7:03 – Robbie sends me a Ted Talk. I download it, planning to listen to it later.
7:05 – I start listening to it.
7:35 – I mentally start drafting this blog post
7:48 – I start writing this post in Evernote. I have a compulsion to get an idea out of the wash machine of my ideas in my head. Otherwise it just repeats and circulates.
I wouldn’t meet any clinical definition, but I feel like I have OCD for completing tasks. It hurts my brain to have outstandings. It makes me a high performer. It is tiring and it does not always get the best result.
When I listened to the Ted Talk that Robbie sent me, it resonated with me.
I get frustrated by people who arrive at meetings unprepared, I feel it shows a lack of respect for my time. I watch people checking in for a flight and take ages, after 10 minutes in a queue, they only then take out their passport and who knows what the discussion is about, it does not seem politely jovial, more like a serious negotiation of terms and conditions. Even just going through the underground turnstiles I get frustrated by the ill prepared.
I remember going up a river in Port Alfred to have a few drinks with friends, we all brought our drinks, some brought some food, I brought a black bag for rubbish and toilet paper in case someone needed it (both were needed).
I am typically organised and prepared. I like to avoid inertia, I understand that we want to build momentum, but it needs to be directional. Like a big ship. A small change will mean way off course. Of course we can just go with the flow, it’s not for me though.
It’s not all beneficial though, I often miss out on the present, as I am future focused. I also found sleeping tough for almost a decade, until I learnt to sleep again. I used to send emails to myself in the middle of the night as a mechanism to stop the mental loops.
It is always worth evaluating the contrarian view. In this case seeing what lessons I can learn from procrastinators. That is not to say that I have an ambition be a procrastinator, but there are beautiful behaviours to emulate. I can be better from their example.
Procrastinators allow themselves to time to think over problems. I have had numerous occasions of the dreaded computer crash where my work has been lost, returning to it, I was able to write more clearly and succinctly. I may end up preparing so in advance, that I end up having to do the preparation again as circumstances have changed or I have simply forgotten. Once there is a deadline, procrastinators are forced into the beneficial side of Parkinson’s Law and only do what is necessary.
Some of the things I do to help manage the Pre-crastinator condition:
- Plan/schedule to do later – This takes it out of my mind and gives me comfort that I don’t have to do it now.
- Create a plan – I don’t expect to follow it. It is the process that is important, not the plan. It gives me comfort that I have considered the variables and the time required, I can then react as needed.
- Go running – Moments of clarity often occur during a run.
- Write down tomorrow’s priorities towards the end of the day. I’m actually against lists for a lot of people, but 2-3 priorities is great.
- Have wind down/bedtime routine – the precrastinators mind is often red-lining, it needs time and signals to know it’s time to calm down.
- Schedule time to do nothing – Time is a vacuum and will be filled, but it is important to have decompression time.
- Take up a hobby requiring focus in the now
- Bouldering – Sam explained to me how you need to be absolutely present in the moment when climbing, otherwise you will fall, but it also requires planning and direction. In short all other distractions fall away.
- Drawing– As part of my challenges to shift from a fixed to a growth mindset – I am doing a 30 days drawing challenge.