Tools: Kill procrastination

What is procrastination? Its anything you are doing that isn't what you set out to do.

Some procrastination is obvious (like browsing the net, TV, getting lost in social media) but procrastination masquerades as useful things too--cleaning, running errands, "research". Those things aren't bad in and of themselves but if they aren't actually what you were planning to get done, call them out for what they are-procrastination.

Procrastination is a shield against fear of whatever it is you are setting out to do. Your fear doesn't have to be a big dramatic thing ("I'm afraid of FAILURE" or even dodgier "I'm afraid of SUCCESS"). Sometimes the fear we have is just fear of the discomfort of doing something different. Such as facing a blank page--there are those first few words that need to get out and it isn't always a pretty thing. Or fear of running those first steps. We imagine how hard mile five will feel before we've even gone 100 ft. and end up defeated by a mere thought. 

How I kill procrastination has three steps. 

Step one: call out the procrastination (whatever it is). Be ruthless. Don't accept any rationalizations that you are doing something valuable. Regardless of what it is, it is procrastination. Acknowledge it for what it is.

Step two: STOP DOING THAT THING. You know what it is and that anything you say to the contrary is a rationalization. Just keep repeating to yourself that this super important plant watering mission you are on is just a delay and keeping you from your true goal. Don't bother finishing it or coming to a logical stopping place. Just stop.

Step three: Do the thing you planned on doing--just start. You don't have to finish but you do have to start. Grit your teeth if you must but set a timer and give it a good five minutes. If its terrible, you can look at why that is but unless you give it a try you won't be able to analyze, adjust and turn it into something productive.

There, see? Not hard. You just need to be honest. You are either working on the thing you are supposed to be working on or you are procrastinating. 

Here is a little secret. Last night I planned to work on a video. I nearly started writing this article instead--BECAUSE I WANTED TO PROCRASTINATE. I did the video. Turns out I need to rewrite the script and try again. The point is I did what I set out to do. I suspected I needed to make a change and learned what I needed to learn by digging in. I made progress even though it wasn't the progress I wanted. And as an added bonus you now have a tool to work with.

ToolsSasha MobleyComment