This past week via our website, I recieved a question from a Blog reader - How do you effectively deal with procrastination?
Well, I was tempeted to put off writing an answer (get the joke ) :) but decided to reply right away to their email and write this post.
As you know, it’s way too easy to fall into an infinite pool like scrolling through twitter, browsing instagram, viewing Netflix and the like. Often we find ourselves doing it without really thinking, and then before we know it, an hour’s gone and we’re feeling terrible about ourselves.
But there’s something we can do about this - when we notice ourselves doing something like scrolling through Twitter or Instagram, we can ask ourselves “What do I actually want to be doing right now?”
In some cases, the answer might well be “I want to be aimlessly scrolling through Twitter”, in which case continue my good friend. You’re winning because you’re being intentional about how you spend your time.
But in most other cases, I suspect the answer might be “I probably don’t want to be scrolling through Twitter right now. Instead I want to be writing my daily journal or tackling my laundry basket or finishing that task I am putting off”. And then, having had that thought, we’d be 10x more likely to stop scrolling Twitter and instead do the thing we actually want to do.
I really like this tactic because it reminds us that what we do with our time is entirely within our own control.
“I just can’t stop myself from going on Twitter” is a myth. It’s not a drug. We can simply choose to not waste time on it, if that’s what we want. Sometimes we just need a little nudge, to remind ourselves that we’re in control.
Sorta comes down to Productivity Choice that I teach and enjoy - the Pilot, the Plane and the Engineer.
The Pilot’s job is to set our course, our goals, our direction. He (or she) decides what we’re doing on a given day based on our internal desires and external realities. We should probably spend around 10% of our time being the pilot. I like to be the pilot at the start of each day, during my morning coffee when I take a birds-eye view of my day and figure out what to do for the rest of it.
For the rest of the day, we are The Plane. We’re executing on the orders of the pilot. That involves (a) taking off safely, (b) not deviating from our course, and (c) landing safely. When it comes to getting stuff done, most of us struggle with the taking off part of this, and even more of us struggle to stay on-course and not get distracted while we’re doing the work. We should probably spend around 85% of our time being The Plane.
For the final 5% of the time, we’re The Engineer. The engineer’s job is to create and maintain systems that keep the pilot organised, and plane fuel-efficient. Things like maintaining a to-do list, calendar and sensible file storage system. But also things like improving our typing speed, which for almost all work done on a computer, speeds us up significantly.
The pilot makes sure our output is useful, the plane how much outputting we’re doing, and the engineer helps make the process more time-efficient.
Tackling procrasination comes down to choosing the hat you wish in that moment and being intentional about it. I would love to share more - including tools to help you choose the correct hat - why not drop me an email and lets get on a coaching call.