The Tyranny Of Procrastination (Lessons From Book Two)

Last year, I knew I was ready to write my second book. My first book (released in 2016) was written under a very tight and very short deadline. There were things I was immensely happy about that with project and things I wish I could have done differently.

Nevertheless, it’s out and there’s no changing it at this point.

I knew my second book would go much differently.

Over the years that I’ve hosted my podcast, I continued to gain more wisdom and inspiration from my guests. I would hear things during the recording, the editing and the playback of those episodes and I wanted more people to embrace the knowledge my guests were giving.

Podcasts aren’t for everyone. Some people choose to digest information from other means and maybe they just don’t want to take the time to sift through hours and hours of content just to get some guidance on their health journey.

After reading Ryan Holiday’s “The Daily Stoic”, I had a clearer idea of what I wanted “Book Two” to be. I wanted to extract quotes from as many of my episodes as I could and craft something of a daily motivation/meditation for the fitness enthusiast.

By the beginning of 2019, I had a plan.

I would take as much time as I could to go back through all 200+ episodes of my show and start extracting the quotes I wanted to use.

I knew that my time was limited so I made a vow to discontinue listening to other people’s podcasts so I could focus on my own. I also planned to spend less time listening to music for pleasure and reading so that I could devote more time to my writing project. I didn’t want to rehash the urgency with which I had to work under for my first book.

And I did get some work done…it just wasn’t enough.

I kept busying myself with a host of other tasks and pushing the book to the backburner.

So, January passed, as did February, and so on.

I made it to the beginning of August and realized I had barely made a dent in my project.

As you can deduce, it would take 365 quotes from each of my guests plus 365 of my own thoughts to complete each day in a book like this.

As of August 1st, I had just over 100 quotes pulled for the book and none of my own writing done.

For me, this was unacceptable.

The hope was that I could have the book ready for purchase by December of 2019. That way, anyone who purchased it could begin their own path with the book officially at the first of 2020.

So, I needed a new strategy to mark my completion.

I broke down into days how many quotes I would need to extract and reach the 365 total. Then I gave myself a goal for my own writing quota.

I also reached out to my closed community on Facebook.

I knew I needed to hold myself accountable to my goals and if I threw my obstacles out to my clients, I would be more inclined to get the work done.

With over 230 quotes I had to pull (starting from August 1), I completed them all by the end of that month. Each day, I blocked an hour off to just spend time listening back through episodes and extracting the quotes I wanted to use in the book. I knew that if I didn’t block the time off, I would find ways to waste time and not get my work accomplished.

After I pulled all the quotes, I spent roughly a week reaching out to all of my guests asking for permission to use their words within the project. The response was overwhelmingly positive. It renewed my fire and focus to keep my nose to the grind and not slow down.

Then, admittedly, I had a hangover moment.

I had worked so feverishly on the first part of the project that I felt completely uninspired to write my own portions.

But, as I mentioned before, the book had to be ready for purchase by December of this year. My own (undiagnosed) OCD wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, I took the advice I’d give to any client: Bring the work down to bite-sized chunks.

Each day, I write 6 pages. Nothing more, nothing less. It gets me to a finish line in November where I have time for edits and sequencing. I know I could write more than 6 a day but I want my mind fresh.

In comparison to blogging, where I can write as much as my heart desires, I’m forcing myself to be very brief in the book. I want the spotlight to be on the wisdom of my guests. I simply wanted to shine a light for added guidance and context.

While I am disappointed in myself for essentially wasting the first seven months of this year and not making the progress I had anticipated, I’m glad I got my ass in gear before it was too late.

When you look at your goals, how have you scheduled the work?

Are you procrastinating (as I did) and not making the progress you want?

Take your goals and start blocking off time to achieve them.

This could look like:

Scheduled time for meal prep: Block off time each week to make easy meals that can be frozen/refrigerated so you’re less likely to leave your food choices up to chance. If need be, ask for assistance from your spouse/loved one if they have more time to apply to this than you do.

Appointments set for exercise: When you treat your exercise (strength training/cardio) like you do your doctor’s appointments, you’re less likely to miss and cheat yourself out of the work you need to get you closer to where you want to be.

Reasonable timelines for reaching your goals (such as 4-8 pounds of weight loss per month): Could you lose 20 pounds in one month? Sure. Is it worth it? Probably not. When you set realistic and reasonable goals for weight loss, you have a better shot at success that you can sustain. The goal is not just to get to “X” weight but to keep that weight off and look/feel the best you possibly can.

Potential times to reset your goals and/or maintain status quo: Based on what is currently happening in your life with work, family, and friends, you may not be able to white-knuckle your way to your end goal. There may be certain points where you need to take a breather and maintain where you are to reduce the stress of your goals. Much like my aforementioned “hangover”, I needed a few days to reset and refresh my mind so I could get back to work.

Keep yourself honest: Utilize a support group as I did with my closed community. Set a goal, break it down into achievable steps, and put the work in. I can only be held accountable to myself since the book will be self-published so the only metaphorical gun that will be held to my head is the one I hold. This means, the only person capable of reaching my goal is me. When you take that control back for your own goals, you have a clearer sense of autonomy.

Don’t let the tyranny of procrastination stand in your way.

“A Revolution A Day” will be released in December 2019.

“We Make Great People Greater”