Make procrastination "unaffordable"
Many of you write to me hoping for a solution to procrastination, as if we haven't been given a wealth of information on this subject already — maybe even more than we can consume. Procrastination has become so commonplace that I can only reduce it as one of the easiest habits to afford.
Are we to blame though? We are a world of profound distractions and social dictations that it’s made putting off work that matters so frighteningly easy to do. They have made us anything but meaningfully productive.
So I am not here to tell you how to beat procrastination because I myself am vulnerable to its massive availability. The question I am much more interested in helping creators answer is, how can we make procrastination hard to afford? What would make it not an option?
See, I admire the efficiency of some first-born’s — at least the ones I know. Being an eldest seem to make you more on top of your game. I guess it comes with having younger brothers and sisters, and many other things as your responsibility. You get so used to looking after something, to valuing someone, and to always being reminded by your parents of the cost of losing that thing or person. So you do everything.
Maybe that’s what many of us lack. Maybe it’s the absence of something priceless to value or feel responsible for that makes us easy to slack.
Do you have something priceless to value and protect? Something you care about deeply you cringe at the thought of slacking on it?
Responsibility means something different to each person. It took me a long time to define what that meant for me. In the last 12 months or so, I have finally gained some significant momentum in my work and it’s all because I found a sense of responsibility in these 3 things:
- Lifting others up. Growth is beautiful, even more so when you help others in their own. As a hardcore introvert, the thought of having a community used to disinterest me — scared me even. I rarely replied to my readers. I would cower when I was asked to speak in front of other artists. I wasn’t very attuned to my clients’ needs. No wonder nothing was happening to me and my "career." Denying my role in other people’s growth ultimately compromised my own progress. So when the year started, I made it my resolution to commit hard to my tribe and to serving them. I am only just starting over but finally having this sense of utility to others has compelled me to show up more, creating tremendous change in both my life and work.
Also, I learned that having a tribe has nothing to do with being introverted. You can be gentle and quiet in your ways and still make waves.
Question: Who do you show up for? Who are you serving other than yourself? How can you get to know these people more and better play a role in their growth?
- Learning from the best. For the past year, I’ve been connecting and synergizing with people who are better and smarter than me. This means, I wasn’t only hanging out with my creative friends, I was spending time with creators who actually do meaningful creative work for a living, even if at some point they intimidated me. Surrounding myself with these people did not only grant me with a wealth of knowledge and inspiration, their presence would constantly remind me that to sleep on my own creative potential would be a shameful use of time. Trust me, A+ players make the best accountability partners!
Question: Are you hanging out with the right people — people who ace what they do and are also teaching and challenging you?
- Loving someone — starting with myself and my special others. It’s easy to find this unrelated or impractical to productivity but in the past year and a half, this is all I’ve been trying to do and I’ve been creating non-stop! I honestly wish I understood the logic behind it, but if I must break it down for you, I think it works like this:
Love is intelligence expressed in how we mindfully and respectfully relate to ourselves and to others. The absence of love is not hate but indifference. If our goal is to be more productive, we cannot be indifferent. I find this true for me especially. The more I am mindful and respectful to myself and to others, the easier it is for me to feel inspired, be more focused, and generate helpful ideas that deliver results. Often, we wait to be "successful enough" before we work on ourselves and give time to those we love, not knowing that prioritizing those things will inevitably lead to our fulfillment. I think this is why they say "love is the source." It is that deep and abundant well of creative energy, the place from which everything else flows.
(And yet, whatever Love is, we always have a responsibility to it.)
Question: Do you practice mindfulness and respect in your relationship with yourself and others?
Over to you. I want to know, what makes you feel responsible? What gives you a sense of utility? What are those things that remind you that the work you want and are meant to do are not worth snoozing on?