Avoidance. Procrastination. Putting it off. If you are avoiding a work task, call or project for work/school, get quiet and check in with how you are feeling about the task. The answer to moving ahead lies there and here’s what to do.
Think of one of those right now before you read on and you’ll get more out of this article.
Avoiding a Certain Phone Call?
- Who do you need to call? How do you feel about the person?
- What do you need to talk about? How do you think the conversation is going to go? Some trouble there?
- When was the last time you called? Any guilt about the length of time?
- Are you supposed to deliver some bad news?
- Are you concerned about the outcome (say, a doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off?)
Ways to move ahead (stop avoiding)
- Talk through what you need to say to someone else. Hearing yourself say it aloud puts some distance between the feelings and the facts.
- Script what you want to say. Record yourself, write it out, make out your bullet points. You’ll be almost on auto pilot when you make the call.
- Tell someone else you need to make the call by the end of the day and tell the person when it’s done. Or ask the person to check in with you midday to see if you’re still not ready and talk it through.
- Decide to apologize – or skip over it, depending on your style – for calling later than you wanted to.
- There is always a different way to deliver bad news yet be direct. You’re probably focused on the bad news, maybe feeling it’s not your fault, or you can’t understand why it happened or you’re upset about it. Get it out of your head. Find out more facts first. Ask for forgiveness if appropriate. And sometimes, with your script in hand, that’s all you can do is deliver the news … but with an apology or with a solution or both.
Avoiding A Difficult (Conflict-Ridden) Conversation?
- You have a conflict with someone and don’t know how to proceed.
Ways to move ahead (stop avoiding)
- What do YOU want out of the conversation? What is your desired outcome? Write it down. What’s the least you want to walk away with, too.
- Put yourself in the other person’s place. Imagine what outcome that person would want. Write this down next to your column.
- If you cannot be objective, talk it through with someone else to check facts versus your biases or feelings.
- How is the other person probably feeling about this situation? That is a useful starting point to a conversation.
- What do you have in common? Figure that out; that’s a useful starting point. “We” instead of “I.”
- Are there multiple issues? Sort them out to deal with each separately. Writing out or talking these through gives you clarity about where to start, the highest priority, what is really bugging you the most.
- Admit your responsibility in the situation.
- The longer you avoid the conversation, the harder it will be. The more surprised the person will be. But letting it fester impacts your relationship and even at work, relationships, communication and trust are keys to productivity.
- Ask for the conversation a week out. Asking gives you responsibility to have the conversation. And it gives you time to organize your thoughts.
- Write up what you both learned or agreed to afterwards as a reminder. The more emotional the issue and conversation, the less likely you’ll both remember the same details. Use that writeup as a way to work together.
Ways to Stop Avoiding a Big Project, Big Goal, Big School Paper
- What feelings do you have about the project, goal or paper and your ability to do it well?
- Do you need to find support?
- Are you assuming that your last attempt which maybe was not stellar will certainly be the outcome this time? Review what happened last time and what you could have done differently; do that this time. Write it out or talk it out. The past can be changed, but not if you approach the next time without some learning.
- Are you concerned about how the project/goal/paper will be received? You can only do your best, so what will that take?
- The practical solutions – use a timer for 5 minutes; use a project breakdown into smaller steps, etc. apply here and I’ve written often, but this article encourages you to think about your feelings and belief in yourself.
- On a scale of 1-10, where do you put your ability to do this well? What exactly would it take to move that number up a bit? What has worked in the past?
- What are you really good at? Go do that first, and then sit down and write your outline for the task at hand. The feeling will carry over.
Whether we want to acknowledge this or not, feelings and belief in ourselves enter into our productivity in life and in work. If you can take a moment to consider your feelings and what you have learned from similar past experiences, the avoidance starts to melt away. And if you have ADHD, write down somewhere safe your “best practices;” next time you ADHD gets in the way, you’ll know how to get back on track.
Sue@CoachSueWest.com or phone/text 603.765.9267 for a 1/2 hour, no charge introductory call to see if you think and I think there’s a good fit of relationship, skills, experience and what you’re looking for.