*Please note: this post is long (and deep:)).
To make the best out of it,
it is advisable to read it slowly,
when you have some relaxed time. Enjoy!
When we feel this inner opposition
Most of us know this scenario.
We planned to do something;
we even know precisely how to do it, and it is within our ability;
but when we are about to start doing it, we feel this resistance.
We make another coffee,
we gaze at the list,
and we take ‘just one look’ in our inbox.
But it is still very much there,
and we sense we’re on the verge of procrastinating.
This situation, with which I have a close acquaintance with, inspired me to invent
The idea behind it is that this resistance has different levels of intensity,
and if we learn to identify them, we could be better in coping with it (differently for each level).
The Procrastimeter is actually like a resistance-meter, which helps us identify the level/intensity of our resistance TODO.
We need to accompany it with THE ABCD plan – a way to go for each level.
It is a tool to be used till we master this sensitivity to ourselves at these moments; then it can be intuitively applied without giving it much attention.
It may come handy again when we start a new project or change life circumstances.
This frustrating resistance can ruin a whole day
It’s not much fun when we face this opposition within us, and it may manifest even when we planned to do something we sincerely want to do; not just when we deal with a “must” which we don’t like so much.
Sometimes this resistance is like an irritating feeling in our belly (maybe some anxiety or fear), sometimes it’s like a heavy rock that sits on us (perhaps some desperation and lack of faith), sometimes it’s a foggy-tiredness feeling that creates this wall around us (maybe some reluctance to face something).
Whatever it is, we find ourselves stuck, uninspired, and thrown far away from our initial intention. It can feel as if we became someone else and we can’t find the thread to the part in us that created this todo list just a few hours/days ago.
We try to deal with it.
Sometimes we succeed and realize that it was just a small barrier and (splendid!) we are moving forward, feeling great we overcame this temporary hindrance, and all is
peaches and cream.
But sometimes we find ourselves in a kind of a battle, moving like zombies, in circles,
around our list; getting sucked more and more into this resistance.
The most challenging thing in this situation is that we are neither doing what we planned nor doing anything else. Like being glued to an empty spot – we can’t touch the plan but can’t go away from it either.
Sometimes a whole day passes like this!
Nothing was done, but we also did not do any other task or anything enjoyable besides spinning around that list. We keep thinking that we can conquer this resistance, very soon now; and we genuinely want to.
So we do not consider changing our plans and goals for this time/day.
But the fact is that many times we simply can’t.
And we procrastinate.
It bares mentioning that I don’t believe that we should all the time “do and achieve and progress”; I am referring here to when we want to do something, we want to move
forward from A to Be – not because we are expected to, but because it is our will.
there is a solution and these days can turn out to be wonderful
Over the years, I became more sensitive to these moments/days and better at coping with them – though I am still learning.
I noticed that we don’t always meet the same level of resistance and therefore,
the way to deal with it should be according to its nature.
Since it is all about procrastination, which is the outcome of this internal opposition,
I called it The Procrastimeter; it helps us in measuring our resistance and has four levels. The ABCD Plan is its companion, a way to go for each level of resistance;
it has four different options to choose from after we have identified where we are at.
The four levels in the Procrastimeter and The ABCD backup plans
A – Almost (there) B – Buffering (around) C – Can’t (touch it) D – Daaa (down)
You can change the names of course – up to your imagination!
The important thing is that in those days -when we are on the verge of procrastinating (because we meet this “NO” inside) – we will be able to tell if we are at A, B, C or D;
then we can help ourselves and turn this day into a great one (even if different than planned).
Needless to say that sometimes when we start our day, we naturally do what we planned. Also, sometimes we procrastinate not because we are resisting, but because we don’t know how todo or for other reasons (which I will touch and suggest solutions to in this blog – promise!).
A - Almost (there)
This level represents a little resistance.
It is always a bit difficult to step out of our comfort zones, to reach new levels, to change.
Hence, some resistance is unavoidable for most of us in most cases;
some resistance is, in fact, a sign of growth. But it should be the right level of resistance – one which is possible to overcome quickly.
Plan A – is to go for our intended plan.
If we meet this little resistance, we should take a breath and leap.
We can take a moment to connect to our WHY – why we want to do what we planned.
Even if it is a tedious bureaucratic task, there is a “why” to it; for example, we want to take care of our affairs so we can be free to do fun stuff.
So at this level, we are to push through; and we should learn to be sensitive to know if it is a “low-weight barrier,” one that we are indeed able to push through.
B - Buffering (around) -
This level is a bit higher; I call it buffering because we are still close to being able to do what we aimed at, but we feel a bit stuck with our “starter,” like when a movie is buffering online.
It would probably be counterproductive if we keep “trying todo it” at this level;
B represents this moment when we would probably start the spiraling around and get sucked into procrastinating. But we shouldn’t go too far from our original plan either.
Plan B – Instead of trying to stay with the exact plan; at this level, we remain “within the area” of our original intent.
We can choose:
- To do something which will inspire us to go back to Plan A later – like reading or learn-ing something connected to it. For instance, in case we planned to write a blog-post, we can read about the subject, listen to a podcast about blogging and so forth.
- Or, we can turn to another task connected to the indented one – even if it was not our first priority, it might contribute to our progress; like writing a different content which we need for the blog although less critical at this stage.
