In the context of discussing procrastination and the pain of starting, a commenter writes:
Fear is a wall 1000 miles wide and a mile high, but only tissue paper thin. A la Harry Potter running through the brick wall to the train station. – (source)
This is a helpful frame. Anything that helps me get started for a matter of minutes, even seconds, or that makes starting just a little more pleasant, gives me a chance of continuing and possibly finding flow.
(I’ll be posting more on this topic, including micro-pomodoros, preparing the workspace and first physical actions, and you’ll find these with the getting started tag.)
When you came to a point where you suffered for your procrastination, you may have told yourself “Next time will be different!”
Like me in the past, you may have come to this point many times, making the same declaration each time. Perhaps you added, or at least felt, “This time I mean it!”
This can be a turning point, or it can be a warning of failure to come, and here is the difference: If your whole strategy consists of “This time I mean it!” that is a major red flag. If you’re blaming yourself, and thinking that you must stop being bad (lazy, disorganised) and start being good (hard-working, well-organised), that is also a red flag. Which is a great start, because once you’ve identified what hasn’t worked for you, you can look for something that does work.
If your “Next time will be different!” involves taking an entirely different approach, then we’re getting somewhere. If you’ve decided it’s time to understand the psychology of procrastination and effectiveness, and look for strategies that work for you, excellent. If you’re ready to try things, ready to fail as well as succeed, and happy to try and fail before you succeed, we’re on the same path.
Blame and guilt aren’t needed where we’re going. We’ll be looking at solutions to procrastination that are right for you, where you are now.
Credit: some of the perspective and phrasing in this post come from a discussion with CFAR staff and alumni. Their approaches to overcoming procrastination will feature in future posts.