One of my favorite blogs is Study Hacks by Cal Newport. Cal tries to figure out why some people lead successful, enjoyable, meaningful lives, while so many others do not.
One of the roadblocks Cal defines is something he calls deep procrastination. Deep procrastination is not just about putting off work until later. It happens when no matter how much free time you have on your hands, and how much you need to get done, you just cannot bring yourself to start your task.
It is a result of not knowing the end goal of performing a certain task. Your brain or your soul resists the very idea of starting the task because it does not fit in with the deep-seated knowledge of who you really are.
Summary: We suffer from deep procrastination when the work we do does not align with the person we want to be.
This is my take on Cal’s process to cure deep procrastination:
- Answer this question: What makes life good? Be very specific.
- How is your current work experience supporting this vision of a good life?
- What specific tactics can you define that will help you use your work to get closer to the good life?
Here are my answers to the questions above:
- What makes life good? Variety. Having a non-linear life with many interesting experiences including: living abroad for one or two months each year, diverse work experiences through new projects, and not being tied to any one project or location. The good life is supported by an abundant supply of money (working on this part) and being surrounded by lots of love and positive energy.
- How does my current work support the good life? It provides money to do some things I want, I get to work in different locations, and I tackle new mental challenges.
- Tactics to get closer to the good life: Move from an employee relationship to a project-based relationship, i.e. set up an independent business consultancy; write more and finish my memoir; accept more speaking engagements (my first will be at Campion College in Kingston); rent an apartment in Madrid or Paris for summer 2013!
How would you answer some of these questions?