The latest story of my procrastination involves you. Of course, for no fault of yours. It wasn’t my intent either. It’s just the way things turned out. It got me to get to the bottom of something that plagues humankind and get more clear about procrastination!
You see, I send out a new edition of The OWL Despatch every other Tuesday. There was a time that I was regular at sending it out in the morning of every other Tuesday. Then it slipped into the late evening! The last time around, it was Wednesday by the time it hit your mailbox.
Clear About Procrastination
In half a fit of anger and the other half loaded with guilt, I decided to get to the bottom of it all. And ended up with Atomic Habits. A book to get clear about procrastination. I had to pause and ponder.
In my defence, it has genuinely been a busy and trying time. My hands have been more than full over the past few weeks. But having time is actually a pursuit of the important. If the important stuff rules, you win. It is simple. So, while time is a factor, it is not the only factor.
And James Clear introduced me to Akrasia. Akrasia, I read, was a greek word developed to describe “a state of acting against better judgement”. “It is”, he says, “when you do one thing even though you know you should do something else.” I was guilty as charged. When the world of immediate stuff that gives some relief or pleasures nudges away from the important things that need to be done, procrastination reigns.
So, what can be done?
It turns out that there are a bunch of things that can be done. Not everything fits everyone. I mean, not everything fits me! But here are two.
1. Designing Action
If you are in the market for overcoming procrastination like me, designing a specific set of actions help. For instance, I broke down some difficult conversations that I have been postponing to a bunch of things. Setting up the meeting, talking to other people to nudge me on setting it up. Taking on other commitments that would make my difficult conversations necessary to have. Thoughtful design and active support of people gives a great start and momentum.
This OWL Despatch comes to you with one such system. Lets see how the next one happens.
2. Visual Cues
The other thing that I read up, got excited about and put to action was to make it playful yet meaningful. For important items that I have been procrastinating about, I have tried drawing an image on a sticky note and letting it stay within eyesight. Now, my images elicit a laugh (more of a guffaw) or two. But they help the item stay on the agenda!
These, of course, are not rocket science material. But guess what, they have worked for me thus far. And as always, what’s on my mind features in what I write to you. This time, I am clear about procrastination!
My top picks for this edition
As always, here are five reads that you can dip into and perhaps wonder about the world around us.
1. Yuval Harari has never disappointed me. Well, except for that once he got talking to Mark Zuckerberg. Outside of that, his ability to string together words and leave you thinking is just short of magic. Read his full speech at the World Economic Forum at Davos here. The future is some confused place. We need to talk more about it.
2. The Unicorn is a mythical animal. In a world obsessed with larger than life personas and myths, here is a brilliant piece on ‘businesses that don’t scale’. It showcases four brilliant examples from around the world. Organisations that have withstood the test of time. Do read!
3. We live in a time where technology and what it can accomplish is spoken of with bated breath. I got to the piece because of its title: “Digital revolution has been a disappointment‘. And then nodded my head when it ended with “What I hope we have learned from our digital disappointments is that technology itself is never enough. We are truly the masters of our fate, for better or worse.”
4. The last time I was in Japan, I was struck by the number of people having a solo coffee or a lunch at coffee houses and restaurants. While I managed to strike up a conversation with a few of those people who were all by themselves, it was some experience listening to their stories. Check this piece out. I didn’t realise being ‘self-partnered’ was a status!
5. Clayton Christensen passed away. His work on disruptive innovation inspired me no end. But the one that catalysed my gorging of his other works was “How Will You Measure Your Life?” Founding Fuel published a delight of a tribute, written by Neelima Mahajan that I recommend.
Am getting there
I hope things settle down at my end faster than they seem possible. The quest is to find a better rhythm even whilst I work at all that works me up. I am getting better at not putting much off. No. Not perfect yet. Far from it. But better than before. Thank you for your patience. And of course, for reading and recommending.
Curated reads for the 49th edition of OWL Despatch
- Yuval Harari speech at the World Economic Forum 2020.
- Four examples of organisations that have withstood the test of time,without scaling.
- Digital revolution has been a disappointment.
- Solo-culture or Self-partnered in Japan.
- Clayton Christensen: How will you measure your life.
Image credits Pixabay