This is one of the most insidious methods of self-sabotage because you think you’re being productive, rather than the type of procrastination where you are an obvious lazy bum. It’s an illusion. It can be performance mentality. “Look busy, the boss is here” even if the boss is only you.
We all know better than to spend time watching cat videos on Facebook, but we can come up with some legit looking ways to fool ourselves about how we’re really spending our time.
You have something you need to do that is not urgent, yet it is important. That thing, if you did it would be huge for you. It might even be your breakthrough. Many of your other complications and busy work would become non-issues. Yet you put it off because it looks hard, uncomfortable, big or scary. You may not even be aware you have an aversion to it. You simply find other things to do. You stay “too busy for that right now.” Most of the time, procrastination is fear.
You might need some external input to see if and how this is playing out in your life. What things in your business do you need to put focus on that would blow the lid off? It’s not always easy to know. It will usually be something that only you can do. You can’t outsource it. It demands your personality, skill set, raw talent or some other factor of “Youness” to work. It’s yours alone.
It’s also probably something you find yourself avoiding or making excuses for why you don’t/can’t. It’s far more attractive to stay busy doing things that are within your comfort zone than it is to push your limits and do risky things.
The other problem that plays out is simply putting emphasis on the wrong things. Too much time putting out fires or allowing for distractions and interruptions. Have you ever seen one of these boxes popularized by Steven Covey’s 7 Habit’s of Highly Effective People? It goes sorta like this. This is just my take on it.
You want to actually schedule time for working on the number 2 box stuff. This will always get pushed aside if you fail to make room for it, and the result is that you will spend more time in crisis mode.
Many of the “busy work” things that you do are filling the “project size” holes in your schedule. They get your best energy and focus when they actually deserve your end-of-the-day leftovers.
By scheduling an hour to an hour and a half per day to work on things from your number 2 quadrant that you’ve identified via prayer, contemplation and whatever scares the crap out of you, you’ll actually gain ground.
So what’s your big scary thing that you need to do? Put it out there in the comments and get it out into the light. What is one first step you can take towards it? Don’t look at the totality, just focus on one next step. Take that one step. Then allow the road to unfurl before you.