now, that about this time 2 years ago, I felt similar emotions when I decided not to renew my contract with the Air Force, but look how far I have come since then. I shall therefore, go forth with my Vision in one hand, and my Faith in the other. I figure Self Doubt and Fear, are no match for Vision and Faith. “No Retreat, No Regret…”

In closing, I will say a big thank you, to you again for stopping by. An even bigger thank you to God for making us possible, I did tell you, this, is about our relationship, didn’t I? I thank Him for making dreams. For creating bravado (of huge proportions) and giving me a slice of it. For beautiful supportive spouses. For Faith, Vision and  for Love, the greatest gift there ever was.

img_1945Until we meet again, I will echo M.J, in saying, “you keep dreaming…”

Peace Still.

BB

“Little girls with dreams become women with vision.”  Anonymous

 

PS: My website dedicated to fighting teen depression and teen suicide, teenalive.com is LIVE, click the link to check it out!