Procrastinating, Bike Ride, Video Game

Today I rode my bike. So what?

Well, I hadn’t done it in over two weeks. Yup, I’m a sounding board and coach, often my clients ask me to hold them accountable, yet I hadn’t got my procrastinating self on my bike for over two weeks.

I realise that procrastinating is a theme that recurs on this blog (hmm), so today some recycled thoughts and some fresh ones that may help you with your own procrastination.

Know thyself

“Know thyself” is a distillation of the wisdom of Socrates.

When it comes to our human tendency to procrastinate, we all are unique, we all have different needs for structure and for fluidity to get things done.

Where do you work?

For me, I have worked independently for over twenty-five years and am very comfortable working from anywhere, including from home. I’m also very comfortable working solo for extended periods of time. At no stage do I procrastinate, I always get to work behind my desk (well, chair, table, sofa, wherever) and work a full day.

Many other people feel they need to leave where they live and go into an office or another workspace (eg co-working space) in order to focus. Someone else I know is so used to working remotely that, though they are now senior in their business and have a corner office walking distance from their home, when they are at home instead of on the road, instead they prefer to go to a rotation of coffee shops each day, working about ninety minutes in each before getting up and walking to the next one. That is the structure they need.

What do you work on?

This one is also common to all of us to some degree. If we create a “To Do” list and put on it a) all the Urgent items, then b) all the Important items, which do you think we do first?

Yup, commonly we focus on the Urgent and never get to the Important, which, for me, creates immense frustration when I don’t get to the Important.

I won’t talk about structures and tips on this issue here, other than to say that I’ve done two things over the years to support getting to the Important work. First, I’ve eliminated as much extraneous “busy work” from my life and work as possible. Editing one’s life and work takes discipline in this world of materialism, achievements, titles, yet I was inspired by a saying from Chip Conley of: “we spend the first half of our lives acquiring, the second half is for us to spend editing”.

What do you work on, the Urgent or the Important?

What do you need to make sure you exercise?

Some people are disciplined and exercise independently all the time, such as going to the gym alone, working out in their own home, going for a run etc.

Me? Typically I have preferred accountability, such as booking and paying for a spin class, pilates training, yoga etc. Book it and pay for it and I will show up.

I also played Basketball for years, then Squash, now cycling. In each of those, they were at a set time and with others depending on me to show up.

Now recently I decided to stop spinning classes for the winter and instead bought a geeky and very cool “smart trainer” so that I could train indoors on the really fun Zwift app that has gamified indoor cycle training. As it shows in the picture, you ride with others, it also tracks everything from your heart rate to your power, leg speed, speed you travel at and more.

The smart trainer also really adds to it, as it varies the resistance as the incline on the course you ride on changes, so it really mimics the ride conditions.

Cool, huh? So why haven’t I gone on my bike indoors for two weeks? Well, there was nothing to hold me accountable. Crazy huh? I can do this for work easily, but seemingly not for riding a bike even with the cool Zwift stuff.

Now, I’m not someone who buys exercise gear for the home that then sits in the corner (you know who you are!), so I know what to do here. First I’ve asked one of my riding buddies to hold me accountable to train by us messaging each other. Second, and key, I’m going to join a group training programme on Zwift that, if I don’t ride at the assigned frequency, I will be locked out of the group. That will be sufficient structure for me!

What do you need to make sure you exercise?

More on Procrastinating

As promised, for deeper reading, some past blogs.

The irony of this could be that you look at all of those during your working day rather than do the Important work!

If you are, though, struggling with procrastination in one part of life or other, perhaps do read them when you can make the time. Also, a seminal book on this is “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. A very short and easy read, full of powerful ways to support us.

Also published on Medium.