Stop Procrastinating and Start Doing
“Motion makes you feel like you‘re getting things done. But really, you’re just preparing to get something done. When preparation becomes a form of procrastination, you need to change something. You don’t want to merely be planning. You want to be practicing.” James Clear Atomic Habits
If you’re starting at square one, whether it’s a reboot of a habit you used to have or starting something new altogether, don’t confuse being busy with accomplishing something.
Chances are you’ve heard some version of this before from a parent, a coach, or some other authority figure trying to teach you something. My dad used to drop gems like these between digging into his hilariously deep bag of insults he’d pepper my way when he used to catch me sneaking peeks at the “idiot box” or slacking off instead of cleaning or doing homework.
Funny thing is what used to go in one ear and out the other when I was young now rings true with the perspective that comes with age and making your own way.
Case in point: I spend too much of the precious little blog time I have on auxiliary tasks like reading, doing keyword research, making images, and a whole slew of other things that aren’t writing blog posts. Recently I had a pretty good grammar learning routine that I was convinced was going to be the key to start producing really good content.
Spoiler alert: It didn’t.
Prioritize What’s Important
While important, none of those things are a good substitute for sitting down and writing. Read only things directly related to the post you’re about to write and only for the time it takes to get the required information. Stop trying to find the perfect keywords. Use stock images from free image sites. Don’t prioritize secondary tasks at the expense of knuckling down and making progress.
”If you want to master a habit, the key is to start with repetition, not perfection. You don’t need to map out every feature of a new habit. You just need to practice it. This is the first takeaway of the 3rd Law: you just need to get your reps in.” James Clear Atomic Habits
If you’re a writer then sit down and write, if you’re an athlete then practice your sport, and if you’re a politician then dig in and make the world a worse place. Stop getting caught up in being in motion when you should be taking action.
What habit or skill are you trying to improve upon? Are you using auxiliary tasks as a form of procrastination?
Get a sheet of paper, write the primary habit or skill you’re trying to improve upon on the top line, and any time you find yourself prioritizing any auxiliary task over the primary write it down on a line below the primary skill. Awareness is a crucial step in addressing the issue.