The art of procrastination.
Yes, it is an art, believe me I have it down to a fine art.
Procrastination…the art of not doing the very thing that you want to do, know you need to do and should do.
The definition of procrastination according to the online dictionary is “the action of delaying or postponing something”. It so often feels likes inaction but for me it is usually filled with action, just not the action that needs to happen at that time, or action that will lead me closer to my dreams and goals.
What do I mean? It is about 12.30pm here right now and this has been my morning since dropping my daughter to school.
I went for a walk – this was planned and I am completely happy with this choice.
I have done the fruit and veggie shopping – look we needed fruit and veggies what was I to do.
I have hung out the washing – surely that is acceptable it needs to be hung out and who else was going to do it. I have chatted to my daughter – come on these moments are important you take them while you can!!
I went to the bathroom – surely calls of nature aren’t my fault.
I unpacked and repacked the dishwasher – you see those dishes that sat there since last night and that 3 children could ignore couldn’t possibly be ignored for another moment.
I have checked Facebook at least twice, ok lots more but we don’t have to be so accurate – but that is alright because someone might have ‘needed’ me and it is my business after all.
I stood and looked at the mess, wondered around it a bit – I only considered cleaning this up but that probably took as long as cleaning it up would have!
I made a cuppa – I need a cuppa to settle at my desk.
Each one of these ‘actions’ are completely justifiable, totally reasonable and depending how you look at it I haven’t even been wasting time, well not most of the time.
And there is a big but!!
BUT… I had committed to myself that straight after my walk today I was coming home and writing two blogs. Minimum two!! I committed to this because firstly, I actually like writing blogs. Let’s face it I love sharing my thoughts and opinions and experiences. The main reason however that I committed to this is because months ago I promised my publisher one blog a week. Easy, before that I was writing multiple blogs a week, yet for the last month I have sent him zero. A big fat nothing.
I have been avoiding them, ignoring the fact my blog is sitting stagnant.
I know I could look at why. What is stopping me, what belief is holding me back? But here is the thing I just need to do it and for some reason today I hit that point. Do you ever feel that point? That time when you just know enough is enough and you have to take action.
So I jumped onto my free Facebook group (fabulous group if you would like to join https://www.facebook.com/groups/1039116359607416/) and I did a live and committed to writing two blogs today. I decided I needed accountability so I said “hold me accountable this is what I need to do today”.
Now you would think that would be enough to kick me into action but no still I choose other ‘action’, all the things I listed above.
I told you I have procrastination down to a fine art.
Today was different though, I was aware, I was on to me!! I had publicly committed to writing my blogs and I observed my chosen actions in a different light. I didn’t just justify each one I started to question them. I shifted from sub conscious procrastination to conscious procrastination and it doesn’t feel nearly as comfortable or justifiable!!
Yes, all those things ‘needed’ doing (except maybe the looking at the mess) but were they more worthy, more needed, more productive than writing the blogs? Were they going to make as big of a difference to my day, my week and maybe my dreams as just writing the blogs would.
You see I think that is the problem, we don’t always procrastinate by sitting on the lounge eating cake and watching movies, we often take a lot of action when we are procrastinating, and it can be very productive action but is it the right action for you in that moment??
I never clean as much as I do when I am procrastinating. I clean to avoid doing what I have committed to doing but if I plan to clean I will probably procrastinate about that with some other action!! Maybe I should plan to clean then I would write blogs ;) Crazy I know!!
So just because you are taking action, just because you are doing something that needs doing doesn’t mean you aren’t refining and perfecting your own art of procrastination.
Are you doing what you committed to? Are you doing the best thing with your time right now? Are you addressing those things you know you need to do but are avoiding? Are there things that continually move to tomorrow on your to do list?
These are signs that you are building a skill and a habit that probably isn’t serving you. The skill and habit of procrastination!!
The more you have perfected this skill, refined the art, the harder it is to move past. How do we move past procrastination and into guided, conscious action?
Well today I just had to do it!!
I made myself accountable and to be honest that is the only reason I am sitting here writing this blog on procrastination. Because I know come tonight there will be a couple of people who will say “hey Jodi, how did you go with those blogs?” I have already told them there is no reason I can’t get them done!! Save unplanned emergencies (which I could possible manifest if I tried hard enough…so be careful) I have no reason not to do what I have said I will do.
Yet I knew I could talk myself out of it if no one else was watching. I nearly did. I kept finding all those things that ‘needed’ doing.
So, if you have turned procrastination into an art form like me, reach out, find someone or a group and be accountable to. And then do what you say you are going to do. The only way out of procrastination is to take the action, do the thing you know you need to do. No more excuses, no more sneaky action that will rob you of the time needed to do what you know you really, really want to get done.
Yes, procrastination is an art but is it the art you want to be practising and perfecting? It is up to you. The only thing that stands between you and guided action is you!!!