Just do it.

ProcrastinationOn Friday I had some terrible news. A family friend died very suddenly of a heart attack. He was 66.

I am sad, not least because I think of his wife, and his three daughters, and wonder how they are feeling and how they will cope. But 66 just seems too young. With my own birthday looming at the end of this week, I feel that sense of ‘Life’s Too Short’ even more keenly, somehow.

I’ve also been working intensely this week with a client on the issue of procrastination. We’ve been discussing what happens in our brains when we procrastinate, and how easily distracted we can become from what we REALLY want or need to do, by little things that give us a sense of instant gratification. So the big goals stay far away, because we don’t get around to doing the things that will move us closer to where we actually want to go.

I’m no stranger to procrastination myself. I can put things off indefinitely if I let myself. Here at Human Nature we have had great fun reading this blog on procrastination (you should read it, it’s absolutely BRILLIANT and had me crying with laughter), and seeing the same patterns and behaviours in ourselves. I’d already made a pact with myself to start calling myself out for procrastination, and it’s really quite phenomenal that when you find a tactic for dealing with it, and learn how to take baby steps towards a big, far away goal, how quickly you can make progress. So I felt I was doing not too bad….

The big goals can be scary. Sometimes we’re more comfortable with them being far away, because that way we can’t see them close up and in all their scariness. To get to them, we have a bunch of big, and sometimes scary, tasks to do. Not doing often them seems easier than doing them. We stick with the familiar instead, busying ourselves with all sorts of ‘urgent’ tasks so we can get a shot of instant gratification for having completed those, often convincing ourselves that we are simply too busy to get to the big goal stuff.  I know this is something I have a big tendency to do!

But this week has certainly stiffened my resolve. I’ve done my fair share of thinking ‘some day’. I don’t do that any more. I know that if I want to make things happen, I have to make them happen. And that I can only do it if I do something. So I’m doing. I’m focusing on the important stuff.

Our family friend achieved wonderful things in his life. He was dearly loved by his family and friends. It breaks my heart that he and his wife cannot enjoy the retirement they had planned together. My biggest hope is that she can look back on the life they had together and feel that they made the absolute most of it.

Life really is too short to spend it procrastinating on the important stuff. More than that, it’s too precious. What important stuff are you putting off? How are you going to get started on it?


© Liz Wootton, 2013. All Rights Reserved.


5 thoughts on “Just do it.

  1. themindedmind says:

    So often we can forget that we are mortal beings. We don’t have all the time that we think we have living from day to day. Thinking about death can remind us this difficult fact and help propel us to act. I’m sorry for your loss. Thank you for pulling positivity out of this hard time.


    • Liz at Human Nature says:

      Thank you so much for your comment, David. I agree with you. But this difficult time has made me really determined not to forget about my mortality (in a good way – I don’t mean I’m going to go around being all depressed that one day I will die!), so that I can always propel myself to act. Thanks 🙂

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