UBC Day 05: The Art of Procrastination

Earlier this year, I read an article in Psychology Today called Procrastination: Oops, Where Did the Day Go? and thought it would make a great blog post. The article highlighted our proclivity to put things off, why we do it and how we can overcome this behavior.

In PR, there is no time to procrastinate. When getting a message out, time is of the essence. I strive to keep ahead of things, floating many balls in the air at any given time. I do this daily – and until now hadn’t given it much thought. Yet when it comes to getting my personal sh*t together, I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes putting things off; simple silly things such as sending an email, booking an appointment or getting my homework done. (Did I mention that I’m doing a Degree in my ‘spare’ time?)

Doing homework is a huge area of procrastination for me. Most of the courses I take are online or self study – meaning that as long as I have everything done and handed in at the end of the course, I’m good. I start with the best of intentions, telling myself that this time I will get a head start and do the course work consistently over the allotted six months. I praise myself for being so proactive in my planning.

Then here’s what really happens: I f**k around for three or four months, telling myself that I have plenty of time. Then hustle during the last few to get it done. What this tells me is that I can actually do the work in half the allotted time, but rather than starting with a bang and finishing early, I leave it to the last minute.

If there is one thing that I’ve learned about myself it’s that I work better under a deadline. The tighter the deadline, the more I produce. Ever need something to get done? Give it to a person who is busy. Busy people get more done. PR pros are busy people. Information is constantly changing and it’s our job to be ‘in the know’. There’s a great quote by Will Rogers that goes “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” But back to me procrastinating on my homework.

In the article Procrastination: Oops, Where Did the Day Go? the author suggests that we procrastinate for three main reasons:

  1. We put off things we don’t like to do or that upset us in some way.
  2. Because our intentions are anemic—vague and weak.
  3. We’re easily distracted, and some of us are highly impulsive.

Hmmm. Let’s see.

  1. I want the Degree, but I don’t like doing the homework.
  2. If I’m honest about it, my attempts to “get a jump start” are pretty weak.
  3. I have a huge case of A-DOS: Attention Deficient Ohhhhh Shiny!

To overcome procrastination, the article suggests that one of the “simplest and most effective solutions is to just get started—anywhere on a task.”  Okay, okay, I get it. Start small, but just get started. And I’m gonna do just that… tomorrow.

UBC Day 02: Something you regret not having done last year.

So it’s officially day two of the blog challenge and here’s the second topic… writing about something that I regret not having done last year.

This one is a bit of a thinker as I declared that last year was going to be “my year”… and I felt it kinda was. I decided it was time to leave the Rogers’ mother ship and head back out into the world, and did. Last year I found balance and guess I can say that I regret not making the hard decisions earlier. Funny thing about regret though, it really gets you nowhere… and by living in the past mulling over missed opportunities and regrets we don’t allow ourselves to be open to future experiences. Last year, “my year”, I opened myself to new experiences and tried new things. One of those things was to join a local roller derby league and learn to referee. At the time I was too chicken to join as a player and once immersed I quickly realized that this was in fact what I wanted to do – I’ve never been one to sit on the sidelines. But instead I continued to Ref as I wanted to honor my original commitment and am only this year training to be a player.

Regardless of what the commitment is, personal or professional, my word is my word. And in PR, your word is what can make or break your credibility. (See how I tied that back to PR?) In any position, but especially in the PR industry, credibility is the backbone of success. If you don’t have your credibility, you don’t have anything but regret. And regret we’ve already determined, is counterproductive. Life is about looking at every opportunity presented, determining if it’s right for you, right now. If it’s not, then move on.  Regret for missed opportunities comes down to fear. The opportunity was the right one and the timing was probably right too, but fear got in the way…

This is what happened with me and roller derby. I wanted to play, but was fearful. As I look back on my last year of reffing, keeping my commitment may have put me a bit behind in my derby ‘career’, but it did provide me with an advantage – I know how to play by the rules.

Ultimate Blog Challenge

One of the things that I struggle with blogging, is that I always feel what I post has to be insightful. But sometimes a girl just has to write – and make time to write everyday. So I’ve decided to challenge myself have signed up to do the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July.  The purpose… just to get me writing daily. And I’m already a day behind so you’re gonna get two posts from me today. I’m combining this challenge with a 30-day topic list to help get my creative juices flowing. My goal is to hopefully tie all these random topics back to PR. We’ll see how it goes…

Day 01: Something you’re looking forward to this year.

Well that’s easy! I’m looking forward to IBC2012, in September in Amsterdam. I’m excited to be heading to Amsterdam, a first for me, to meet the other half of our sales team. I’m looking forward to learning first-hand about our European market so that when I draft our communications plan, I’ll be better informed. I’m excited about the press conference that my team is organizing – it’s gonna rock! I’m just sayin’…

One of the things that I’m struck by every day is how much I look forward to going to work. HA! I can heard everyone scoff… Yeah everyone looooves going to work…. Well I do. I’m not saying that there aren’t days where I’d rather stay in bed, I’m saying that I like my job and kinda feel like I won the lottery. It’s an incredible journey and I see where my contributions make a difference.

So I guess with this ramble, I’m saying that I’m looking forward to the journey AND the destination.