If you knew me, you’d think I had it all together. I make my bed every day (if you want to know why, listen to this.) I like my house clean. I like my desk sparse and clutter-free. Never-you-mind what’s going on inside those drawers … But! Actually, in the past couple of years, I’ve taken to folding my clothes KonMari style.
The thinking is, if your house (literal or metaphorical) is in order, then it makes it so much easier to find the mental and physical space to get the big stuff done!
So, I would spend all kinds of time getting myself and my space ready to do the work. I thought: “I have ALL these things on the to-do list. They all need to get done, regardless. So, why does it matter what order I do it in as long as I’m taking action and being productive?”
Well, I’ll tell you why … because I would always start with what’s easy and fast and feels good.
Here's a little sneak peak into the churning in my brain: "Gotta clean up the kitchen and put away these dishes before I can sit down to work … maybe I should throw a load of laundry in … if I get these personal phone calls out of the way, then I won’t have to worry about them later ... I really think I need a new LinkedIn header photo ... I should definitely do that now, while I’m inspired!"
And that could take ALL day. Or even all week. And because my primitive brain thinks they’re scary, I will leave the hard, tedious, uncomfortable, not fun bits to the end.
And when I run out of time, then guess what’s left? All the big daunting, important pieces that will actually move me toward my goals. (Like sitting down and drafting all the content for the handouts I'll be providing in my workshop next week. Ugh.) And then I end up scrambling to get the important stuff done, and then it’s even more difficult to get it done, not to mention I’ve just proven myself right in thinking that it’s really hard.
My house may be clean, my closet may be organized, and to be fair, having these things done does help me concentrate. But in the grand scheme of things, if I don’t take massive action on the hard stuff first, I never get anywhere.
You see, I didn’t actually think I was procrastinating. I thought I was being productive and the excuse was that I was just so busy, like so many entrepreneurs are, that I just wasn’t making a lot of progress.
Being busy is kind of a bullshit excuse though, I’ve discovered.
I could stay busy every minute of the rest of my life and never get anything meaningful done.
I could just go get a job working for someone else. I mean, I’m relatively happy as a busy bee … I'd never have to do the hard stuff. I'd get to putter around and make things pretty. Put them in order and make everything perfect.
Until I got bored. I’ve always known that there was something big I was meant to do. I refuse to procrastinate making my big dreams come into reality just because I’m afraid and I’m hiding behind the excuse of perfectionism.
There IS plenty of time. I don’t have any less time than anyone else. I just have to decide what my priorities are and use that time differently.
Now, I block out the time on my calendar and I sit down and do the hard stuff first. The big stuff. The meaningful stuff. The stuff the moves the needle.
That's not to say the little stuff doesn't matter. I will still make my bed first thing every morning. But I will make conscious choices about the little things ... let the least important of them go.
And with all my free time left at the end of the day, I can putter and tidy, and make everything pretty, and fold my underwear into neat little packages. Or, I can go for a bike ride or a hike, or on some wild adventure. There’ll be plenty of time to do laundry later.
Now, I'd love to hear from you ... what's your favorite excuse for not getting the hard stuff done?? Please share in the comments below!