You ran 7 miles, got to inbox zero, cleaned your whole house, etc etc, etc etc… You’re on top of it by all appearances. But what if these seemingly helpful actions are ways to avoid doing something bigger and more important?
A career change, a difficult conversation, an exciting-and-intimidating project, perhaps?
Welcome to the world of procrastin-acting, where busyness and productivity… are entirely at odds.
My procrastin-action habits of choice? Cleaning, shopping (and returning half), creating to-do lists I never finish, going down bunny trails of way-too-much-information, and editing my work a zillion times.
Usually procrastin-action includes behaviors that are a) easy to do — AKA mindless for us b) time and attention consuming and c) more addictive than they are joyful. In other words, they are a very effective way to avoid something anxiety arousing, or with less immediate reward.
How have you procrastin-acted lately?
You may have heard of “eat the frog” — doing the least (immediately) rewarding task first thing in your day, but fewer people have heard of the Ivy Lee Method, which I learned as “Top 6” — identifying the top 6 (and only 6) priorities to tackle in one day. These 6 are further prioritized in order of importance, and you don’t move on to the next item before finishing the prior one.
This method is most applicable to tasks that don’t require you to do them at a particular time, of course.
Sound boring and basic? You’re right — it is. It’s not unusual for major changes to begin with a bang or a dramatic flash of insight. But the actual work of transformation, carried to its endpoint and sustained, is more like chopping wood and carrying water, as the leader of my coach training program put it (shoutout to Christine Sachs).
If vision is the sky, action is the root.
Need to get going on something important? Check out my 1:1 coaching services.
Does that something important include rejuvenation, self-discovery, and treating yourself? Check out my women’s retreat in France.