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Lessons On Procrastination

  Steve Scanlon     Aug 26, 2015

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Last night before falling asleep, I had a brief and final thought about going for a good run in the morning. But the next morning, lo and behold, I wake, do some meditation, get to some work, and then realize that I have a headache. I almost felt queasy. I don’t really know why, but at about 8:00 the little man inside of me began to create reasons not to go for that run I had whole-heartedly committed to just hours before.  You know that little person, right?  He or she is the one inside of all of us crafting all manners of excuses for us not to do something.


This morning, however, I was able to practice a little metacognition (something we all work on a lot here at Rewire) and not just dismiss the little man making excuses but rather pay close attention to what they all were.  I heard:

  • “You don’t need to run today, you ran 2 days ago..."
  • "Taking the day off won’t matter at all in the great scheme of things...”
  • “Heck, you don’t even feel that good, what are doing even trying to run?  Why not sit down for a bit?"
  • "Do you even know how many e-mails are in your in-box?  There’s no way you can run and still get to all of that.”

I was fascinated by these voices, and yet, if I am honest, I would say that they come all the time for a range of  work and personal stuff I know I have to get done. I have been working with people one on one and in groups for too long to not know that this is a very, very common phenomenon.

So, the question is: What do you do with those voices?  Do you listen to them?  Do you let them win?  Are you good at ignoring them?

This morning on my headache-laden run, I spent time wondering how often those voices trip me up and how much more effective I can be at listening and then coming against them. Then it hit me that coming against those voices is like one of the worst fights we ever have.  You against…well…You.  Winning this contentious battle could feel like a Pyrrhic victory but it is not.

 

I am more and more convinced that ‘shutting down’ those voices is simply too hard a task.  Today, I let them speak and really heard them out.  Then I acted against them, gritted my teeth a little, and proceeded to take the next step (quite literally).

 

As I was finishing the run, I sorta had an internal laugh as I realized that I didn’t just go for a run, but that I had a bit of a win.  Ok, it’s only one run.  I get it.  But how much more could we accomplish if we would hear the voices out and then make a choice to be disobedient to their requests.  What could our businesses and lives look like if we chipped away every day at our own procrastination?

 

Ah the places we’d go!

 

On a side note, my headache is gone.  Have a great finish to your week.  Never forget that the ‘real’ you is stronger than the ‘little voice’ you.

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Steve Scanlon

Written by Steve Scanlon

Steve Scanlon is the Founder and CEO of Rewire. He loves to see people change the way they think and enter new seasons of growth for their work. If you have a couple of hours, ask him about his new golf swing.

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