The most important habit is DO

Procrastination. When I saw for the first time the definition of this concept I was shocked: “Oh my god! I also have this thing! I’m doomed!”. Then I’ve started reading more about this topic and calmed down. I even found one article somewhere saying that “Procrastination is usually associated with smart people” which made me happy for a few seconds. But then I started to think about the consequences of forever postponing important things. “How nice it would have been if THIS was finished by now…” – have you ever had this thought?

I’ve tried to think about my big achievements moments. What was THE THING that I was constantly doing that helped me deliver those things? Then it hit me: I just did the work. Investigating options, planning, figuring out the best tools, setting out the work environment… yeah I did that too. But I invested only the minimum effort into that so that I could jump as soon as possible into actually executing the work I was suppose to DO. Indeed, the most important habit is DO.

The idea of having a blog came-up about 1 year ago. Where have I invested the time since? To tell you the truth, in evaluating hosting services: FatCow, Hostgator, Bluehost… you name it. After that, I spend a huge amount of time on deciding on whether I should use WordPress or create my own solution.Then I was browsing for hours searching for the coolest theme. But no time was invested in the DO part, which is in writing articles… Procrastination in action, I know…

Last week I’ve had a coaching session organized by the company I work for. From one topic to another we arrived at the blog topic and my frustration that I still have not started it. Suddenly, the coach (probably bored with my whining) challenged me with the following question:

– “What will it take you to start the blog?”
– “Not much, really… I kinda have all the ingredients already”, I’ve answered a bit surprised too by realizing this fact
– “When will I see the first article on your blog?”, was the next question
– “Well…”, I’ve started naively, “I could send you the first article on mail”
– “No, no no! It has to be on the blog! WHEN?”, replied the so-unflexible coach
– “Next week!?!”, I said feeling a bit cornered
– “No, no, no! You don’t get it. I want you to be specific. Give me the day”, the coach pushed further
– “Next Wednesday!”, I almost shout

And then something strange happened. I felt relieved. I felt like: “Riiiiiiiiight… It really can be done. Let’s DO this!”

This conversation happened on Thursday evening. My plan was to reserve Saturday to do a first step in this direction. But this time, as sexy as setting up the environment on Amazon EC2 instance and installing WordPress (the IT geeks will understand why “sexy” can be associated with this type of work) I thought that this time I have to do it the right way. I will start with writing the articles. So, I’ve waken-up early on Saturday and in 3 hours I have written the About me page and the first article I Love MasterChef. Then I’ve spent 1 hour setting up WordPress on Amazon EC2 and 5 minutes on selecting the simplest theme possible. On Saturday evening the blog was up and running. 4 hours of intense work for which I have procrastinated almost 1 year.

Was this easy? Hell no! During the 3 hours of writing I was tempted so many times to put it aside for a bit (just a bit) and work on the installation scripts. Writing articles is hard. You have an idea which is so beautifully expressed in your mind but when you want to translate it into words… well, that’s the hardest thing. You will often find that no words will be able to match what you feel about this idea. The trick is to write and re-write until it gets closest to what you want the reader to feel after consuming your article. And this is work, this is hard, and you must make sure you DO it. Whenever my mind was begging for a quick escape to less important but sexier tasks, I made a promised to myself like: “Not just now. But soon. Just after this paragraph. But not until we get it right. Now, let’s go back and DO it!”.

P.S. Special thanks to coach Ioan-Mircea Nicut. This article is dedicated to you.

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