Sunday 26 May 2013

DIY therapy for the “I can do it better tomorrow” approach and how to Blast the Procrast

I have recently pulled myself out of a huge procrastination rut. Well I will tomorrow, at least. 

For weeks I navel gazed and contemplated and had big discussions with myself to try and get myself going. I am not sure if procrastination is like an addiction, but I decided that the only way I could move through it was to first “identify the problem”.  

There inlay the next endless phase of procrastination. I couldn’t get to the next step because I couldn’t identify what was causing me to procrastinate. I was now taking my procrastination to an entirely epic level as I equated my failure to identify the problem with delaying  - or procrastinating my break though solution.  All progress halted and movement forward hinged on me cracking the procrastination- cause relation.

So I spoke more energetically to myself. I planned to wake up the next morning and write to do lists. That didn’t work either.  I was spinning in circles and picking up more residual guilt with each revolution of the wheel.  The guilt was feeding a growing sense of self-doubt – I wasn’t being true to my own ethos.  If I continued procrastinating, I would become one of those unreliable people.

I dreaded talking to my co-founder. I was going to have to confess that I had nothing for him, and I would be letting him down. After my kids, he is the last person I wanted to disappoint.  So I stacked more negative thinking onto the guilt - I started having thoughts like – OMG I’m going to get fired from my own startup before we even started. Could there be a bigger failure than that?  

Yes, this was spiraling out of control. I just couldn’t crack it on my own. Quite frankly, I had no time to be in a procrastination funk. I am involved in multiple startups. Every week my procrastination pulled me further behind and my to do pile didn’t stop and wait for me to get my procrastinating act together.

I chose to do an intervention, to come clean.

So on my next co-founder call, I hung my head and I started with… “ Hello, my name is Suzanne, and I’m a procrastinator”.

And there was the break through solution. By confessing, I was obligated to explain my actions in some comprehensible way and through sharing that with somebody else, instead of giving myself lectures and guilt trips, I accepted the responsibility to figure it out. 

The wall of tasks I had set out for myself had become so big that if I worked 72 hours straight, I couldn’t make a dent.  If I started today, or tomorrow, the next day the impact would appear the same – limited to nil.

My co-founder Hussam helped me to put things into perspective. He reminded me that we were in it together and of how we had planned to work through our projects. He took the load off and asked me to focus just on one task.

I got to work, made some real progress within a couple of hours and took a break to open a tall stack of bills I had also put off paying and actually finished something.

So if you are sinking into procrastination, get help, accept that you are a procrastinator and talk to somebody.  Then make a to do list with only 2 items. 1 – one simple task you can accomplish in the short term and 2 – to write another short to do list when you finish #1.

My Blast the Procrast has been so successful that I may need another intervention…

Hello, my name is Suzanne and I’m a workaholic…

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