Procrastination, an art form? An excuse? Or…


“Successful people are great procrastinators but know when to procrastinate. Unsuccessful people are great procrastinators but don’t know what to do, how to do it and are waiting for the right moment.” Peter Thomson

If we stop and think about ‘doing’ something we can spend so much time thinking that we run out of time to ‘do’, or something else that’s urgent/important is brought to our attention and we don’t ‘do’.

Sometimes we purposefully let those urgent and important things take precedent because we simply don’t know where’s the best place to start.

Sometimes we can spend hours on research, continuous refinement, getting new skills because we think that we don’t have the tools, skills, exact version, knowledge that we need. Everything has to be perfect when, in fact, what’s only just good enough for us is probably perfect and all that’s needed for everyone else.

We create stories in our head about why we can’t do it now and we run all those usual scripts in our head and get attached to the outcome. When actually all we need to do is just get on and ‘do’ it. And don’t use ‘I’ll try to do …’ that’s just giving ourselves permission not to succeed!

So here are a few tips:

  • In his book ‘get everything done and still have time to play’ Mark Forster suggests that before you take a break of any sort at least start the task. Even if its just writing a heading and the first line.
  • If it’s a difficult conversation, just call the person and ask them when it would be a good time to call for a longer chat and book the call.
  • Write a focused question, which takes your mind beyond the point of deciding to do something. “What do I/we need to do to….?”
    • Brainstorm what’s ‘needed to do’
    • When you’ve captured everything analyse, prioritise and reorder them into the plan
    • Chunk up and down as necessary
    • Use the double priority ‘do’ list to take the actions