I don’t want to do that! Procrastination is not a form of laziness, it is a form of resistance.
I consider myself as a rather productive person. I’m quick and resourceful and don’t miss deadlines (I’ll tell you another time how that trick is done. It’s really not that complicated).
But I am a huge procrastinator. People who don’t know me that well probably don’t realise this about me. Usually the only thing that gets me to do anything is an approaching deadline. And it has to be rather close!
Oh, those hours that I’ve spent binge-watching Friends! Where would my business be if I hadn’t done that?
Still I don’t consider myself lazy. I procrastinate because I can (the efficiency part helps) but mostly because I’m afraid.
I don’t want to start a job, because I’m afraid of failing – and not doing anything is the worst failure of all.
Now, here comes a disclaimer: In this post, I won’t tell you how to overcome resistance. I don’t think I will ever overcome resistance. I have learned something about how to deal with it.
- Acknowledge it
Like I said, I don’t fool myself into thinking resistance will ever go away. I acknowledge its existence, and being realistic gives me more tools to deal with it. If I just say to myself: Hey, this time I won’t feel it, I’ll just push through and get things done, I’ll be helpless when my old friend resistance rears its familiar head.
- Cheat yourself to work
This is how I ever get almost anything done: I sell a project without thinking too clearly about how I am going to execute it. If something interests me but scares me at the same time, having a deadline and a fee waiting for me at the finish line is the surest way to complete the task.
- Create a plan
Once the sale is sealed, I don’t have any other choice than to attack the task in front of me. I tend to plan small steps: searching for background information, sending a few emails to potential interviewees, setting up calls and meetings.
- Plan for failure
Having a plan is important, but it shouldn’t be too optimistic. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Most important is to plan for difficult moments. I sometimes have a hard time finding perfect people for interviews, for example. It would be way too easy to just launch a few emails and forget the project while no one replies. But I plan for that and create a recurring task on my task list. If the person doesn’t confirm the interview in two days, the task pops back. And I must tackle it again.