I am so good at avoiding planning, that I even mislaid the note pad I was creating my planning in. Years ago, before I became Procrastination Coach, I would have spent the rest of my day searching for my lost item, until I found it or was too exhausted to do anything else.
I’m smarter now. I searched for a new notebook, because I know the project is in my head. I am able to do further planning even without my original notes.
But, procrastination always lurks… I thought I was doing well: simply use a fresh notebook and start planning. But then I found myself:
– writing this post
– searching through my files for a text I’ve written about the importance of having a plan B
– visiting my official website to see if I had posted about it there
When I realised this was SO much distraction that I was allowed to label it procrastination, I went back to my note pad. I wrote down the basics of my project, as I had designed them before. My mini Project Initiation Document.
Still, procrastination lurked… I realised I hadn’t yet used all my project management skills in defining my plan. So I figured I’d look up some of documents I work with in my training, just to make sure that I wouldn’t forget anything. Maybe I can call the one who suggested this to me my ‘inner distractor’.
Because when I think about it a bit longer, I know I have all the knowledge I need right here in my own head. Searching for those documents was nothing more then giving in to the whole sense of fear that the subject of planning installs in my: “You might not be able to do this. You are going to mess this up! You’re headed towards a disaster!!”. So I’ll start looking for things to back me up, as an external safety net: theory, documents, different methods. The hidden reasoning probably being something like: if I’m not good enough, as I fear, they will catch me and I’ll still be able to do my work properly.
I have already stepped into the different method trap: when I couldn’t find the documents I needed as fast as I wanted them, my inner distractor told me ‘wait, you have a coaching method that might be helpful. Tie your project to your values, they can be your compass when your planning goes wrong. So I wrote down:
– honesty (with myself and with others)
– personal growth (I can deal with the setbacks because I grow from them)
– family (my project is not allowed to make me exhausted and grumpy and make my loved ones suffer)
– fun (totally lacking last week, being too serious all the time is not good for me).
And then I realised that was procrastination too. I was still avoiding my planning task. I can tell it’s procrastination because it made me feel bad. I wasn’t left with the feeling: ‘yay, that was an important step, I’m glad I added it.’ I was left with a feeling that said ‘you’re not getting yourself where you want to be’.
After that, I wrote this post. Great for both avoiding and personal growth. I’ll finish this now, and apply my own methods to me:
– . I won’t post it before my planning is done. (that will work out as accountability)
– I will make the planning process nicer by playing music that soothes me or gives me hope. (adding positive things to a task you dread or dislike).
– I will time box: I’ll set a timer to 15 minutes. I’m going to do as much as I can in those fifteen minutes, because when the bell rings I’ll quit. 15 minutes looks too short to me, which will motivate me to not spend too much time on thinking without making decisions
– I’ll plan a reward. Since I didn’t plan fun last week, the reward will be 2 hours to paint or do whatever creativity I’ll feel like (this will also help me stick to my 15 minutes: I know if I get exhausted I don’t even want to do something creative any more)
Today procrastination lurks. And skulks. It pussyfoots and mooches. But you know what? there’s a success I can pat myself on the back for anyway. I am SO aware of the fact that fear triggers procrastination, that there’s no room for my inner critic to tell me off. He wants it, he wants it so badly! But I know it’s normal, it’s human, and I’ve found a way to deal with it. My 15 minutes of planning start now.
I did it. 15 minutes. My planning is done. My #NaBloPoMo post is done. I don’t feel relieved, I feel stressed. Probably created a planning has ignited my fear of failure. The cat is on my lap now. She will make things better.