Outsmarting procrastination

I’m always leafing through those self-help books from the second-hand bookshelves, but I never end up reading them. The last one that looked promising was a 21-Day Countdown to nirvana that promised to show you how to overcome inertia, simplify a cluttered life, and harness your inner life’s mission. I didn’t get past the seventh day. Maybe it doesn’t work unless you pay full price.

Here’s a completely free procrastination download that looks promising, an ebook called The Little Guide To Beating Procrastination, Perfectionism and Blocks: A Manual for Artists, Activists, Entrepreneurs, Academics and Other Ambitious Dreamers, by Hillary Rettig, http://www.hillaryrettig.com. I’m already more than halfway through, a good omen.

At its most insidious, procrastination disguises itself as a slew of productive-seeming, but not actually productive, behaviors that suck up a lot of time and give you the illusion of progress, but bring you no closer to achieving your goal.  So, you spend a lot of time doing relatively unimportant busywork for your business, but don’t actually go out and do the most important activity of all, sales. Or, you spend a lot of time reading art magazines and visiting galleries, but don’t actually paint. Or, you keep researching your novel or thesis topic, but don’t actually get around to writing it – or you keep rewriting the same chapter over and over again.

Retting’s examples of unproductive behaviors are housework, television, and surfing the net (oops). Productive behaviors include flossing and taking vitamins.  Hmm.

It is a pretty good pep-talk.

The Most Important Thing You Need to Know About Your Obstacles

The most important thing you need to know about your obstacles is that all of them can be overcome.

It doesn’t matter who you are, how you were raised, what race, religion, nationality or sex you are, or how much money you have. All of your obstacles can be overcome.

Overcoming an obstacle may not be easy. It may not be fun. It may take months, years or even decades. It may take time and money. But it can be done.

Your habits of perfectionism, negativity, hypersensitivity and panic can be overcome.

Your logistical obstacles – lack of preparation, information, support – can be overcome.

Your situational obstacles – bad job, bad relationships, disability or chronic illness – can be overcome, at least in part.

I’ll say it again: ALL of your obstacles can be overcome.

By “overcome,” I mean eliminated, minimized or compensated for.

Time to think about climbing a mountain.

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