I’m listening to a great, short audiobook about procrastination (something I’m very good at) by Dr. Timothy Pychyl called Solving the Procrastination Puzzle.
It’s really good. It’s really well-researched. It’s really helpful.
And it’s really obvious.
Like, I feel like I’ve read this all before.
What’s the first step in defeating procrastination?
Yep: just get started.
And then: remove distractions before they present themselves.
It’s good advice, really. Dr. Pychyl is one of the world’s renowned experts on procrastination, and he’s spent years at an academic level studying how to prevent it.
But guess what the problem is for me? When I sit down to work, each and every day, you know what my problem is?
That’s just it: I know what the issue is. I know the remedy, the solution. I just don’t do it.
Is there anything in your author career that’s like that? Maybe “writing every day” or “posting to social media three times a week?”
Or, better yet, “waiting until I’ve got a better dataset before making a decision to cancel/change/duplicate my ad?”
Thing is, we often know the problem and the solution. We know we need to do X or Y in our career in order for A or B to happen, but…
…we don’t do it.
It’s not just as simple as procrastination, or reading a book like Dr. Pychyl’s would solve the problem.
I think the problem is that there’s often too many answers. There are too many solutions! Our issues wouldn’t just be resolved by knowing what we think we should do, and then just starting — because then we get into the issue of wondering if the solution we’ve chosen, the one we’ve picked to help us double down with that ad or that cover or those edits, was the right solution.
What’s the meta solution, then? What’s the answer to “how do I just get started?”
It’s easy: expect to fail.
That’s right. Embrace the suck. Plan to fail. Know that your perfectly crafted advertising strategy that you’ve honed over years and are finally ready to implement and dammit procrastination won’t get me because I’m ready to just start is going to fail.
Perhaps it’ll be subtle.
Perhaps it’ll be epic.
But expect it. Know that your plan won’t survive first contact with the enemy — in this case, the real world.
Don’t let it hold you back. Don’t let it force you to regroup, rethink, re-strategize.