Some things are incredibly difficult to do. I don’t mean brain surgery or rocket science (although I suspect that they are pretty hard), I mean things like sending out the first e-mail to subscribers of our blog, The Library.
The blog has been live for about 50 days, and despite having ‘set up Mailchimp for blog’ on my to do list for most of the last month, I still haven’t made it happen.
Why is it that some tasks, which seem pretty simple on the surface, are so difficult to complete ?
It’s not that I find Mailchimp difficult (it’s really easy to use), and it’s not that I don’t have content (although not as many as I hoped, I have still been adding posts to the blog over the last 50 or so days), so what is causing the delay ?
Obviously some things get delayed because I simply don’t have time, or I have prioritised other things higher. Also, some tasks have a critical step before them, and until that’s done, there is no way I can move forward. However, there are still some things which are important, and that I really want to do, but they just fail to happen as quickly as they should.
If I look back into my past, there seem to be 6 main reasons why some things take too long to get done…
1. Fear of Failure
I have always thrived on positive feedback, and the thought of negative feedback often helps me to take extra care with my work, but occasionally I find that I hold myself back because I am worried that might make a very public mistake. I am getting much better at this, though - remembering positive experiences, and being generous with myself for the things I have done well are slowly reducing my fear of public failure. That, and getting older and not giving quite such a damn about what other people think….
2. It’s the wrong thing to do
Sometimes, doing the the next step just doesn’t feel right, and when that happens I can usually trace it to a conflict with one of my core principles - it doesn’t have to be a major black and white conflict either, just something that doesn’t quite gel. When that happens, I generally have two choices - not do it at all, or change it so that it does match my core principles….
3. I’m not ready yet
There are genuinely times when waiting is the best thing to do - something, somewhere isn’t quite right and my internal safety circuit is stopping me from moving forward until I figure out what it is and put it right.
4. It’s a ‘should’
I think ‘should’ is a four-letter word, and when I find myself thinking of doing something because I think I ‘should’, but deep-down I really don’t want to, I rarely get around to actually doing it. In summary, life’s too short for ‘shoulds’….
5. I lack a deadline
There is nothing like a deadline for pushing me towards action, and nothing like a lack of deadline for letting me off the hook and letting me procrastinate like a master. I can occasionally manufacture a deadline with a very public commitment, but in a world of not enough time, no deadline all too often equals no action.
6. None of the above
I’m a pretty complex beast really (as we all are) and there are times when I never really work out why doing something was so difficult. It could be something deep-seated, or something irrational, or something time specific, or any one of a hundred reasons. Sometimes time reveals the answer, and often it doesn’t, but I’ve found it doesn’t pay to dwell on something for too long….
In this particular case (sending out the first Mailchimp) it seems to be a big ol’ number 6 - I can’t really figure out why it is has taken so long, or why today is the day when enough is enough and I’m going to get it done, but today is quite definitely the day. Or it will be as soon as I have finished this blog post…..