The "Up Side" of Negativity and Procrastination

Finding compassion for the things you've left undone.

There it is again... that thing you've been avoiding. You know... that thing right over there. Just thinking about it fills you with anxiety.

Truth is, it's just a task you need to accomplish. An email to return, a bill to pay, a receipt to file. But there it is, undone.

And if you're like a lot of people, noticing its un-done-ness causes you to do a number on yourself.

"What's wrong with you?!" you say inside your head. "You still haven't gotten to that yet!?"

Perhaps you resort to name calling: "Grrr! You idiot!" (or worse).

Or maybe your inner dialog throws out a doozy like: "You're never going to succeed if you don't get this stuff done."

No matter what you say or how you say it, this kind of self-talk has horrible consequences on you and your business. You end up feeling guilt, frustration, dread, panic, depression, self-doubt, and self-loathing.

Believe me, I've been there.

And, ironically, it's all in the name of a task that needs to be done. Sheesh.

The gift of negative self-talk

The good news is that this habit has a positive intention: it wants you to take action. (And this is probably the result you want, too!)

My mentor and friend, Mark Silver (, says that the only way to get the toothpaste out of the tube is to squeeze.

And chastising is just one way to pressure yourself into taking action. While it's usually effective, the long-term consequences might make you desire some gentler alternatives.

Imagine for a moment a healthy squeeze: a way to create motivation that involves talking to yourself in a supportive way.

Things to Try

Here are three steps that can get the job done - while sparing you the stresses of negative self-talk:


When the time comes that you notice a task undone, simply observe it as a neutral fact. "Oh, looky here - it's past the time to invoice my clients!"

If you notice negative thoughts coming up as you do this, gently tell your brain that you appreciate its concern and that you've got it covered. This shuts down the reptilian fight-or-flight response and allows you to get centered.

Remember, it's just a task that needs to be completed. Its completeness isn't "good", "bad", or otherwise. Just neutral.

Identify your need:

Ask yourself: What do I need in order to complete this task?

Do you need some quiet, uninterrupted time? Maybe you need a day to think on it. Or a chance to consult your calendar. Perhaps you need some assistance or connection with a person you trust.

If you listen intently, you will get an answer from within that give you clarity about your need.

Fulfilling this need will help and support you in completing the task.

Write it down:

A couple of my clients are devoted Franklin Covey fans - this planner system not only organizes your calendar but also allows you to write a daily task list. (I'm a big fan of the task list and its friend, the checkmark.)

No matter what system of organizing you use, when you get clear about the need you have, write it down.

To clarify: Write the need down in a place that you will find it so that it can be completed.

The benefit of writing it down, especially in your calendar, is that you give yourself a reminder, a gentle nudge, to fulfill the need and complete the step.

Doing this will actually create the encouragement and support you need - and break the cycle of self-criticism.

Bonus gifts

By eliminating negativity, you create a more supportive workspace and make yourself more emotionally available to your clients.

Imagine how your business and your creativity can flourish in this environment!

Author's Bio: 

If your business is growing, but you can't seem to get your office under control, help is here.

At Inspired Home Office, home-based entrepreneurs create a work environment that supports them both logically and aesthetically. Your office can work for you - not the other way around.

Jennifer Hofmann brings years of experience in making collosal organizing and decorating mistakes (and learning) to benefit her clients - presented with a healthy dose of humility and humor.

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