A few months back the owner of our practice asked me to write a blog piece for our website, I agreed and ‘write blog’ appeared on my to-do list. Unfortunately it stayed on my to-do list until last week when in a very gentle kind of way she mentioned it again and I thought “Oh no, now I really am going to have to do it!”.
I started to think about the all the things that I could write about. I am in the very privileged position of being frequent witness to the bravery required by clients to talk to and trust a complete stranger with their personal struggles. I also have the opportunity to see their commitment to understanding their difficulties, learning new skills and taking risks to create a better life for themselves. I have also enjoyed many years of training and experience and been lucky enough to have been inspired by leading researchers and clinicians. From training to experience I have no shortage of things to write about – so why was I avoiding it?
Here are my thoughts. Few of us, if any are immune to doubting ourselves and our abilities – “I can’t do it”, “It won’t be any good”, “I don’t know where to start”, “I’ll sound like an idiot”, “Others will judge me negatively” and so on. Also, our minds often create a minefield of reasons not to do something, “I’m too busy”, “I’m too tired”, “I’ll do it next week”, “I need to wait for inspiration” etc, etc. With all that going through my mind no wonder I had been putting it off!
So I decided to take some of my own medicine, and reflected on the fact that if I always let my mind be in control of what I do, I would not be where I am today. In fact I would have missed out on most of my personal and professional experiences including the enjoyment, inspiration and sense of satisfaction, as well as the anxiety, disappointments and a few failures along the way. I then asked myself the following questions:
- No matter what I write about, will my blog piece appeal to everyone? Answer: “probably not”;
- Will it set the world on fire? Answer: “probably not”;
- Will some people relate to this experience? Answer: “probably yes”;
- Could it help someone else take the plunge and get started on something despite all the reasons not to? Answer: “possibly”;
- Is it worth making a start? Answer: “yes”.
And so on my bus journey to work I decided to give it a go and as you can see, once I started typing I found it difficult to stop! It turns out that most of my reasons not to get on with it were simply excuses designed to avoid any anxiety I might experience. Just before sending this to Tal, I read it through one final time, I noticed that my mind continued to repeat some of those original fears about what others might think, so I looked through some of the above reflections and decided to take action anyway, I added this last sentence and pressed send!
Do you ever fall into the procrastination trap? What helps you to beat procrastination?
To get help with procrastination contact us at myLife Psychologists.