Procrastinating? Avoiding something? Or are you clearing your mind to get ready for “it.” That project or conversation. My client Sarah wants to know if she is procrastinating by cleaning up her desk when she had scheduled this time to draft her blog article. My client Marissa asked if she was avoiding a difficult conversation with her spouse when she played her game of solitaire for awhile.
When is it clearing your mind of the cobwebs so you can approach the next thing with a clear mind? And when is it procrastination and avoidance?
Answer These 3 Questions and You’ll Know
#1 How are you feeling about the next task: the article or that conversation?
Instinctively, quickly, what runs through your mind? Besides the thought that you think you might be procrastinating. Set that aside. Consider the task in front of you.
Pause and ask yourself how you’re feeling about what you need to do. Pause for a minute. Step back, before you continue with the desk clearing or solitaire game.
If you are feeling stuck, how do you normally get yourself moving and unstuck? Could you listen to music? Get a snack? Call and talk it out? Change your location? Switch gears?
#2 How clear is the first step?
Do you have a topic in mind for the newsletter? Or do you research first? What’s the smallest step to take?
How do you typically come up with your topics? Is it usually during quiet time when your mind is still? If so, then sit or walk and only do that.
If topics come to you while you’re doing something else, like clearing your desk, then do that.
And then as a safety net to prevent your procrastinating, set a timer. It limits you to a reasonable time spent spend reorganizing your desk.
If you have to make time for a difficult conversation like Marissa, you’ll want to process how you plan to start the conversation; how you will set emotions aside and stay on the facts; and where you hope you’ll end up.
So again, how do you typically process: Being still and thinking it through? Talking it out with someone? Doing something else to occupy your mind so that you relax, and the answer comes to you easily.?
Procrastinating sets in when the first step is vague.
#3 Right now, which task is more important to complete?
If you cleared your desk, what would that mean to you or do for you? “I’d be able to ….” And that’s where the meaning is. And the motivation sometimes as you think about this more deeply.
If instead, you sat and drafted your blog article, what would that do for you? “I’d be able to …. or know/feel that ….”
If you were to stop and have that difficult conversation, what would that mean to you? If you didn’t have the conversation today, how does that feel right now? What usually happens to you if you choose one way or the other in similar situations?
And if instead of the conversation, you played the game of solitaire, what would that do for you?
Procrastinating is sometimes useful and purposeful.
Answer these 3 questions and you’ll have your answer. You may be procrastinating or you may be doing the best thing for yourself.
Your Safety Net
If you are not sure if you’re procrastinating, then be sure to use that timer. Give yourself ½ hour and see how far you get.
The answer is sometimes not clear. At that time, it really is smarter to head down a path and see what happens! Take a step and something will reveal itself, pointing you to where you need to be.
How are you managing your time? Receive a free question sheet to help you assess your time management systems when you subscribe to my newsletter.