You know what people delight in?
Pointing out whenever I seem to have procrastinated on something.
Well, I’ll backtrack on that for the sake of clearer communication …
Backtrack backtrack backtrack. Try saying that out loud.
- Not people, but some people. Let’s say a very small but non-insignificant percentage of the people who read this blog and email me about stuff. Let’s say six people in the last couple weeks.
- And not delight in but seem to delight in. After all, I could be wrong.
- And not in a mean way or anything. It’s not like people are rubbing their hands in glee saying “Caught ya!” though occasionally they do. It’s definitely all in fun.
- And I’m more than open about things I don’t get around to.
- And I suppose they’re completely entitled to their moment of glee given that I did, after all, write an entire book and a mini-guide and produced three recordings on dissolving procrastination and how to do it.
Obviously when a super-biggified “expert” screws up, it’s way more entertaining than when other people do. And god knows we all need someone else to slip on a banana peel once in a while or we’d never feel good about anything.
Hell, I subscribe to at least ten noozletters for the sole purpose of mocking (in my head, mostly) other biggifiers who I think are doing it wrong.
I’m feeling a little worried though …
The thing that’s worrying me about this?
That — given how much I talk here on the blog about the procrastination thing and other aspects of mindful time management — it seems as though maybe one of my main points just hasn’t come through yet.
Maybe I haven’t been clear enough. Maybe I haven’t gotten across what I’m really trying to say. Can we try it again? Because I’m feeling like I need to explain something here.
The super-important thing we all forget about procrastination.
Procrastination is fueled by guilt.
Guilt and fear. Once you take out the guilt and fear, it’s not procrastination anymore.
This is what most people in the “productivity” world aren’t realizing. Procrastination is almost never actual procrastination. It’s almost always just this:
You processing or letting something percolate + fear + guilt
That’s all it is. If you remove the guilt and the fear, it turns out that you’re not procrastinating at all, you’re just thinking about something.
In fact, if you own the Procrastination Dissolve-o-Matic (or if you’ve ever even looked at it), you already know that the subtitle is:
Beat procrastination without beating yourself up.
Without beating yourself up.
Because you’re not necessarily procrastinating if you haven’t done something yet. When you learn how to soften the guilt and the fear, what invariably happens is that you get very clear, very quickly.
Yay clarity. What that looks like:
Without the guilt and the fear it’s much easier to identify whether the thing you’re not doing is something you want (or choose) to do …. or if it isn’t.
If it is something you want (or choose) to do, and you’re not all bogged down by guilt and fear, you can actually start using the productivity techniques to figure out what the next steps are.
If it isn’t, you can skip it (or decide to check back in with it at a later date), and go about your merry, guilt-free way.
Why this is so important to understand.
It’s not so you have to stop making fun of me. Because of course you’re more than welcome to get goofy with me and my duck pretty much whenever.
You know that, right? Join us in the goofy! Do a little dance!
It’s not that.
It’s so you aren’t guilting yourself.
Let’s be honest. If you’re saying “Ha! Caught you procrastinating!” to me, you’re probably also saying it to yourself. And the whole point of every single thing I do is to help you not have to say stuff like that to yourself.
When you look at the people who are working with my techniques and making big crazy progress, the thing that’s so incredibly impressive is way, way different than what you’d think it would be.
Their progress is not confined to how much they’re getting done (a LOT) — it’s how much they’re enjoying the time when they aren’t getting things done. It’s how pleasant it is to be able to let themselves not always be in a state of doing. Or in state of needing to be doing.
I’ll tell you a secret: I don’t actually care how much I get done.
I also don’t really care about how much you get done.
Nope. I care about how we do it. How we are present with ourselves while we’re doing it. (Side effect: we get more done. But that’s not the goal.)
On the surface the Dissolve-o-Matic is about tricks to stop procrastinating. And yes, they totally work.
To the point that Shannon (one of my awesome clients) recently said after our session:
“Man, it’s not called magic procrastination-dissolving fairy wonder dust for nothing. I totally thought you were being silly but that’s really just the most accurate description possible for what this stuff does.”
But below the surface, what I’m really trying to do with everything that I teach — here on the blog and in the courses and programs I lead and with clients and in the products that I develop — is to provide how-to for the process.
To give you as many ways as possible for you to feel safe and supported losing the fear and the guilt, so you can stop accidentally sabotaging the process.
To help you recognize the individual elements that make up your patterns and habits so you have the knowledge — and the freedom — to take them apart and build new ones that will actually serve you.
It’s not about getting more things done.
Obviously you will. You’ll be more efficient and productive and all of those things. But that’s not the part I really care about.
The part I really care about is that when you’re not getting things done you’ll be able to meet yourself there with some kindness and compassion. And that when you’re not feeling compassionate, you’ll be able to let yourself not feel like being compassionate.
That’s what coach-ey people call “getting out of your own way”. I call it being your own way. But whatever, I’m a big old tree-hugger. You don’t have to call it that at all.
The important thing is that it’s not about guilting yourself up anymore.
p.s. If you’re feeling like you want to make fun of me about something, make fun of me about that. Seriously. I hug trees and do yoga and talk about compassion and stuff. Now that’s embarrassing.
And my duck and I deserve every smartass remark you’ve got. Bring it on!