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  • Steven Sutton, LCSW

What are You Avoiding?


Have you ever had things pile up? You know you need to do them but just never get around to do it? Have you set your intentions to finally get those tasks done only to check a website, watch some TV, or otherwise flake on yourself while the to-do items keep piling up and hanging over your head?


If you have — you’re not alone. This month we’re talking about procrastination, how it works, and what you can do to change your relationship with it. Last week we started exploring tools to address procrastination but we just scratched the surface. This week let’s talk about another great tool to fight procrastination, throwing a party.


In her recent article, Lisa Rowan describes a “do something you’ve been avoiding party.” The idea is that you identify something you’ve been avoiding, grab a buddy to join you in doing the same, and then set a time to dive in. Here’s why I like this party: You only throw the party for 10 minutes. That’s right, you commit for no more than 10 minutes. If you find yourself enjoying the task or feeling like you want to continue by all means go for it but you’re only committed to starting and hanging in there for a short time. The idea of starting small is more powerful than you might think.


Here are some ways in which it can help:


One way we stay stuck in procrastination is to imagine doing an entire tasks or project and feel overwhelmed at the amount of things that need to be done to complete it. The "do something party" encourages you to focus on the start of a project, not the end. Focusing on the end is a trap. Just get clear about the first best thing you could do to begin or move the project forward. Now do that for 10min. You’ll find this to be less overwhelming than thinking about what it will take to finish the job completely.


The "do something you've been avoiding party" involves other people who are also struggling through the same barriers. Having a buddy or a like minded group has tons of benefits. It normalizes your struggle, gives you a platform for learning from others experiences, and can act as motivation to add some accountability to the commitments you make. The power of working in a group can be the difference between wishing you were different and actually getting better at something.


It gives you a chance to practice finding the critical entrance to work you’ve been avoiding. Not sure what the critical entrance is? Stick around this blog and you’ll learn more about it.

We’re just beginning to explore what it takes to emerge from old habits of avoidance and procrastination but I hope you’re noticing that there are tools for addressing the issue that can make a huge impact in your life.


If you’re ready to get serious about changing your relationship with procrastination join us in our upcoming course, Growing Out of Procrastination. The course will leverage group learning and will dive into all the concepts we are discussing this month in greater detail. You’ll have support and guidance for learning much more about how procrastination functions in your life and some concrete plans for addressing it once and for all. Don’t put it off [wink wink]. Let’s get to work!

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