I tend to say ‘Chillout’ a little too often. Now my three year old throws it back into my face anytime I tell him not to do something.

In Brene Brown’s speeches and books, she talks about our society being the most overweight and over-medicated society of all time. Many people are stressed out, sleep deprived, and unsatisfied with their current life.

It’s not surprising. The world is still working it’s way through the worst recession since the Great Depression. Many either have had a hard time finding work or have received hardly any raise in almost a decade. It’s a depressing situation. I understand the sentiment.

In any difficult time it’s important to think about how we spend our time. Do we give in to destructive habits like drinking, overeating, or destructive procrastination? Or do you focus on how to make your situation better, constructive procrastination? Did you learn a new skill, read a new book, start keeping a daily journal, spend some time meditating, or go for a run.

These are the two types of procrastination: constructive or destructive. It doesn’t matter who your are. If you are stuck on a really difficult problem then you’ll succumb to some form of procrastination. Those are the two paths everyone can take but it’s your choice of what path you will choose.

How can you make the right choices?  I like to think about how you can make the constructive choice easier because it’s seems to always be easier to choose destructive procrastination.

Here are some of my suggestions to help you ‘Chillout’ with some constructive procrastination:

Know your triggers. If you over eat and turn to junk food then limit the amount of junk food you keep at your home. You’re less likely to get int he car and go out every time you want some ice cream.  Instead of junk food, focus on keeping healthy snacks readily available. That way when you’re so hungry you could eat anything, at least the ‘anything’ will be something healthy.

If you want to start working out in the morning, then start laying out your workout clothes the night before so you don’t need to go searching for something to wear in the morning.  Not being able to find the right clothes, or gear, will be one less excuse you’ll have in the morning. There is always an excuse so limit the ones you can control.

If you’ve been fighting your way through a project then don’t forget to set aside some breaks. Set a timer so your half hour or fifteen minute break doesn’t turn into two hours.

For  TV, think about the shows your actually want to watch. Write down the shows you want to watch during the week.  Try to make it a habit of watching your show and then turn the TV off. You don’t want a half hour episode to turn into three hours of mindless television.

Many of us work in an office for the majority of our week. That doesn’t mean that you can’t step outside for a breath of fresh air. A few years ago, I began the habit of stepping outside twice a day to get some fresh air, usually I take a short walk around my building. This short walk completely changes my state of mind.

When’s the last time you spent any amount of time sitting by yourself alone without constantly thinking about everything that’s going on with your life.  I used to think meditation was a waste of time.  Recently I started the practice of meditating for ten minutes as soon as I wake up in the morning on an app called, Headspace. Give it a try. Try it once. Afterwards think about how you feel. It’s impossible not to feel a little bit better and more in control after only 10 minutes.

Finally remember, the hardest part of any constructive procrastination, like working out, is taking that first step.

Which will you choose?

Photo by oleiah at Morguefile.