Procrastination, Momentum and Productivity

Procrastination, Momentum and Productivity

Sometimes it’s hard to get started. I was thinking about this the other day (instead of just starting probably).

When I have a book to study, I don’t have to think about what to do first – the sequence is there. I don’t have to decide where to start, what to focus on or what the most important part is. I just start at the beginning and in a couple of paragraphs I have momentum. If it’s well written and clear, I get good insights that are exciting. If it’s bad even I just read faster and skip the boring bits. This gives me a sense of achievement, flow, completion, momentum and I feel productive.

What doesn’t feel productive is the kind of thing I did yesterday. Spending all day doing search engine marketing. Because I’m having to decide what to do next. And I don’t necessarily know which tasks are leveraged because it isn’t something I do all the time.

So I end up feeling slightly inadequate, but also frustrated. So is the feeling of momentum really productive?

When I was 4 I went to an ice skating show. I was mightely impressed. I imagined being able to whirl around and leap and dance on ice just like those performers. The reality was a little different. When I finally got my Dad to take me ice skating, I spent most of the afternoon on my very cold wet bum, apart from the time spent hanging off the rail.

StudyingWhat is easy to do in my imagination .. when I learn about something all the pieces come together and I get the whole picture … is painfully slow and full of gaps/obstacles when I put it into practice. So I tend to go learn more stuff instead. Even worse, I sometimes think that because I’ve done it in my mind I don’t have to do it in reality – it becomes a substitute rather than a template.

And I see this all the time. Someone bases their self esteem on being capable, so they only do the things they know they are going to do well. Because every time they put something into practice that in their mind they do brilliantly they feel inadequate. They fail to live up to their own expectations.

It’s the expectations that are the real problem. Setting the bar too high based on what we simulate in our minds. If we had the expectations of a beginner rather than what is eventually possible we wouldn’t have the disappointment of failing to live up to that comparison.


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