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Overcoming Procrastination

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By Jon Pratlett.

I know you are sometimes guilty of procrastinating and putting off important things that you wish you would just take action on.

I don’t enjoy writing! I used to have enormous difficulty creating blog posts, even though, when I did, clients found value in them. I would write one or two and then stop for a year!

So how did I overcome it? I didn’t – I just backed myself into a corner, so I had to do it. How?

When I put out Neuro-insight #1 and #2 over a year ago, a long term client got in touch and said these was just what she needed for her new global team. She asked if I would be putting them out weekly and if I would be willing for her to share them with her team, with the appropriate acknowledgement.

I agreed. So, the reason, first and foremost, I am writing this one now, is that she is expecting her next one #46 by 9am tomorrow morning. (Yes. I missed a few).

I made a promise, and because of that I put procrastination aside, begrudgingly. My promise put my back to the wall to get it done. It’s still a struggle, but it gets done. My wife edits them and cuts out my verbosity. And now I have a nice collection of Neuro-insights which I can keep adding to. Who knows, they could turn into a book!! Hopefully you find them of value, and you might even consider buying the book when it comes out!

I used this same strategy of making a promise, but added some pressure by doing it publicly in 1996-97. I was facilitating tens of People Skills workshops for a major bank. Part of the agenda involved goal setting, and to demonstrate the structure of an effective goal, I told each group of my own: “To quality for, and represent Australia at the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon in 2000 and finish in good health, with my family present, in under 12 hours”. I was a beginner triathlete at the time.

There were many times during the 3 years and qualifying races in the lead up to Hawaii when I wanted to give up and forget the whole thing. However, for me, the thought of running into someone from one of those workshops, who would inevitably ask me how I went, and telling them that, “Oh, I decided it wasn’t my thing” drove me on. My credibility was on the line.

2 Hawaii Ironman’s and 5 Australian Ironmans later I can hold my head high and say “I kept my promise.”

I also got a coach and joined his squad – two more strategies to keep me from procrastinating my way out of a very challenging assignment.


October 22, 2014
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