During the mandatory slowdown, you may have high hopes for personal productivity. Get fit, declutter closets, finish an online course, and check off other to-do items. Instead, your motivation is stalled. Now you’re worried you’ll be shouldering the added burden of regret if you don’t get moving on some of your personal projects before returning to work and your social life.
As a Professional Life & Divorce Coach, I’ve seen how this predicament affects people. Why does this happen, and how can you find a way to break out of it?
The “4 Ps” Formula is a favorite tool I use to help clients understand what might be going on and find ways to move forward. The 4 Ps are perfectionism, procrastination, paralysis, and puttering.
You have impossibly high goals and standards. This might help you become successful in many areas of your life, but at a certain point, it sabotages your efforts to get started or finish. Rather than a decluttered closet, you’re left with the opposite because you convince yourself that you need to research the exact type of shelving and storage bins to use before you start.
You put off starting your project because you’re not sure how to proceed or are afraid you won’t do a good job. You’re not sure what to order, how many, and whether you even need the supplies in the first place.
You’re unable to take action towards your project. You feel so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to start…so you don’t.
Don’t worry; you’re not the only one who’s been in this boat. The quickest and easiest solution I’ve found is a 4th “P.”
The antidote to paralysis is to put one foot in front of the other and just move. One little step at a time, until you’re comfortable taking bigger steps, for longer periods of time.
For example, you might pile items in the closet or garage according to “keep,” “give away,” “not sure,” and then start again. If you’re still having trouble, ask a role model, friend, or family member for their advice.
Perfectionism and procrastination are the opposites of “done.” Puttering offers you a way to break out of paralysis and experience some forward movement. New habits are formed, but you can also apply these habits to virtually anything on your to-do list.