“Procrastination is second nature
And prone to exotic nomenclature
I think the more we put it off the more we
Are likely to end up in purgatory” -moe
The above are lyrics to a song by my favorite band, moe. I kept hearing the first line over and over in my head as I prepared to and began writing this post. ‘Procrastination is second nature.’ Over and over these words bounced around my head. Why?
Well, keeping up with a nursing blog is tough work. I aim to put out nursing career content at least three times a week. After several years of keeping up this Nursing from Within blog… OY! It can become difficult to think of new things to write about.
And what happens next? When I look at how many blog posts that is in one month’s time (Yes, I try to sit down one day and churn out a month’s worth of content… it doesn’t always work, but I try)- you can imagine how overwhelmed I feel.
This very month it was eight new posts staring me in the face. Since I now have the Your Next Shift podcast coming out once per week, that means two blog posts a week. So eight. It may sound small… but in the world of ‘what do I write about’ it is a very, very large number!
Any-whoo… why do I tell you all of this? Well, as I sat down at the start of September to create my nursing career enjoyment blog content, I realized I was stumped. I then opened a game of Solitaire to take my mind off of it. Yes, playing Vegas-style Solitaire is my procrastination. You see it open on my computer and you now know what I am up to= nothing!
Why does this happen? Well, when we feel overwhelmed by something we want to turn our attention to anything but the task at hand. When we don’t know how to do something and cannot seem to find the answer we avoid it. When we are stuck we distract ourselves with ‘busy’ work to avoid what we really need to get done. And how does this relate to our nursing careers?
Are you a nurse looking to make a career change? Do you want to move into a new role or go after a promotion? Maybe you’re a newly graduated nurse coach and you’d like to start up your own business. Whatever the case may be, if you’re a nurse in transition I can almost guarantee you are doing a bit of procrastinating yourself. And no judgement here- I’ve got my safe little game of cards still open on my screen. So what can we do about it?
- Get Away from It. The very BEST thing you can do for procrastination is get away from the thing you are avoiding. What are some ways that you can do this (besides Solitaire)? You can go outside for a walk. Moving the body can help clear the clutter in the mind. Kevin Ross talks about this over on the Innovative Nurse blog where he shares how going outside and getting some sunshine can kick us back into high gear. Even just changing rooms, standing up and stretching or getting out from the project walls can help. Take some space from the thing that has you stuck and you’ll be blown away by how much more you get done.
- Get Help. Now I know in the above text I talked about how sometimes we don’t even know what we need help on or who to ask. And that’s true and totally normal. Even if you’re not sure what you need help with and don’t know who to go to- just start talking. As you start to flesh out your experiences other people (especially other nurses who LOVE to help!) will chime in. They may offer some sound advice or guidance that you never even thought of. Or they will do something else really helpful for you- help you get clear on what you really want to do when you listen to the suggestions they come up with that you don’t want to embrace. (They mean well, but hey… it happens.)
- Get Small. No not shrink down to a teeny-tiny version of yourself. What I mean by this is take one step at a time. So in the above example, I told you about how I stared at the blank page with this enormous number of eight blog posts ahead of me. When I finally talked some sense into myself, I realized… take it one post at a time. Sure, I don’t have the content for all eight right up front. But if I take one action step in starting with just one, my creative juices will open up and the material will (hopefully) cascade out of me! As this post on NurseTogether talks about, it’s all about breaking things down. Give it a try with one baby sized action step at a time.
I’d love to hear what I missed. What would you add to the list above? How do you recommend taking one step forward to move yourself out of that stuck place of procrastination overwhelm? Share a comment below and thanks for reading!
About the Author: As a speaker, workshop facilitator, and Reiki Master, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Your Next Shift Workshop, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver.