In the last week I’ve had a lot to do. I’m developing the next round of my goal getting program School of Champions, working on a new book (stay tuned for more on that!) and I’m planning my work trip to the USA in a couple of weeks.
In amongst it all, there’s been one overarching project in my business that I really needed to focus on. It wasn’t a hard task, it just involved a bit of creativity and some dedicated hours spent typing away at my desk. For some reason though, I just couldn’t seem to make any progress on it.
Day after day, I’d see it on my to do list and every day I’d mark it with another underline, or a highlighter. I added more and more reminder alerts so my phone would constantly ping messages like “Just do it already!”.
Of course, I had some really productive days – I did a lot of research for another upcoming project, I did almost every administrative task I could think of and I spent a good two nights turning data in my quarterly reports into every type of graph imaginable! Yep, I went full nerd Turia.
After a few days of this, I started to feel a bit guilty or embarrassed. In my speeches I talk about stepping up and taking on whatever task you’re dreading first thing in the morning … and here I was blatantly procrastinating! I felt so disappointed in myself – and each day it was like I was failing a bit more …. (I know, it’s a tad dramatic but surely you know I am the OG Drama Queen by now?!)
Procrastination is not a new thing – we all do it. And we all know that avoiding the things you want to do is generally not a good thing!
But right when I’d started entering a shame spiral feat. tubs of Ben & Jerry’s, I started to wonder …. could this procrastination be positive? Hear me out.
In my pondering, and in my subsequent research (yet more procrastination haha!), two things came up for me:
I was actively procrastinating – while I was avoiding one thing, I was getting stacks of other important things done.
The procrastination forced me to ask questions.
Questions like: Why am I avoiding this project? What do I need to get this done? What is stopping me from achieving this? What fears or concerns come up for me when I think about taking on this project? Do I need to ask for for help? Is this the right project for me to take on, right now?
The second point is a big one. I sat down with my team and I voiced some of the concerns I had about the project. Together, we answered a lot of questions and eventually settled on the decision to shelve the project for now. Although it had seemed like the right step to take next, we realised that it wasn’t the right time to be taking it on.
Procrastination allowed me to see things more clearly. Because here’s the thing – we don’t procrastinate with the stuff that we really love to do. We don’t delay the opportunity to work on something that really drives us unless there’s something we need to consider, a fear or concern we need to address, or specific help that we need to receive.
Maybe you’ve got something you’re procrastinating on. If you do, I’d love you to ask yourself the questions my team and I asked. What fears or concerns come up when you think about that task and can they be negated? What do you need to get that task done and can someone help you do that?
I reckon that procrastination isn’t the bad guy we’ve made him out to be. He’s less Voldemort and more Dumbledore in my eyes now. We just need to get him on our side!
If you want to delve into procrastination a bit more, check out Frank Partnoy’s book ‘Wait: The Art and Science of Delay’.
Until next time,
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