Thursday, October 20, 2011

Procrastination: It’s Like Wearing White on Labor Day, but Worse

6:30 pm. Omg. When was the last time I trimmed my ear hairs?

6:48 pm: I think I need a little break. There’s definitely a wall that needs staring at.

7:11 pm: Staring at walls is not nearly as fulfilling as you might think.

Okay, I’m clearly procrastinating … I must right this blog. I must.

Procrastinating is evil. It’s also insidious, which makes it double evil. It’s a lot more dangerous than other evils (like wearing white after Labor Day) because it isn’t always obvious.

On face value, procrastination seems like one of the sillier things that we do to ourselves.  We could do the task at hand and get it out of the way and then be able to go about our business of plucking ear hairs and staring at walls. But it never seems to work out that way … 

Excuse me, I have to go lie down for a second.

7:53 pm: Damn you, procrastination. But it’s totally true … most of us put off these simple tasks (like writing a blog) so that they blow up and bigger and bigger and become a huge stress in our lives—so stressful, in fact, that we spend so much energy worrying about what we have put off that we don’t do anything productive with the time we have “freed up” by procrastinating.

(Really worried I’m not going to finish this blog. It’s making me exhausted … Think I’m going to watch America’s Got Talent. Be right back)

9:07: I can’t believe they voted them off!

Oh, right …  Procrastination continues to create pain for much longer time than the pain of getting it done in the first place. Dan Sullivan, the great mentor of The Strategic Coach, says that when you have something difficult you need to do, and you know that it’s going to be painful, you have two choices.

1)      You can either have a long, slow pain that will constantly be there, or
2)      You can have a fast, possibly worse pain—a pain that will then go away.

Procrastination ties into perseverance. We have to persevere and ignore the devil on our shoulder telling us to procrastinate. Things never take care of themselves, and they usually snowball into a bigger mess that takes longer to clean up than it would have by just doing it in the first place.

Man, I really want to finish this but I just realized I haven’t gotten the mail yet. One sec.

9:30 pm: You would never guess what came in the mail? My subscription to Field & Stream.  Love that new equipment section.  I can’t believe the innovation in duck calls.

Wait … where was I?

Today’s challenge: Persevere through the work you have in front of you. By getting it done today, you give yourself permission to have a great day tomorrow. Start with the first thing, get that done and go to the next. 

You have the satisfaction of taking something from point a to point b. You won’t have the constant feeling you get when you procrastinate. Get into the habit of doing this for yourself and for your clients. It might be painful at first, but it’s better than having constant pain. Feel the joy of progress!

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