Procrastination: The Beast That Eats Your RainbowBy Chet Baker
Simple procrastination… simple failure to achieve our
dreams might have been best said by Ben Franklin: "You may delay,
but time will not.”
The term, procrastination, that insidious, caustic term reminds us of our weak kneed fear of something, our inability to do something we desperately need to do. It etches, in our minds, those errands we haven't done, the bills we haven't paid, the diet still waiting to get off the ground or the phone calls we need to make. Ah… those lingering phone calls we know how to make, those phone calls we told our boss we would make, the calls we told ourselves we would make to get our business rolling. We glance at the phone. It sits there, cold and unwilling to help out, to somehow jump off the hook and scream out at us, "pick me up and call those numbers.” Flash....it ain't gonna! You gotta find a way to do it yourself. Responsibility is ours. Reasons for phone fear fall into the same categories as those for procrastination:
1. Unclear objective and goals
What are you trying to accomplish? Sometimes we get so caught up in the detail we forget where we're going. We make a gentle pass as "wanting to do something” but don't have a clear plan. Haven't thought it out. The clearer the objective, goals and plans, the easier the confluence between procrastination and success, with success eventually winning out.
2. The task is too big – break it down
The task is not to produce income for the year. (This will come with accomplishing the task) This is just too large a task, too much pressure. A very large goal is called a Meta-Goal. Meta, meaning large. Large goals are broken down into tasks. So, the task is to make the calls. Everyday, make the first call and the 2nd, 3rd and so-on. Accomplish enough tasks and the goals will be realized.
3. Fear of success
We've all heard about this. Sometimes we're afraid we'll fail; sometimes we're afraid we'll succeed. It's the same really- fear of what will happen when we're done scares us so much we can't move on. Failure or success can move us out of our comfort zone. It's cold and lonely when are in the middle of changing. So, ironically success can be just as scary as failure.
4. The task just isn't fun
The heck with fun, just do it, some say. Focus on the bigger picture. What are the rewards for making the calls. Bigger fun. More funner. The outcome of success dwarfs rationalization that the task just isn't any fun. So, here's what I say to "it's not any fun.” Pshaw! Go for the real fun. The one at the end of the successful line.
5. Indecision – Afraid to make a mistake?
You can't get there without making a mistake! It's just that simple and that difficult. Mistakes are part of any emerging system. Hell, even life. The biggest mistake made is NOT doing anything. It's said, the only real way to fail is to quit!
6. Lack of confidence
Confidence grows with activity. Polish comes with persistence. Perfection is unobtainable. Getting better at making the first call comes with making lots of "first” calls.
7. Time, short of time
"I can't possibly get anywhere with this short bit of time.” Don't procrastinate waiting for a long stretch of time. It's so easy. Just set aside 5 or 10 minutes for 1 to 5 calls. Pick calls you can make mistakes with. Refer to them as throwaway calls. Calls that won't cause any harm if you blow up and melt into a puddle of piss. But you won't.. Step forward. Pick up the cold phone, dial, hear your voice, listen to the reply. You might even engage into a call. Hang up. Breath. See...no pain. All body parts still working. Do that for 1 or 2 or 5 or 10 minutes and then quit. See there, you did it.
Of course overcoming procrastination is about self-discipline. But notice this one particular point about distractions. Be honest with yourself. Set aside other things that can get in the way of making the calls. Might you be unconsciously inviting distractions so that you have a 'good' reason not to get something done? Humm. Easy to fix if you're aware of it.
There are more reasons for procrastination, too many to scribe here. But the most important thing that must be said about procrastination is that it can go either way. Either uou'll get tired of putting it off and get down to overcoming the pain and become successful. Or on the other hand, if you don't get-over procrastination, those chores, tasks, calls can turn on a dime into getting "stuck.” Stuck, means done. No hope. And you decide to change your plans based on irrational anxiety.
What a shame to lose all that possibility, those dreams, hope, and the life you really want just because you let procrastination become the beast that ate your rainbow. Take control.