In this way, we stay “in the zone” and feel empowered by doing something valuable.
Then, when done, we can re-check our procrastimeter and see if we can go back to Plan A, but even if we can’t we will still be content because we filled our time with something valuable to us; and we can “take another B” if it feels right.
C - Can't (touch it) -
This level is already a strong opposition.
As its name denotes, we can’t touch it. For some reason, we don’t have the energy and motivation and may even feel repulsed. We are not in an entirely negative mood (yet), but we feel frustrated – because we want to feel this motivation to move and todo.
Plan C: this is the time to take a step away from the area of our plan, but still creating a positive movement, maybe doing something to move our energy or something that will enable us to connect deeper to our wishes – like sports, dancing, a walk, meditating.
This plan is for us to turn this day into a positive one, to take care of ourselves; accepting the fact that we are not in the flow we wished for now, but we can come back to it, to a degree.
D - Daaa (down)
At this level, we are just feeling down.
It is merely one of those days where we can’t do anything. Not even something “healthy” like Plan C. But it is always a matter of context and if we are really at D so its plan can be considered as a supportive one as well.
Plan D: indulging, fully letting go of everything.
We can watch a movie, sleep, “waste time” in whatever way we want to;
BUT we do it with zero self-judgment.
We do give up in a way, but being self-aware. If we decided we are at level D and we are consciously choosing to run away, so we better try to enjoy it.
Because we chose it, we respect it and ourselves – no self-blaming or criticizing here;
this is the key to this plan.
It is excellent if we can decide upon the time-frame for it; for example that we are off till 16:00 and then we re-check our level; maybe we moved up to C, and we can go out for a walk?
But we can also just let go with no limit (for the day).
In my experience, if we fully allow ourselves whatever we want, in a self-loving way,
those days are rejuvenating us even if it seems that they are not;
and the next day we feel different.
Why it's essential to have the plans planned in advance
When we meet this resistance, we cannot think, so it’s best to be ready and to have a few options to choose from in advance.
I believe in writing down our plan for the day (only to support myself, not as a must-do);
if you usually don’t do it, I recommend you trying when you use the procrastimeter and the ABCD plan – at least at the beginning, till most of it becomes intuitive.
For example, if you plan A is writing two blog posts, you can put in plan B two other things that are good to do for the blog (other than writing) or a name of a podcast/book which
you wanted to explore.
For Plan C, we can have some ready-made options. It may seem unnecessary to do it in advance, but the moment this ‘NO’ rises, we may be frozen and blank.
For Plan D, it is usually not necessary since this is where we allow ourselves to let go completely.
My own experience with the procrastimeter
It’s funny that this idea came to me when I was already using it – before I could articulate it.
By following my intuition I was able to receive the gifts of this method, before it even had a name!
Since I am exploring and contemplating my procrastinating patterns for a long time, I became better at stopping the spiraling earlier than I used to in the past.
One day I met this resistance in me and couldn’t sit down to write content for this new blog, after I took this day off work, especially for this.
I identified I’m highly unmotivated and although it made no sense to quit my plan,
I decided to go swimming. I wanted to empower myself and not as a means to run away.
But I admit I was pretty frustrated with myself.
As I started swimming (Plan C ), so many great ideas came into my head – not just for content, but also for the online services I plan to offer (this plan can indeed take us up to A). Believe it or not, I had to go out of the pool and take notes as there were so many of them and I didn’t want to forget!
When I came back home, I was so fresh and relaxed that I sat down and wrote for a few hours.
So not only that using this tool enabled me to turn this “almost procrastinating day” into a great one where I finally got to my plan A; I believe it also led me into a much more successful outcome of this plan, because when I set down to write I was feeling very well and in the right flow.
To say it differently, because I respected myself and my feelings instead of fighting them in vein.
Few last words and Good Luck!
It takes time to learn how to use the Procrastimeter and the ABCD Plan.
It is important to remember that the objective is to get to know ourselves and our todo patterns – we all have different ways of coping with life, different needs, and tendencies.
We can find out what works for us, which supports our movement forward towards our dreams.
But we should respect this process and its pace;
it can be enjoyable if we choose to look at it as an adventure.
Efficiently using this tool demands practice, but if you take a moment to remember how horrible those days of resistance can turn out to be, you may be motivated to invest the
time needed to learn how to cope with them better.
A small detour but a worthy one –
Yes, these times when we’re not feeling well and are off track can be painful and irritating.
We may feel we must be vigilant and overcome our blocks because we don’t want to wait anymore to get to our desired place.
But when it feels too much, it may be wiser to listen to our current level of inspiration.
By using the Procrastimeter and the ABCD Plan we indeed take a small detour which looks like slowing us down a bit, but it is one that actually keeps us walking and many times even gets us to our destination sooner.
Being honest –
I noticed that it demands honesty and being self-forgiving.
In this highly achieving inclined world, the conventional conditioning is that “we can’t be lazy” and that “there is no time to waste”.
Hence, when we meet this resistance inside, we need to overcome the inner judge as well.
And on the other hand, we need to be sincere and leap if we recognize we are in fact at A – not giving up too quickly.
It is all about finding the balance and tuning in.
This post is long, and there is a lot to absorb, I recommend that you take a moment to
choose one thing you take with you and come back to it again later.
After using it for some time now, I can promise you it works!
Together, on all levels