This post is the second part of an exercise to tackle procrastination over completing unfinished objects and projects. If you missed the start. Click here Tackling Procrastination: The Ghosts of Projects Past.
When we tidy a room, we usually make more mess sorting it out before we eventually make it tidy. Tidying our lives is the same. When I left the question of what projects I was procrastinating about to ferment, my list grew from five to seven.
Here’s my new list, divided into the categories I suggested:
Nothing here – although I might be able to sell my short story, The House at the End of Our Street, at the moment my motivation is to enjoy writing it. So I’m filing it under ‘Pleasure’
- Short story – The House at the End of Our Street
- Lanarte cross stich
- Knitted Slippers
- Patchwork Bethlehem star cushion
- Block I designed for a cushion
- Four pairs of tiebacks for the kitchen/diner curtains
- THE BEAST IN THE BOX
Dividing the list into pleasure, profit and practical helps identify our priorities…
If we’re not getting pleasure from something that’s only purpose is to give pleasure it’s pointless working on it. It’ well worth exploring why we’re not enjoying it and what to do about it, but that’s a whole other journey, which I’ll return to in a future post.
Profit and practical projects
Take each project in turn and ask:
‘What are the implications if I fail to complete this?’
If continued procrastination has serious implications then this is the project you need to work on and need to consider as your Beast in the Box.
If continued procrastination has no serious implications for any of your projects, ask,
‘Which project do I feel most reluctant to work on?’
This project is your Beast in the box.
Before we go any further, I’d better fess up that this is my Beast in the box…
Although I probably could have made them myself, I paid for these blinds to be made, because I was impatient to have them, the sales were on and I’ve never made a roman blind before. I need four blinds for my bay window and when I measured up, I forgot they needed clearance to miss each other. Doh! Consequently I need to make these two slimmer.
These blinds are definitely the unfinished project I least want to tackle. I know they’re not a hugely creative and may be nothing like the projects on your list, but trust me, the same approach will work for all.
Tackling The Beast in the Box
Many psychologists and coaches tell us that when we’re fighting procrastination, we should start with the easiest things on our list i.e. the ones we’re least reluctant to work on. This can be a good way to get going, but it ‘uses up’ our initial enthusiasm and the tasks we’re most reluctant to work on remain, encouraging us to drag our heels over what we’re doing so we don’t reach them. I prefer the boot camp approach:
Tackle the worst first
Procrastination Boot Camp
In my last post I talked about identifying the reasons we’re reluctant to work our projects. Once we know these reasons, we need to identify as many answers as we can to the question,
‘What drives (underlies) my reluctance to work on the Beast in the Box?’
My Beast in the Box
|Reasons for Reluctance||What Drives Reluctance|
|I’ve never made a Roman blind before, let alone altered one, and I don’t want to mess up.||· I think I may lack the necessary skill
· I’m stepping out of my comfort zone
· I’m not 100% sure of my plan.
|It’s a boring job.||· Lack of interest/excitement|
Considering what fuels my reluctance to work on my Beast in the Box, I’m not surprised I’ve been procrastinating for so long. But now I know, I can ask,
‘How can I remove, or at least reduce, these drivers that lead me to procrastinate?’
I’m off to think about that and to leave you to identify what drives your reluctance and how you can tackle it. I’ll return on Friday to consider what we’ve found and finish the exercise. Meantime, once you’ve found your answers, do get working on your Beast in the Box if you can. I’d also love to know what Beast you’re working on.