Small Steps, Tip #4

Today was a glorious day of STARTING.

We just wrapped up April’s (free!) Get It Done Day, where four intrepid souls joined me in beginning Those Tasks We’ve Collectively Avoided For Too Long.

Some of these tasks were organizational, some administrative, others generative or creative. Regardless of the nature of the tasks, we all had our reasons for procrastinating on them until today.

And you know what the best part was? It didn’t even matter why we’d put off starting our various projects; each of us decided that today was the day we’d make inroads on them, no matter what happened last week or last month, no matter how we might’ve failed to start sooner.

Today—we determined both separately and together—would be our starting line.

(And this was the kind of race where no one’s actually racing anyone else and everyone gets a trophy. ‘Cause that’s how I roll.)

Though we worked independently throughout the morning and afternoon (FYI: just an hour at a time—any more than that, and we’re asking too much of our bodies and brains), we checked in with each other on several different occasions via video conference call.

We laughed. We cried. (Just kidding, no one cried.) We mostly got it done. At the very least, we started something we’d previously put off starting.

Do you feel how huge that is? If you’ve ever avoided beginning a project, you’re likely nodding your head in agreement right now.

Sometimes we’re afraid to start a project because we don’t believe we have what it takes. Sometimes we (think we) don’t know the first step. Sometimes we convince ourselves we need to be able to finish the project before we can start it; we need to set aside a whole day or a whole month before we can even look at the thing; we get really All Or Nothing about it.

We don’t do ourselves any favors when we let our clever excuses run the show. They might be clever, but that’s about all they’ve got going for themselves.

If you’d like some support in locating your starting line, come to the next Get It Done Day. It’s free, but you do have to register. I can’t wait to see you there.

A procrastination solution that requires just one day of your time

Without exception, I use my time far more efficiently when I know someone else is paying attention.

If I go to the bookstore on my own, to hunt for a particular book, you can bet I'll wander to my heart's content, remembering this book and that book and detouring myself the entire time. An hour or more can be lost like this.

Sure, I've got a goal (to locate that one book), but it's pretty meandering as far as a plan is concerned, and it's definitely aimless in the sense that it doesn't live on a timetable—so, I've more or less made it forgettable from the outset.

If, on the other hand, my husband's waiting out in the car and we agree I have 15 minutes to find my book, I'm focused first on accomplishing the mission at hand, and only then would I permit myself to wander around with any remaining time.

As with the first example, there's still the same goal (to locate that one book); however, this time it's set within a specific context—a husband waiting patiently and an increment of time that's trained squarely on the objective, not on the experience.

An important aside: I absolutely believe in focusing on the experience much of the time. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I'm someone for whom the experience is often prioritized over the objective.

But, when it comes to doing what I know I need to do with this one life of mine (and when it comes to doing what I want to do and staying married to the person I want to be married to, lol), I try to remember that focusing my energy on the objective is sometimes undeniably important.

And in many cases, dealing with the objective first (and positioning it within a meaningful context—on a timetable, as part of an agreement, etc.) actually affords me the opportunity to be present for the experience.

ENTER GET IT DONE DAY.

 

Get It Done Day is a FREE virtual event for anyone who struggles with procrastination and has been avoiding a specific something (or somethings) for a good, long while. The objective is to give you a designated time to finally complete That Which Inspires Dread.

It’s free, but you must register. Hop over here to add your name to the list.