While talking to my husband the other night, I let him know that I would be writing my next blog post about how to use DBT skills to combat procrastination. This caused him to essentially do a spit take, because he knows all too well that I am the queen of procrastination. He turned to me and asked, “what on EARTH are you going to say about this topic?!?”
Before I continue, I want to assure you that I love my husband very much.
I quickly explained to him that researching some possible solutions and then testing them on myself would, at a minimum, be good comic relief. Better yet, thinking more about these activities could even help me in the long run.
So here I go.
I’m going to start writing.
The problem here is that I need to write the blog post, and let’s be honest… I have no *idea* what to write about. So, what comes to mind, other than stepping away from the keyboard altogether? Let’s see.
First, I remind myself what I wanted to do here. I want to use my DBT WHAT skills, specifically, to handle those moments when I don’t want to do something. These following particular DBT skills help me to become more aware and move forward:
Observe: This is where I begin by observing my body sensations and paying attention to the present moment.
Describe: Here, I start to put words to what I just observed. For example, “I am binge-watching TV, and I am curious about what will happen next on the show [instead of, say, writing a blog post].”
Participate: At this point, I realized that my behavior was not yet yielding results. I still didn’t want to write the blog post, so I decided to throw myself completely into telling my team that I simply couldn’t put it together on time. Which is perfect, A+ procrastination!
I quickly realized that didn’t work, either, so I participated in a way that works wonders for me as of late – I joined a yoga class, which often helps me to tap into my Wise Mind. I can always participate when it comes to yoga, after all.
And this process of participation helped me tremendously. I realized my issue. Instead of tapping into Wise Mind, I found that I was stuck in Being Mind, a concept first used by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and later picked up on by Marsha Linehan.
“When in Being Mind, you view your thoughts as sensations of the mind. You are focused on the uniqueness of each moment, letting go of focusing on goals.”
On the opposite end of this continuum – is Doing Mind.
“When in Doing Mind, you view your thoughts as facts about the world. You are focused on problem solving and achieving goals.”
My goal was actually to get into a third state. I wanted to get into Wise Mind.
“When in Wise Mind, you use skillful means, [and you] let go of having to achieve goals-and throw your entire self into working toward these same goals.”
So now the question is – what are my skillful means? What are the skillful means that would work in this situation? And the answer is… Opposite Action!
For me, the feeling I needed to act opposite to was FEAR. Fear of not getting it done, fear of not doing it well enough, fear of disappointing my community… you name it. My fear was leading me to freeze and avoid the task at hand. The opposite action was to approach my fear and do the blog post.
Which means that… I beat procrastination. I completed my task through the use of the DBT skills that I have repeatedly practiced and utilized.