Do you catch yourself staying busy as a way to procrastinate (or even ignore) the more challenging tasks on your list? You’re not alone.
There is a quote from Dale Carnegie which begins, “Inaction brings fear and doubt.” In a time when so many people I interact with, both personally and professionally, frequently talk about being busier than ever in all aspects of their life, I wonder about what must be happening beneath the surface of the “daily grind.” Most people have the unfortunate tendency to be tempted to ignore or procrastinate on difficult tasks in favor of checking off more comfortable items on the proverbial “to-do” list. As those difficult action items queue up, they become even more difficult to conquer. Ignoring them or not taking consistent action on them breeds exactly the type of fear and doubt Carnegie was referencing in his quote.
At a time when there is so much volatility in the business world and society in general, I would encourage you to reflect on what topics you have been ignoring out of convenience of telling yourself you are “too busy to deal with that right now.” What are the items you know (even if you are not putting them on a “to-do” list) need attention, and yet you are adept at staying just busy enough to avoid having to confront the challenge?
The fear and doubt you feel about those topics grow in your mind the longer you continue to procrastinate. It might manifest itself in ways not related to the topics you are avoiding, but the tension of ignored items needing attention is a very real source of stress for many people. Avoid the temptation to always start checking off your to-do list by closing items that are equally urgent but most comfortable for you. The items which are less comfortable on your list will not go away, and the lack of attention you are giving them is making them consume more of your mind with fear and doubt than they deserve.