How many deadlines do you push out over and over again?
What projects have been on “the back burner” for months… or years?
Do you have big dreams that you believe you’ll never get around to because you know that procrastination keeps throwing out “buts” in your path?
In the Past Two Weeks
In two weeks I’ve gotten more done than I’ve accomplished in the past 5 years.
Yes, I know that is a very bold statement. It’s the truth.
Back in 2010 I began building my own business and by mid-2011 I dove head-first into online marketing, blogging and already had a successful ghostwriting business. My online reach was growing daily, I had two top-level “gurus” as my ghostwriting clients on weekly retainer and new business was coming in every week.
Here’s where I could tell you about all the drama-trauma and distractions that came up like whack-a-moles over and over again. If I’m completely truthful, the monster I was battling was deep within me. In fact, I had a whole collection of personal monsters that kept me up at night.
As I tried to hold those monsters off with one hand while keeping on top of my growing business with the other, everything collapsed.
That’s what the habit of using procrastination to handle life and work will do.
I Decided to Distrust Myself
It seemed like I’d let myself down the most while letting my clients, customers and family down. In an effort to seem in control, I dumped my business and all the progress I had made. In many ways, that was the right decision. If I can’t deliver excellence on time, I’m not an expert I want to work alongside, so how can I market myself as a business owner? No matter what unique copywriting, ghostwriting and marketing skills I had already begun to develop, my procrastination habit was canceling them out.
Handling the Procrastination Monster
For awhile, ok a long while, I blamed all kinds of external circumstances.
So I limited what I tried to accomplish. I came out of hiding just far enough to work with many more entrepreneurs and business owners, but I stayed invisible, afraid that I’d shoot myself in the foot again if I grew “too big” too fast. I hobbled along by building lots of wiggle room in my commitments so that I could seem to meet my commitments and wouldn’t appear to be procrastinating. In my own office, however, I’d set a deadline, procrastinate, move the deadline and do the entire thing over and over again.
It seemed I’d never conquer the procrastination monster!
Finally, a Breakthrough!
And then I got completely sick of all the stress. All the back-and-forth deadline settings only to let myself down in this repeating cycle was giving me headaches and stomachaches, not to mention way too many sleepless nights. So with the help of a mindset coach I dug in deep! And this is what I discovered about my procrastination habit:
It had nothing to do with procrastination!
(Don’t you love surprise endings?)
Well, this surprise ending wasn’t exactly wonderful, in my opinion. What?! Couldn’t I just find a system or a trick or something to get around this years-and-years-long habit?
Turns out the way to stop procrastinating on work was to start proactively developing three very odd-seeming habits.
Don’t Procrastinate… Pro-Activate
Choose who I am (who I will BE not what I will DO) first thing each day.
Choose to place self-care, recharging my batteries and my personal growth first–every day.
Choose what I want to accomplish on a weekly basis, while letting the daily to-dos ebb and flow.
Finally, I Chose to Trust Myself Again
Slowly, I inched out of the shadows as I learned that those “old” skills that I’d been hiding behind the Rock Stars I worked with hadn’t gone anywhere! And more quickly than I could have imagined beforehand, I was “suddenly” hitting deadline after deadline. Not only had I learned how to more accurately set those deadlines (since I didn’t have to fudge and cover-up for myself anymore) but I also knew much more accurately how long tasks would take me.
Fail Forward, Speak Better, Write Better
Since 2010 I’ve been struggling to name what I do, who I want to BE professionally and therefore, what I write and teach. Having dug deep and done “the work” to move procrastination off my plate, those keywords, key phrases and core messages I bring to the table were “suddenly” clear as crystal.
And in two weeks I went from idea to launch for my very first full 6-module training course, Writing Copy for Authors, the first course in an entire new series of courses I’m developing for The Book Ninja… Ninja Writing Moves!!!
The Irony–These Past Two Weeks Were Crazy!
My kids were home for Winter Break for most of that time (our church school has a late Winter break), and I developed a terrible flu that took my voice during the week between when I outlined the course and when I had set the deadline to record it! If I’d have wanted to, I had a lot of good “reasons” for postponing. I wouldn’t even have had to call it procrastination.
But having declared the deadline, it was easier to just do the work-tasks than it was to put it off.
All that to Say. Write the Copy–First, Last or in the Middle–of Your Next Project!
The clarity could free a lot more than just your next best seller from obscurity or your awesome journals from the slow road to success. Maybe, just possibly, the clarity you find by declaring those squirrelly keywords, key phrases and other writing copy concepts from this training program, you will find yourself miles ahead of where you thought you’d be this year.