Procrastination Reveals Priorities

Late in 2014 I was asked to do some technical coaching for a member of the WordPress community. It amounted to much of what I get paid to do for clients already.

  • Teach deployment protocols/process
  • Git coaching
  • Code reviews
  • Other things I already do

I’ve got to admit that I was very interested in the work. I had a phone chat and exchanged a few emails about it with the potential client.

When we finally got down to the logistics of how the coaching would work, I let emails sit.

Two weeks went by then I apologized and got things back on track.

Then another email sat for 7 days, for no real reason. Sure, I was busy but I got back to lots of other emails in the same time frame with no issues.

Inaction speaks louder than words – Mike Vardy, Productivityist

What I eventually acknowledged was that while I was interested in coaching, I wasn’t as interested in technical coaching.

I want to coach business owners and help them run better businesses.

It sits

I used to beat myself up over prospect emails I didn’t get back to right away. I’d try out some new CRM tool or productivity method because it would ‘fix my email reply problem’.

None of them worked at all.

I still let some prospects sit for a week or more without reply.

I didn’t want to work with them

What I realized was that these clients really didn’t fit my picture of the ideal client. I wasn’t truly interested in the work; I was only interested in the money the work would bring. One thing I’ve learned about myself is that money alone is a poor motivator.

So I let myself off the hook. Now, if a prospect email sits for more than 48 hours without major outside circumstances (like children in the hospital), I just politely decline the project.

I turn the work down.

What about ideas?

Let’s take this idea one step further and apply it to the wealth of awesome ideas you have for side projects.

Is there a great idea on your ‘do now’ list that you just can’t seem to get to? If so, then ask yourself if you really want to do this great new thing — or does it just seem like a good idea for some other reason?

I’m not talking about ideas you spent 20 minutes brainstorming and filed away for later. I’m talking about projects you’ve started but dropped, and now never seem to find time to pick back up.

Like the CRM/PM tool I started and haven’t looked at for months.

For a while I felt guilty ignoring this project, then I realized that while it was interesting, it wasn’t something I was really passionate about, nor was it the place I can add the most value to the community around me.

Get honest

Now it’s time to be honest with yourself. Look at your To Do list and delete the things you’re never really going to do and you would never pay someone to do.

Figure out where you provide the most value and focus there.

Removing those things from your list will remove a huge weight from your life. You’ll get to walk around feeling free again. And you’ll dedicate proper energy to those tasks you do keep around, instead of expending huge amounts of mental energy feeling bad about things that you shouldn’t be doing anyway.

photo credit: bruceywan cc

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