In these uncertain times, our challenge is no longer to move faster. The real challenge is to move wisely. Whoever thinks that incessant action would translate into money, success (whatever your definition is), health and happiness is running the risk of being tremendously disappointed.
In these uncertain times, it is critical to choose wisely what we do. This implies to consciously eliminate some tasks and worries. Then again many of us do not even know the concept of the “not to do list”. Many of us do not even consider the possibility of not doing something mentioned in our to-do list. The to-do list rules our life. The list is “holy”. It should be the other way around: our life is Holy.
Fortunately our wisdom is silently saving us quite often. Our wisdom shouts at us silently. This reminds me one of the gems of the MBA: Watzlawick. His first Axiom reads: One Can Not Not Communicate. He explains “Behavior has no opposite; one cannot not behave”. This means that all we do (and don’t) says something. Procrastination is talking to you. What is it saying?
Last week, I had scheduled to look for venues for a workshop. It just didn’t get done. Instead of getting angry at myself for being lazy, distracted, disorganized, etc. I asked myself what my procrastinating was telling me. It was telling me that I just didn’t want to do that workshop. It didn’t fit anymore in my vision of the future. I want to serve my customers in a different and new way. So, I discussed it with my business partner. Can you imagine! It was quite a step to take: tell her I didn’t want to go ahead. The outcome was great. She also did not see fit with her current strategy. We both were relieved! We got more time in our hands and our relationship also became even more solid.
I am personally fascinated by what we chose not to do. Quite often we chose them by “accident”. That’s what people call procrastination. What if we stopped calling procrastination procrastination? What if we started calling procrastination wisdom? How would our life be if we stop judging ourselves and just listen to the message of our procrastination/our wisdom?
I propose you the following exercise. Every 2 weeks choose your main “let down”, that activity that didn’t get done. Choose the one that cause you more negative emotion. Talk to your wisdom, ask it:
- Why didn’t I do this? What is the real reason why I didn’t do it?
- What would happen if I never get to do this? What’s the impact of not doing it at all? Does it really need to get done?
- Does it fit in my own vision of the future? Is there any meaning in this task now in my current moment?
- Do I find it boring? Senseless? Silly? Bureaucratic?
- Am I scared of it? Do I find it just too big? Or too difficult?
- Do I really need to do it myself? Can I delegate it? Can I automate it? Can I outsource it?
- Do I want to get it so right, so right that I get paralyzed? What happens if I never do it vs. doing it imperfectly?
Ask your wisdom as many questions as you want. Listen. Listen carefully. Your wisdom has harmonious answers for the most challenging situations.
After analyzing it from different perspectives, take a decision: Do you still want to do it? When will it actually get done? If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly. Let’s go beyond perfectionism. If your answer is negative, you chose not to do it, be proud of yourself. You are consciously building who you are, just like Michelangelo took away the marble that covered his sculptures.
Life is not about getting things done, it is about joyful growth to become our own person. Procrastination is in our life to teach us something. It is our duty to ask the right question. Listen. Listen. Listen. Your life will be transformed.