Do you punish yourself for procrastinating by sitting at your computer hour after hour, even though you’re not being productive in the slightest?
Yeah, me too.
It’s like I’m not allowed to get up until I do the work I’m supposed to be doing (a holdover from the days when Mom wouldn’t let me play until I cleaned my room — so I just sat there, too stubborn to give in.)
We know where that leads, don’t we? It leads to Facebook, my friend. Or Twitter. Or a hundred thousand other tempting online distractions. We work harder at avoiding our work than we do actually working. It’s exhausting.
In his inspiring book about conquering resistance, Turning Pro, Steven Pressfield says this behavior is an addiction to distraction.
Back in the 90s, when this World Wide Web thing was just a baby, news anchors and parents loudly worried about “Internet Addiction,” remember? You don’t hear about that any more, do you? The reason: news anchors (and yes, I used to be one) and parents (still am) are now just as addicted to the web as everyone else.
Well, in spite of all the 90s jokes about 12-step programs for mouse potatoes, there is no rehab for flakes. We have to go it alone. Or do we? After all, there are millions of flakes out there — why not help each other? I’m not saying we need to organize Flakes Anonymous (let’s face it, that would NEVER work) but we can band together, two by two or more, and be work buddies.
I do this on Skype with a group of four friends (who aren’t flakes but they are amazingly understanding and patient). We meet formally once a week to ‘mastermind’ and help each other find solutions to business problems, but we also meet informally almost every day for what we call work sessions. (While I work on my ebook during Kelly Kingman’s Contentpalooza challenge, I’m calling them write-jams.)
We declare what we’re going to work on, set a timer for 30 minutes or an hour, and check back in when the timer goes off. Rinse, repeat — all day, if we’re on a roll.
This simple group effort has done more than anything else to help me become more productive and less flaky.
We urge each other on, commiserate, and encourage. We keep each other on task and accountable — without judgment. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough judgment and criticism in my life. What I need, and get, from my friends is support to help me face my fears and find strategies that help me get shit done in spite of myself.
Find a supportive work buddy or three and give it a try — you may be shocked by your results.