Overcoming procrastination with cooperation

Remember that song from Sesame Street, Cooperation? That song was running through my head as I was busy procrastinating this week, and using my time to change the lyrics of the song to “Procrastination makes nothing happen….”

Imagine this: I was asked to do a mini-presentation for a friendly audience.  I said yes, and then made zero progress toward creating the presentation.  While this may have looked like procrastination, and indeed was labeled as such by my sister, I think it was a slightly different problem, requiring some specific solutions.

Here was the actual problem: I had no clue who was in my audience, nor what the person requesting the presentation really wanted, and I did not want to disappoint this person/stranger.  The person organizing this was super friendly, offering a ton of flexibility and freedom, but not enough structure for me.

Ooooh, sounds familiar you say??  Maybe you, too, have struggled to start a task when you didn’t really know what is being asked of you?  Or for that project you are currently not addressing, you need a touch more structure so you can excel? Or you don’t want to disappoint, so you just can’t start?

My solution: Cooperation!  I asked the organizer for some details about the audience, and then asked some follow up questions (first round of answers: athletes, teens….next round of answers: sport specific athletes ages 13-16, females…actual audience was indeed teen athletes AND their parents!!)

A few morals to this story:

  • If you seem to be procrastinating, ask yourself WHY.
    • WHAT is the actual problem?
      • Do you need structure, answers, guidance, a word count?
      • Address the real problem, because the “procrastination” is only a symptom
    • Ask for some cooperation from the person requesting the assignment (your teacher, instructor, boss, household members…)
    • If you need help with this, let me know!
  • Your social network will offer opportunities that you can’t always see coming. This connection? Our kids went to Kindergarten together, the kids still hang out, and we are neighbors.  But the reason I was asked to present was not because I am a psychologist; apparently I was asked because I seem “nice” and I’m an “active woman who can be a role model.”
    • Based on this post, I can be a role model for more than activity; I can also be a role model for crushing pseudo-procrastination and asking for cooperation. Sing it!
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