The Blog.

What if you do nothing?

10 Apr 2008 | Personal Productivity

I’ve noticed recently that a lot of the things we procrastinate on fall into one of two categories – huge or tiny.

Tiny, trivial stuff seems to fall through the net, not important (or in truth not interesting) enough to warrant attention. Not until it starts to build up and becomes more difficult to ignore.

The thing is, once we’ve decided to avoid something, our mind seems to take that decision and run away with it. The more noticeable it becomes, the more we go out of our way to avoid it.

For example

  • Shutting the door on a junk room, reducing a four bedroom house to three (or worse, looking to move to a bigger house to recreate the space taken up by clutter)
  • Reprogramming yourself not to look at your watch anymore as the battery died three weeks ago and you haven’t gotten around to replacing it, or
  • Burying your head in the sand and pretending those bills don’t exist…

It’s amazing how much time and energy we can devote to avoiding something, and how often our reasoning for putting it off in the first place is "I haven’t got time."

Then there’s the big stuff, the pipe dreams, travelling the world, buying your dream home, leaving a job you hate, turning a hobby into a career, or even taking small children on a long haul holiday. These are things that seem too difficult to the point of appearing impossible. So we tell ourselves to settle for what is rather than what could be, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if in the process we realise we have everything we need and want, right here, right now. And I’m all for having gratitude and joy in the moment.

But what if we do nothing, simply because we think we can’t do anything?

What if you believe? And took just the smallest of baby steps?

A friend of mine recently did just that, after years of complaining about his job, and wandered into a careers event to have a look at what was on offer. One thing led to another and his baby step snowballed him into a situation where he had agencies, interviews and job offers being thrown at him. It turns out his skills were in demand! Ultimately this led to a custom made job, in a dream location, matching the pay level he wanted… and yes I’m sure a much bigger ego!

On a personal note, ever since Oliver was born he’s had a wild mop of hair. And every time I tried to cut it I felt like Cruella de Vil skinning one of her puppies. Nothing else (injections, accidents, chocolate deprivation) compared to how much he hated having his hair cut, not to mention how difficult it actually was for me to do it without taking his eyes out. When we first started going to the hairdresser’s he screamed as soon as we got through the door. However, with the help of an amazingly patient hairdresser, we kept at it, every 6 weeks, and ever so slowly he started getting a little bit better.

Last week he sat on his own chair and had his hair cut without shedding a single tear, and even shared his extra lollipop with me – absolutely nothing short of a Miracle.

How about you? What are you putting off?

What would happen if you did nothing?

Would the little things become a festering thorn in the side, and start to impact on the things you do deem important? Would the big things leave you feeling resentful, undervalued and stressed in a mind-numbingly boring job?Cousin_itt_3

As far as Oliver’s hair cuts go, if we had done nothing, he would now be a spitting image of Cousin Itt.


Image if author Grace Marshall

About Grace

I coach, train, write and speak on productivity. I help people adopt new ways of working and thinking about their work to replace stress, overwhelm and frustration with success, sanity and satisfaction.

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