The One Thing To Work On

“We shall never have more time. We have, and always had, all the time there is. No object is served in waiting until next week or even until tomorrow. Keep going… Concentrate on something useful.” - Arnold Bennett

I was sitting down to write a response to ChrisBrogan’s article, “12 Things to Stop Doing in 2009“, when my answers started to develop a trend. When I whittled each of my 6 things (I decided to stop and write this article instead) down to their core, it looked the same for each: procrastination.

If I look down the last 15-20 years of my life, through the first decade of my career, through college, even through my high school years, procrastination is responsible for probably 90% of my frustrations. At this point in my life, I’ve learned how to work through the habits at work, largely, but at home and in my personal life it’s been a more uphill battle.

I am the king of “in a little bit” or “I don’t know when…later”. Which has to be quite frustrating to my wife, kids, parents, and friends. I know the fine art of self-rationalization too well, and will be working against years and years of habitual repetition breaking the cycles.

I’m realizing that I spend too much useless time on the computer, without a specific goal or focus for my non-work time on the computer. I need to work on staying focused, reading, making comments, writing, and getting out. I think I could make my non-work computer use much more productive.

So this year, instead of putting together some long list about eating better, working out more, and taking more time each day to smell the roses, I’m just going to work on procrastinating less. Because, for me, so many of the things that I would write about will happen more often if I just do the things that need to be done, instead of always putting them off for later.

I’m not going to put it off by reading a GTD book before getting started either, though I somehow think that would really help. I know I’ll put that off though, and keep myself hovering. For me, procrastination is about three different things:

  1. Putting things off until later, the obvious piece of the equation
  2. Getting stuck in thought – I will start to think about a task and/or its pieces and get lost in thought, and totally forget to do what needed to be done in the first place
  3. Thinking that somehow I need to rest in front of the television or computer screen because of how hard I work everyday. It’s true, I am a hard worker, and do run around from morning ’til night, every day. But, getting things off of my plate frees me up mentally and emotionally, thereby reducing my stress level far more significantly than an hour of television. This is something I need to remind myself of constantly.

Maybe over time I’ll have to enlist a GTD program like Backpack (which I already use, but just not in a GTD way or with that level of precision) or Omni Focus. But for now, I’m going to just get started trying to stay in action as much as possible. Starting, right now.