The three things that get in the way of getting things done when you want to
This is the second article about time management and what to do when you find yourself procrastinating.
In the article last week, here I wrote about Darren and the two big questions you must ask yourself all the time to become a Doctor of Discipline, and a professor of punctuality:
- How much do I want to do this thing?
- How much do I want to avoid the consequences of not doing this thing?
With absolute clarity over those two questions, your life will start to change.
But there is one more step to truly obliterate the concept of procrastination from your life. I’ll illustrate what I’m talking about with another story, this time about myself.
I’ve always done a lot of writing. I believe I am a relatively good writer. I was actually trained as a journalist in the dim distant past. So I’ve had a bit of practice and schooling, and I actually enjoy the process.
But for years I wouldn’t get much writing done at all, because of endless procrastination. Whenever I wanted to write something, I could literally spend days procrastinating and wasting time and getting distracted by everything under the sun. And I used to beat up on myself like you wouldn’t believe.
Learning to trust myself
Until I realised, one day, that what caused my procrastination, was not knowing what to write. That insight changed my procrastination patterns forever because I started taking a whole new approach to my writing. From that day, I decided to trust myself that something would come out as long as I’d start writing.
And that approach has worked for me ever since. Whenever I want to write something, I simply sit down behind the keyboard, and I start to write; whatever pops into my head, stream of consciousness kind of stuff. Often I have absolutely no idea what I am going to write, but I just start writing anyway, about the weather or what I did on the weekend or the last book I read.
Once I start writing, I have learned to trust that it will come and it always does, and I enjoy writing again, and it is great for my business. Once we have absolute clarity about what we want to do and what consequences we want to avoid, we can often be waylaid by other hurdles to get things done:
- We don’t know how to actually do the thing we want to do.
- The task we’ve set ourselves is too big, and the enormity of it is overwhelming, and we just don’t know where to start.
- We are actually unsure what the task involves.
My client’s hurdles
I see these same hurdles appear for my clients all the time. A client might decide to write a marketing plan, for example. But in the weeks following the decision, nothing happens and the client start to beat up on herself for being such a procrastinator.
Of course, we investigate what’s going on and nine times out of ten, it becomes clear quite quickly, that the client doesn’t really know how to go about writing a marketing plan, what the steps are, where to start.
Invariably, as soon as we expose such a hurdle, the hurdle dissolves. We break the process down to a bunch of small steps; we decide what the first small step is and how to go about taking that small step and the client goes off and makes things happen. Procrastination simply ceases to be an issue instantaneously.
As I said, the hurdles come in many colours, shapes and sizes, but every time I notice a client (or myself) starting to beat herself up over being a procrastinator, I know there is something else getting in the way.
I believe laziness simply doesn’t exist, or at least not the type of laziness we get tough on ourselves over. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a lazy afternoon on a tropical beach, you could even argue that that kind of laziness is what the world needs more of, but people are rarely lazy good for nothing slobs in my experience.
Allowing yourself more time and space to ask yourself the two big questions and to investigate what is going on when you find yourself procrastinating truly will change your life… I promise you.