How to procrastinate like a professional
When I worked full-time (and a half) in the corporate world, I was a real self-starter, focussed, driven (read too driven) and to be honest, didn’t really need a boss to drive me - the very fact that there was accountability, hard targets and push-push-push was enough to propel me to prove my worth and vie for top-dog slot.
Now I am my own boss and I dictate my worth and how hard I work - essentially my WHAT, my WHEN, my HOW, my WHO & my WHY.
Working for yourself IS amazing and 2018 allowed me to truly understand my worth is not tied up in productivity, numbers and killing yourself, especially for someone else’s success. And this is all fantastic.
Yep there’s a BUT.
It also means I have to manage myself. I am my own boss. This is a great phrase “being your own boss”, but it actually has practical implications too. The later part of 2018 I rather lost my way - I was emotionally and physically exhausted, with very little motivation for all things “business growth” and would quite happily have just floated away on a pink cloud and stayed there. In the employed world, my lack of mojo would have carried no weight at all - can you imagine heading into the office and saying to the MD, “I’m just not feeling it today” 😂.
And yes these are the perks of working for yourself. You DO get to say “I’m not feeling it today” and the world won’t stop spinning. But what if that happens more days than it doesn’t? What if your commitment is wobbly, your distraction easy and your mojo is most definitely a mo-no?
That’s where I ended up by the end of 2018. On the one hand I was so very motivated to make a success of my business, it was a hard NO going back to the corporate world after all; but on a day-to-day basis, I just couldn’t get it together. I was easily distracted, I would do any-damn-thing before I would sit and work for focused periods of time. Sometimes whole days would pass and I couldn’t tell you what I’d distracted myself with all day long. Not great for a life coach right?
Side note - being a life coach does not exempt you from being a human and we will struggle with all the same challenges, all the same insecurities, all the same mental health issues as you do. We just might be a bit better than average at spotting them and calling them what they are: Life!
So, back to the story. Just to add a certain “je ne sais quoi” into my challenge, I made a huge house move in December and my eldest daughter Lucy and I got a house together in the beautiful Cotswolds in the UK. So 2019 dawned, most of the unpacking chaos was behind us and I had to start getting on with getting on. The rent will not pay itself after all.
Lucy and I had a bit of a “put your heads together” session the other evening and we got to talking about what exactly I did all day when I wasn’t actually coaching. Pfffft - deep exhale - couldn’t answer. I hadn’t had clients that day and on reflection I actually couldn’t tell you a single thing I’d done all day that was especially useful to my business.
Yep I’d cleaned the kitchen, emptied the dishwater, tidied up, done yoga, meditated (both of which are great). I’d changed the cat litter, done a bit (lot) of social scrolling, answered a few emails and made dinner. But not a whole lot else. All day! I wouldn’t mind if this had been an intentional-rest-day, or a slowly-get-back-into-it day, but it was a get-shit-done day and no shit had got done.
At this point Lucy is looking at me, with that kind of “WTF” look on her face that only people that don’t work for themselves get, when they ask you why you’re not hustling 24/7 given there’s bills to pay; and she asks me this question:
“if you were managing you, what would you do about your current err, work performance”?
Oh how I wanted to say I’d be kind and patient and tolerant and generous but the truth is: I’d probably have sacked me by now for underperformance or at the very least, be actively performance managing me.
So I went away from that conversation a touch humbler than before, with a vow to protect my work time (from myself) more voraciously, a commitment to be a bit braver and just say the things that need saying, even if they sound like nonsense and to make that one obvious ask: I am a Life & Leadership Coach, I make my living by helping extraordinary humans to belong to themselves and foster true belonging in their lives, communities and workplace, would you like to work with me?
A quick trip back to that side note above before we go: I also vowed to be kinder to myself, to nurture the brilliance my higher self knows I do have, to remind myself that being human is as tough for me as it is for everyone else, to understand that I can begin again every single day and that I could just keep going with a little bit of courage, a little bit of patience and take that one small step forward that gets me closer to my goals.
THIS IS ONE OF THOSE SMALL STEPS.
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