I am the most productive procrastinator in the world. I can avoid my to-do list like I was being to avoid it. I keep myself busy doing other “stuff” so I don’t even have to look at the things on my list. For example, this weekend I had pattern grading on my to do list. I hate pattern grading. The item is on my to do list because my goal is to launch my winter collection in November. To get to my goal, I need to complete this action item. BUT, I freaking hate pattern grading!
This is where my awesome procrastinator skills kicked in. Instead of pattern grading, I cleaned my yard, cleaned out old dishware, organized my pantry, and made a run to the thrift store. See? I am so awesome at procrastinating. I give myself a day of this type of busy procrastinating. If I feel the urge to power clean and avoid my to-do list too many days in a row, then I know it is time to sit, refocus, and evaluate my goal list. I ask myself these questions. Take this quick self assessment and refocus your goals too.
1. Do I actually want to do anything on my goal list?
You may find after a few days, weeks, or even months of working towards a goal that you really don’t want to achieve the goal anymore. For example, you may be super excited and plunge into writing an e-book. You tell everyone about said book you are writing. You plug along for a few days, maybe even weeks, only to realize you hate the topic you are writing about and then you become a procrastinator extraordinaire. You find your own busy tasks to keep you from the task at hand. Sometimes this is plain old fear, creativity block, or shit happens and you can’t get to your writing.
However, there may be another factor at play and this is where real self-assessment is important. Do you still actually want to do the thing you set out to do? Are you plodding along because you told everyone you would? When I was in law school I encountered a few brave souls who partway through said, “This isn’t for me.” They had taken out the loans, passed the first year, and even lined up an internship. They didn’t fail. They deliberately chose a different path. I admire the ability to course correct.
Don’t continue to plod along if you are actively avoiding action items. Revisit your goal list. Rewrite your goal list. Channel that energy somewhere productive.
2. Why is this particular item on my list at all?
If you decide the goal is worthy enough of your energy and continued attention, then look at the action items on your path to your goal. Each item on your daily to do list doesn’t necessarily have to have to some grand purpose, but it does help to know why you are doing something. If you can establish why something made it to your list, then you are more likely to complete the task.
I know that to test my pattern’s fit and begin production of my winter collection, I first need to grade the pattern. I know why that item is on my to-do list. Because I know my “why,” I am better able to practice some “suck it up butter cup” and get my action items completed.
3. Make a list of what you have accomplished in the last three months. Where did you kick ass?
If you decided to eliminate a number of items on your goal list because after effort, attention, and thought you’ve decided to course correct, then stop and celebrate what you’ve been able to achieve. Sometimes I get so caught up in where I want to go and what I want to do, I forget to celebrate what I’ve done or how much I’ve been given. Take a moment and celebrate what you’ve accomplished. Where do you feel you’ve truly kicked ass? Doesn’t matter how big or small the accomplishment.
4. What are the things you truly love doing? (Like love so much you forget to go pee.)
Look at that list of accomplishments. What made it to the kick ass list? What did you truly love accomplishing? What was difficult then, but you look back on now with awe that you made it through? What did you accomplish that felt almost effortless because you were so completely zoned in?
Cultivate more of what you truly love doing. I am not talking about a list of easy items that don’t push you or make you uncomfortable. I am not advocating you play it safe. I love trying new patterns and experimenting with draping. I can zone out for hours. I want to incorporate that more into my designs. It is by no means easy, and attempting to replicate Madame Vionnet style gowns is crazy frustrating. I freaking love it. I get so zoned-in I forget to pee. It’s amazing. What makes you feel like that? Write those items down!
5. How can you incorporate more of what you truly love doing onto your goal list?
Now that you know what you don’t want, your why, and what you truly love, create a goal list that is focused on cultivating more of what you love to do. The procrastination sessions will lessen or you’ll be able to get past with greater ease. Most of us cannot frolic and play the live long day, but we can brighten each day with glimmers and smatterings of what we love to do best.
Are you a procrastinator extraordinaire? What do you love to do and what would you like to cultivate more of?