The Procrastination Problem


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I’ve never met a person who says they don’t know what procrastination is. Like me, everyone I know knows it from first hand experience. Yet somehow we still manage to get things that we’d rather not be doing done.

Reflecting on all of this in general, and on the question of what conditions make it possible for us to overcome procrastination in particular, lead me to Tim Urban’s book “Wait But Why”. I like him a lot because he breaks this down by looking at how the two kinds of procrastination work.

The really unhelpful kind is a freeform phenomenon that sits immovably between people and their goals. I experienced this kind of procrastination in spades when I first got the idea of writing a book back in 2009. It was a no-brainer for someone like me who wanted to pave their way out of the corporate grind by establishing themselves as an expert. But even though it was a no-brainer back in 2009, I still stuffed around for years getting down to writing the darned thing.

The problem was that in 2009 I was comfortably ensconced in a job that provided me with a six figure salary and some other pretty amazing benefits. So there was no urgency whatsoever around writing a book and leveraging it to launch my coaching business. To put this another way, there was really nothing at stake back in 2009, and in fact right up to the end 2014.

What Happened at the end of 2014 that changed everything for me, is that I was made redundant at the age of 52. I mention my age because it turns out that rumours about ageism being alive and well in the labour market turned out to be true for me at least. Which is to say that redundancy took me from a place of not really having any skin in the game in relation to writing my book, to having my whole bloody life on the line. Among other things, this gave me a chance to see exactly what it feels like to deal with the second kind of procrastination that Tim Urban identifies so well in the attached video. In my own case it was the desperation embedded in my circumstances that severely limited procrastination’s ability to play fast and loose with me.

Fast forward to today and I am again happily ensconced, but this time in a very different kind of scenario than the 2009 version. These days I get to help other people who want to build their profile as an expert by becoming a published author. I do this because I’ve combined everything that I learnt over the five year period that it took me to get my first book written, including pulling the best material out of the $AU30,000 investment that I made in various  writing courses and retreats, to create a program that not only skills my authors up to kick procrastination in the butt, but also gives them the comfort of knowing that the process they’ve entered into will get them to published author status for once and for all.

FYI, my third book “Mindset for Authors: How to avoid perfectionism, procrastination and self-doubt is due out in March.

BTW, Tim Urban’s TED Talk on Procrastination is really worth watching. You can click through to it here

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