As a military spouse and a mom of four active kids and an entrepreneur that works with other busy military spouses, there are plenty of non-urgent tasks that don’t make my to do list but still need to get done. I recently spent a whole hour talking to my life coach Amy about how to make myself do these dreaded tasks. For example, I am a creative person so sitting down to do a techy task is boring. I know I need to renew my passports but I don’t have an upcoming trip so it gets put in the later pile. But what if I need to go visit family in Sweden? Or a military spouse invites me to speak on a military base in Germany? Somehow my “someday” pile that isn’t due tomorrow must be taking a mental toll because I felt the need to get some coaching regarding why I put certain tasks off and how to motivate myself to do things that aren’t fun, but need to get done?
# 1 The Struggle Is Real
Because I work so hard with military spouse clients on finding their passion and following their bliss, I have a hard time doing things that I am not in the mood to do because I want to keep a high vibration and create flow in my life. But what helped me realize that there is going to be a small percentage of things I do each day that aren’t urgent, or fun, but the reward of checking them off the list allows me to have more energy to engage in activities that I do enjoy. When I talk to other military spouses they admit feeling the same way. There is so much that is already stressful about military life, so why lean into another stressful task by choice? But somehow knowing that we all struggle at times feels validating and you have my permission to make your baby steps small and your rewards huge because you are already a military spouse and that means that you are already doing quite enough in this world.
#2 It Isn’t That Bad
We all laugh at the #Adulting hashtag, but I often feel that way about certain things on my to do list. I just avoid things that I know I need to get done and they end up still weighing heavily on me, yet why I can’t take action? Other military spouse entrepreneurs have shared that they feel the same way, have you ever felt this way? One military spouse said she did her bills on Sunday nights and rewarded herself with Netflix. Another spouse told me that she listens to her favorite music while she cleans her bathroom, bedroom, etc. I think it’s reassuring to know that it’s only a small percentage of my schedule constitutes “dreaded” tasks and knowing there is an end in sight makes the list much more manageable. Try reminding yourself that the task you are putting off might only take a few minutes versus how big we have made it in our minds and this often helps me to just suck it up and get it done.
#3 Think of It Done
I used to hate paying bills but once I set my phone up with all the addresses and online banking, apps the process became less dreadful. Now when I need to set up some other system in my life or business I remind myself that the initial step is hard, but it may be something that indeed makes life easier, and thinking about the end product can make a dreaded task easier to do. I notice I put things off that have to do with “setting things up” even though the new structure would serve me. Now I try and think about my life with the task that I am putting off completed and imagining that sometimes motivates me to get started on the task. Once one project is done, you are often more motivated to go handle another with less of a pity party along the way. Has this ever happened to you? Leave a comment.
#4 Create Some Momentum
Getting started is the hardest part, but once you start checking tasks off your list, you start feeling pretty good, right? You might even be able to give yourself a bonus task to complete. I call this kind of productivity that follows a baby step the ”Dave Ramsey Way” because he talks about paying off your smallest credit card first and then tackling your whole debt. If you have a lot of non-urgent things you need to get done you might not know where to start but once you check one or two things off your list you will probably find that checking off four and five are easier. I often give military spouses “homework” from a coaching session to do some small task to move them forward and I often find clients either skip the homework or do way more than they set out to do and I blame their success on momentum. Try it out in your home and work this week. Not motivated to clean your whole house or set up all new business systems? Just start with the smallest task on that list and see what happens next. Share your military spouse success in the comments section!
#5 Lift Your Vibration
If you are feeling so stuck then you should just pat yourself on the back for being a military spouse and not push yourself that day. I feel like taking care of ourselves is more important than bullying ourselves to accomplish a non-urgent task. Hey, that is why its on the non-urgent list, right? If you look at your agenda and it says fill out some paperwork you have been putting off and you tried all the tips above and still feel at a stand still than take a break and come back to it when you are in the right mood, even better, do something that lifts your mood. Take a walk, watch a funny show, take a nap, dance around the house, do whatever makes your energy shift and then sit down and try again. One little bonus tip that falls under this category is doing a task specific mood lifter. Maybe that is watching a YouTube video, listening to a podcast, or reading a book on the task you are putting off. This way you are still procrastinating, but at least you are “procrastinating on purpose” and might learn something and spark motivation to dive into the task the next day.
Have any other tips for military spouses that are procrastinating? Share them in the comments below!