Micro-friction and unclarity are the weapons of procrastination

If you are procrastinating on some task, it is likely because of some micro-friction or some tiny aspect of unclarity. It’s too easy to say, “I just don’t have the time,” or “I just don’t want to,” but I bet there is something more to it. Here’s my example: I use MyFitnessPal to track my food. For a few months, I put off entering any food. The task is on my daily checklist. The task is in my brain. It’s not that hard. It’s doesn’t take much time. But, I haven’t been doing it. When I finally examined what the problem was, the reason dawned on me. I changed the recipe on my multi-ingredient daily shake. And, in my mind, inputting the new ingredients into MyFitnessPal was going to be a pain. So, I just didn’t do it. And because I didn’t do it, I then didn’t enter in any food. The whole task was abandoned because of one little micro-friction. For you: think about one thing you are procrastinating on. Then, figure out what very small micro-friction, or point of unclarity, has stopped all progress. Get super small and specific in your analysis. It might be as simple as firing off a single email. But what is it? Often resolving whatever that micro-friction or point of unclarity is can unstick the whole task.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on February 11, 2019

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