How do we tell the difference? I recently wrote a newsletter about looking back and reviewing progress as a way of countering feelings of frustration and impatience.
The response was overwhelmingly positive – measured both by the number of times the newsletter was read, and by the emails I received. It took me some time to write that newsletter – I had spent some weeks debating whether I should actually write it. Given the fact that we have so many emails in our inbox every day, and the fact that email newsletters get such a generally negative response, I was in two mind. So I procrastinated and wavered.
Eventually, I decided to just get on with it, and I’m very pleased that I did. Not only that, but based on the response, a few newsletters each year will be actively welcomed.
When we’re feeling impatient with our progress, sometimes we need to be patient with ourselves and examine whether we are indulging in a bit of procrastination. I am in no doubt that what I was doing was procrastination. It’s different from what I advocated in, Taking a Breath. There I suggested that pausing to look back and review from time to time is a helpful mechanism for maintaining development momentum. But, when a pause becomes stuck, perhaps there’s something else happening.
Three Signs of Procrastination:
- The gut feeling that you should be doing something, but you’re just ‘too busy’
- Replacement activities. How much of your time gets taken up with things that are urgent but not important? Or perhaps more enjoyable than the thing you know you should be doing?
- You avoid talking about the task you should be doing. When the subject comes up you deflect or avoid the subject
If you recognise any of these in yourself or in anyone in your team – you’re probably dealing with full procrastination mode.
The solution may be to ask what’s really being avoided? Are there real or perceived barriers stopping progress? If so, what can be done to bring them down and get everyone engaged in making real measurable progress.