If you want to learn how to avoid procrastination, get ready for some mind games.
In my prior blog post, I mentioned my goal of participating on a triathlon team – motivated by the mimosas and food waiting at the finish line of the race. Plus, I’d been telling myself that I need to get back in shape, yet I hadn’t yet done anything about that. Participating in the swim portion should be manageable. It was only 400 meters. That’s only 4 football fields or one lap around the track. I did OK swimming on vacation last summer without any preparation, so I knew I could do this, which is why I had agreed.
To be on the safe side, I decided that I should actually swim at least a few times before the tri. You know…”train.” Since I don’t have a pool or live near one, I decided to do my training at each hotel I’d stay in while on the road for presenting my keynotes and workshops.
My first stop was Orlando. I packed accordingly. I brought my swimsuit, rash guard (a surf shirt, since I don’t like to be cold), and cover ups.
According to my time estimates and Google Maps, I should reach my hotel, get checked in, run up to change, and be in the pool by 3 PM. This would give me enough time for my workout and to grab a shower before the evening networking event. Perfect.
My Super Shuttle driver from the airport decided to ignore the Google Maps instructions he’d pulled up on the van’s tablet – even turning in the completely opposite direction – so we arrived 15 minutes later than I’d planned. I was a bit ticked because I’d had to look up directions myself in order to tell him which way to go, and we’d even had to pull over on the highway because he was about to take an exit that would delay us even more. As I dropped my bags in my room, I thought, I’m irritated and late. Perhaps I should just blow off this silly training idea. Nope, if I don’t swim here, when will I swim?
I made it down to the pool. I dipped my toes in the water. It seemed warm enough. I stepped down onto the first step. Eeek. The water was a little chilly for my tastes. I don’t like cold water. Perhaps I should just skip this training idea. Nope, I’ve got to suck it up and swim.
I stepped down to the second step. Ewww. The water is definitely not as warm as I want it. I don’t want to swim in cold water. I should bail. Nope, I’ve got to do some kind of swimming so that I don’t hurt myself on race day.
I spent the next couple of minutes arguing with myself about whether or not to swim in water that was a less than desirable temperature.
I then spent a few more minutes procrastinating by visually estimating how many meters long the pool was. Taking my sweet time, I guestimated it was 25 meters long. Using up more time to slowly do the math in my head and then double-, triple- and quadruple-check it, I calculated that I’d have to swim 16 lengths in order to swim 400 meters. Sixteen lengths? Egad, 16 is a big number. Whose stupid idea was this this anyway? I should just call Cheryl and tell her that I’m going to flake out and not do the tri. Seriously? You’re going to flake out?
Have you ever had conversations like this in your head? If not, it’s actually a good start to overcoming procrastination!
Next week: The rest of the internal argument – Part 2 of how to avoid procrastination (or bust through it if it’s already setting in!).