The first post is the hardest

(sung to the tune of Cat Stevens’ “The first cut is the Deepest” )

Sharon here. It’s Monday and I have promised half a dozen people that I’d send out a first blog for comments, but two weeks have gone by and I haven’t written a word. What is going on? I think I am suffering from performance anxiety – a nasty condition in both organisational and personal life! I’ve gotten self-conscious at the thought of having an audience and want to make my performance perfect before I go ‘live’.

So, to get into action, I delved into the web literature on performance anxiety as well as revisiting material that Paul and I facilitate on dealing with procrastination. Hence, the blog is finally up and running.

So, welcome to our new, blog A Passion for Ideas, whose purpose is to discuss new and interesting ideas in the world of organizational learning, change and development, including ideas for leading and managing people and teams more effectively. Paul and I are looking forward to writing about some of our personal and organisational experiences and hearing your stories too. Read on for more ideas on dealing with procrastination and performance anxiety.

Top 10 Cures for Procrastination and Performance Anxiety

Here are our Top 10 Cures – a joint effort (using cure number 10). You can apply these cures to yourself, or to employees, peers – even your manager – and achieve the satisfaction of finally completing an activity that may have been hanging over your head/s for ages.

1. Remember why you are doing it when the doing seems hard (e.g. we started this blog to get our ideas out into the cyberworld and to keep in contact with participants after our programs – this is something we really want, so it helps us get through the being “dummies at blogging” stage).

2. Just do it (sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we are competent and we do know what we are on about and then take Nike’s advice and just go out and do it).

3. Just start (if it cannot be done in one sitting, starting helps, even a bullet point idea, a phone call, or a first line will do).

4. Do 15 seconds worth (got this idea from Al Secunda’s book – he says there’s no way we can convincingly say we can’t spare 15 seconds in a day and we agree).

5. Chunk it down into a number of shorter, smaller actions. (like most activities, starting a blog requires a number of actions, which we had to find out and tackle one by one. Thank goodness for Ron Rogers from Weby Systems who held our virtual hands. Writing the text is just one of those actions and we are still learning how to hyperlink properly)

6. Tell someone – and invite them to follow you up (I did the first part of this cure but not the second part and my colleagues have been too polite or too busy to chase me up).

7. Do a test or trial version (I started practising on the 19th June and maybe one day we will use some of that material).

8. Set a deadline (didn’t do it this time, hence the long lag, but usually it works well, though it adds a bit of pressure. It helps if you combine it with cure no. 6 and give them permission to follow you up, especially if you are the manager).

9. Book time in your calendar (Paul and I regularly coach managers to book time for development activities or they will never happen – and learning new technology is a classic example that learning takes time, so we need to make time).

10. Do it with others (use the energy of others if you can’t find the motivation yourself and thanks to Mel, Karynne, Connie and Paul for helping to make this happen).

11 (bonus) Enjoy the experience (just because you don’t like the thought of doing it, doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it when you get into it – as you can see I’m on a roll).

Ideas don’t come from nowhere, so thanks to Stepanie Burns Goal Achievers Program which I attended and the Personal Efficiency Program, which Paul facilitates so passionately, for some of the inspirational ideas in this list.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Shaula Evans

    Sharon, almost every blogger I know faces down the same “intimidation curve” you’ve written about in this post.

    It looks like you’re off to a tremendous start.

    Very best wishes on what promises to be an exciting new blog!


  2. Franis

    My favorite procrastination buster is to get busy “getting ready for” the thing I’m putting off. Somehow, telling myself that nothing important is happening yet puts off the anxiety about it, because I’m not REALLY doing it yet, I’m just getting ready to do it. Often the acts of preparation will induce me to jump into the real thing without making it so much of a big deal for myself. Even if that doesn’t happen, once all the prep is done, somehow the whole thing doesn’t feel as big as it was before I started working to get it ready to happen.

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