We’re more than halfway through August, and rocketing toward the beginning of a new school year. We wondered for quite a while if we would survive 2020, and now 2021 is looking like a soon-to-be memory. We made personal promises on personal promises, and while some have been fulfilled, others have yet to even be touched.
It’s not a waiting game. It’s procrastination. And we still have months in which to overcome it.
One of my big procrastinating games has been to document our family history. I have been promising myself that bit of archiving for over a year, and it waited on my shelf until recently. My loving sister sent along a gift early this summer—a book titled: How to Save Your Life. It’s about writing the stories that I had long wanted to write. These are the stories of my family, my life, my career. They’re stories that my students have long groaned at in class. They’re the stories about how to become a better human, consultant or leader. Great. Now I had a vision. Now I had a guidebook on how to write the vision. Now I had a framework.
And my wife stole the book.
She promised to buy me another copy. She bought another copy. She gave it to her mom. She bought yet another copy. She gave it to her aunt.
It was interesting that copy after copy flowed through our house, never making it to my desk. I finally decided that it was time to work without a net. To jump without a parachute. I started on my procrastination project without the book. And progress is being made.
As a profound procrastinator, I learned something powerful about project procrastination. Let others impede project progress long enough, and the procrastinating stops. It’s time to move. It’s time for action.
As a project manager, I’ve often been forced into the corner where I want myself and others to act. I have not come up with a lot of great solutions. This is definitely a powerful lesson learned. I may be goaded to action (as may others) by the nature of impediments to accomplishment. The new PMP® exam focuses heavily on Agile, and one component thereof is an intriguing discussion on impediments, obstacles and blockers. These are different stages of those elements that stand in the way of project progress. And yet, PMI® does not explore them as potential motivators. Put a roadblock in the way, and anticipate that people will suddenly see a desperate need to get around it.
Consider that the next time you find yourself stymied by a speed bump or any other obstruction. Consider that when you make promises to yourself, you can self-motivate by becoming vexed with blockades, barriers, and bars.
Almost every student in my PMP® Certification Exam Preparation training mentions their own level of procrastination in earning the certification. They have tried at the exam before, and gave up. They have planned for years to tackle the challenge. They surrendered.
And those of you who have the PMP®, you know that it was a challenging hill to climb, but you remain thrilled that you climbed it, and succeeded. It’s just one more example of how time flies. This is written in August. Anyone considering the exam could readily have it over with by Halloween. By Thanksgiving. By Christmas. It’s do-able. Just let your wife steal the book.