Blog post number 1! A quick introduction to myself, I am American born, London raised with Nigerian heritage. My full first name is Temitayo which translates to ‘Joy is mine’, I think my parents got the name spot on since I’m always smiling. My aim is to write a blog weekly on my thoughts on a variety of topics.
Now for my first blog topic, I could not think of a better or more fitting one than procrastination. This has been a problem for me in just starting this blog, I have been considering writing for a few years but found one reason or another to put it off, so I’m pleased to be posting this today.
Procrastination can be defined as trouble persuading yourself to do the things you should do or would like to do.
I have found procrastination to be one of my biggest problems in years past, I’ve been described as someone with potential and seen myself as capable in not just work, but also in extra curriculars such as sports. However I have felt for so long I was only scratching the surface due to a lack of application. This links to procrastination as before I think I lacked the discipline to consistently put in the time and work to continue to build my knowledge and abilities, today I find myself keen to make every effort to realise my potential.
In Steven Pressfield’s book ‘the War of Art’ he described procrastination as internal resistance, in one chapter of the book he highlights that this resistance is universal, and by that it impacts everyone. The key difference is the way each person responds to that feeling of resistance, so whilst procrastination can be distracting and disruptive it is not a completely unique experience and therefore should not be excuse to ourselves.
As this pandemic has dragged on and working from home has remained in place, I’ve continued to search for ways to better manage those feelings of resistance as for example for career development is now in my hands more with most classroom learning remaining on pause or offered in an alternative virtual pilot formats. The most effective ways I’ve found to keep productive in spite of those feelings of procrastination has been the combination of writing down tasks daily, buying and completing a weekly to do list planner, these both have acted as great ways of maintaining my focus, reassessing my priorities and remaining accountable to myself. One tool I use to record my tasks is Trello, I find it really helpful as I can add labels to tasks which allows me to filter down tasks (e.g work, social or development tasks) and it is an available for use as an app so I have the flexibility of updating on the go.
The tracking and planning of my tasks in a forward look is one of the ways I’ve begun to tackle my own procrastination. I do need to stress that planning tasks need to be kept realistic, optimism bias is very easy to do when planning and the ‘you’ of tomorrow has to deal with the fallout of poorly planned tasks. Tasks planned poorly tend to do more damage than good and can in turn lead to that unwelcome feeling of procrastination as the tasks require more time than allocated for (certainly an issue faced in some projects/programmes).
I referenced taking career development into my own hands above, to elaborate through the ILX platform I was able to plan and set time aside outside of my working hours self study and obtain qualifications for P30, Prince 2 and Prince 2 Agile, these have increased both my confidence and understanding in my career in dealing with project delivery, ILX also offered me the opportunity to build up my understanding of planning and Scrum with the MS Project and Scrum Master. These qualifications contributed in securing my recent promotion within the civil service and will continue to offer me but the projects and programmes I work on additional value, as I am able to apply best practice for project delivery methodologies.
One of the most common regrets for people is unaccomplished goals, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that most unaccomplished goals stem from procrastination, therefore I think it’s essential to reiterate that procrastination is something we don’t accept or embrace but rather we identify causes or trends of our own procrastination and find ways to prevent those causes of it. I still have ways to go in being productive at all times but in contrast to years past I can see the value in the simple steps I’ve taken to reduce patches of procrastination. One new goal of mine is for this time next year is learning (relearning) to swim, there’s far too much I’m missing out on right now when I go on my travels, and not having travelled in so long, I’d like to make the most of my trips moving forward.
Keen to hear how everyone approaches feelings of procrastination?