by Peter Luscombe

Are you aware that rushing toward a goal is a sublimated death wish? It’s no coincidence we call them ‘deadlines.’

Tom Robbins, ‘Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas’

The time-line is there. What has to be done is clear. You’ve done some, however, not enough. Time seems to have flown away over the hours, the days. Every time you look at what needs to be done a sour knot happens in your tummy. You know you’ve been here before; it’s a habit.

Stop! Mindful Pause, Stop!

Being mindful of yourself right in the moment is probably the best way to begin.

According to Russ Harris, author of ‘The Happiness Trap‘ here’s how it goes:

S – Slow down (slow down your breathing; or slowly press your feet into the floor; or slowly stretch your arms; or slowly press your fingertips together)

T – Take note (with a sense of curiosity, notice your thoughts & feelings; notice what you can see and hear and touch and taste and smell; notice where you are and what you are doing)

O – Open up (open up and make room for your thoughts & feelings, and allow them to freely flow through you; use any defusion or expansion skill you like)

P – Pursue values (reconnect with your values, and let them guide whatever you do next)

Douglas Adams makes humorous note about the panic which sets in for some when they face a deadline:

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

Making change

Unless you give yourself space to breath, then you have small chance to make change.

 emotion, mind

Image Source: Pixabay

  1. Identify the stressors

Is the deadline too tight or do you need to examine your ways and means of productivity?

What stands in your way of meeting this deadline?

These two questions alone can lead you down useful pathways. They may also help you review your habits.

Consider, for instance, what stands in the way of meeting the deadline. Could it be a matter of:

  • mechanics/logistics of communication/ resources
  • time management
  • organization
  • procrastination
  • over commitment
  • honesty
  • focus – discipline – distractions
  1. Step back and see the possibilities

Occasionally ask:

What is the connection between what I want most in life and anything I plan to do today?

Robert Brault

You need to be cognizant of where you are at and where you want to be at before any change of habit can occur. Yes, struggling with deadlines is a habit. Ben Zander, a renowned classical conductor and writer of – ‘The Art of Possibility’ – says:

A universe of possibility stretches beyond the world of measurement to include all worlds: infinite, generative, and abundant. In the measurement world you set a goal and strive for it. In the universe of possibilities, you set the context and let life unfold.

Ask: How are my thoughts and actions, in this moment, reflections of the measurement world? And how now?

In a wonderful Ted Talk, Zanders sits at a piano to make a point about ‘impulse.’ Such struck a chord with a previous post in this series  where Piers Steel, who is a researcher and speaker on the science of motivation and procrastination, is citated to say that at the heart of procrastination is impulsiveness. … impulsive people find it difficult to plan work ahead of time and even after they start, they are easily distracted. Procrastination inevitably follows.

In this ‘Ted Talk’ Zander makes many humorous references. One which stands out is mention of Shakespeare’s – ‘Hamlet.’ The gales of laughter from the audience recognize how Hamlet procrastinates. Hamlet diverts himself from his set-purpose and distracts himself through over examination instead of committing and taking action. He tortures himself. He’s paralyzed in a way. The same can be said for putting off meeting deadlines? A habit best addressed?