Q6: How Do I Decide What’s “Real” Work?

“Procrastination tasks that almost look like real work – the “I’ll just create some art for that calendar” detour instead of the harder, more linear tasks that would move me further forward.”
When I wrote to my Small Business Big Magic group about why weren’t they blogging more, my Feedly feed being void of their creative output and me missing it, K replied:
“I do a bit, but I seem to go through bursts. Right now it’s a “write articles and blog to avoid real work” phase that I need to break free from.”
K’s distinction is very interesting to me. He sees writing articles and blogging as a way to avoid real work. I see both of those as real work. And I note your distinction too, although yours look very much more like “proper” procrastination detours. And you are right.
In my “real work” as K would call it, I do not procrastinate mainly due to long decades of experience, high levels of discipline, self-discipline and habit, all of which can be trained into you by the way. Also high levels of motivation and inspiration, neither of which need training. Currently, I can’t wait to get up and get at it, however much I LOVE a lie in. And oh boy, do I love a lie in. Even on Saturdays and Sundays, I want to get up and get to my work when I am on fire with it, as I have been writing this book.
But when I started to write, I found new levels (depths?) of previously undiscovered, and unexplored procrastination I didn’t even know existed down there, and I certainly didn’t know I had the capacity to enjoy them so much!
I’ve discovered it is very much a part of my creative writing habit, to fanny and faff about for a bit first. In the end, I bore myself and I turn to. I think also this procrastination opportunity is very much facilitated by it being August which alongside it already having a lovely laid-back quasi-holiday vibe means I also have time to procrastinate over my writing ‘cos that’s pretty much all I have scheduled myself to do this month. I am off from the podcast and off from my 1-2-1 clients. If I were as busy as normal months, I wouldn’t have the luxury of this. And it does feel quite luxurious.
But I notice that I am running out of time. Everything’s relative of course, but I gave myself August to write the book or at least get the words out, and it’s 21st already and I have more than ten days’ work left and I had planned to take off the entirety of the final week. I suspect my procrastination will have cost me that.
That’s a good point, isn’t it? What is your procrastination costing you? You have sent me a few questions about avoidance which prompts me to think of what a proper coach would ask you – what’s the anti-goal? How do you win by doing the tasks that almost look like real work?
Work that out, then bust it. Trick yourself into doing it the other way. You could go for simple bribery as I often do – no coffee until X, no watching Mike and Harvey in Suits until Y etc. Ha! Had to do that earlier this month when doing someone’s accounts as I am sure you read me say on Facebook. In my normal work where I do marketing so that I can be with clients, in neither of those do I procrastinate. Just in this area of being an author.
Now, where’s that article about Procrastination being a good and creative thing? Oh yes, here it is. I hesitate to give you even more permission to go round the houses but I wonder what it would be like to think of it positively rather than negatively? Try it on for size and let me know. “According to research”. It must be true then! LOL
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Your Biz Your Way

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