Productive Procrastination

Day 1 of Seth Godin’s “Your Turn Challenge” – Tumblr

Nineteen days ago, we were all greeted by the shiny, new, opportunity laden gift of 2015.  For the first time in recent memory however, my first impulse was not to sit down and crank out the obligatory resolutions list.  Thanks in large part to recent events — in December I decided to leave a company I co-founded in 2012 and also moved from SoCal to NorCal — I decided that a mind cleansing January would be the best use of my time prior to planning “next steps”.  Not even three weeks in however, I’m worried that the January “mind cleanse” I imagined — tackling the entrepreneurial “must reads”, online classes, open-ended brainstorming, TED talks — is not actually what I need.  Let me explain…

Anybody with the desire to tackle the “Your Turn” challenge is surely, like me, aware of and overwhelmed with the amount of content available online…this includes content that relates to personal development.  The web now offers an infinite selection of resources for self-education, self-motivation, self-improvement…many of which are free of charge.  While this juices me beyond words — what a gift! — the prospect of tackling all of this content is obviously unrealistic and, arguably, acts as an “always available” alternative to actually getting something done.  To actually “shipping.”

My January 1 brain assumed the following if / then statements (for example) would prove accurate: “I hammered out Ed Catmull’s ‘Creativity, Inc.‘ this week, so I’m one step closer to being that creative person I need to be in order to finish that business plan;” or “I sat through the entirety of my Khan Academy queue, so now I’m ready to start that new project.”  To the contrary, the more time I spend on the activities that were intended to prepare me for my next idea / next business / next project, the more unsatisfied I am with my progress.  Sure, I’m learning.  Sure, I’m being productive.  Sure, my January 19 brain has been enriched by this month of maintenance…but I don’t think it’s convinced that I’m any more prepared to approach projects I was “not ready” not start on January 1st.

Long story long, my desire to break this habit of productive procrastination is why I’ve jumped into the “Your Turn” challenge.  I need to ship.  I WANT to ship.  Every moment of every day.  The development of this habit tops my (non-existent) 2015 resolutions list.  Even after a short three weeks away from the entrepreneurial rat race, I’m convinced that the brain equation I’ve been trusting — “learn all there is to know, then you’ll be ready” — is actually having the opposite effect.  I’m more reticent to act, to run with the rough draft, to submit the imperfect version.  Cheers to day one of it being “my turn” to do the opposite.

Productive Procrastination

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