How To Handle Leaving Your Comfort Zone

Procrastination: Why Tomorrow is the Busiest Day of the Week

Today would be a busy day; at least, that was the plan. But you know how it goes. Just one more cup of coffee, just one last cigarette (a terrible habit which I really have to stop), just one more ‘anything I can think of’ to avoid actually sitting down and doing something meaningful. My name is Mike. And I’m a procrastinator.

Disclosure. I use Generative AI tools to help me when writing. From outline suggestions to topics or subtleties, I had yet to think of.

Middle-aged man in a chaotic office setting, sitting at a desk cluttered with papers and empty coffee cups. He’s distracted by a game on his smartphone, and his expression mixes guilt with amusement.
Procrastination Dont Get Me Started Generated by DALL E 3

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The Time-Tested Tradition of Tomorrow

So, here I am, trying to build a business from scratch. There is much to do, including writing this weekly newsletter and a pile of administration and marketing work. But what I’ve realised over the last few weeks is that to build a viable business, I have to talk to people and make connections. Networking! Here lies the real problem.

I know me, as chronically shy as I am. A true introvert, but I know that I have to leave my comfort zone and start calling people and knocking on doors. I need to find clients and worse of all, I need to justify myself to them. Not a happy thought at all.

I keep procrastinating and putting things off, all the excuses I find justification for. I need to write my newsletter, get Notion properly configured, and find any excuse NOT to get out into the world and find clients. Yes, I can do a lot here in the comfort of my office, surrounded by familiarity. But spending all my time and energy like this does not and can never replace building meaningful and personal relationships.

I promise myself that I’ll face my anxieties and force myself to get out there. Maybe tomorrow, or failing that, next week.

The Mythical Land of Mañana

Introversion and shyness in the business world is an enormous handicap. It’s just so easy to sit in your comfort zone and appear to be very busy, even fooling yourself. The temptation to put the uncomfortable and scary things off is far too easy to give in to. Saying to yourself that you need to face your fears is fine, but saying it doesn’t get you anywhere. You need to get off of your ass and get going; doing something meaningful and productive is easy. Doing it is where many of us fall down.

Speaking personally, over the years, I’ve built up formidable defences to the point that if you were to meet me for the first time, you would never suspect that I was an extreme introvert. Mainly, I push myself into the centre of things, make bad jokes, and make sure that those around me are included in whatever the activity is. The discomfort felt by others who are excluded overcomes my own feeling of safety.

All is well and good when I’m in familiar and comfortable surroundings. The problem now is that I must force myself into situations I usually avoid. Unless I do this, I might as well forget trying to build a business. After all, nobody will come to me seeking my help; I have to go and find those who need it.

I’ve put things off for far too long. Now is the time to act. Not looking forward to it.

Overcoming Procrastination

So, how do we overcome the nearly overwhelming temptation to leave things as planned and then push them off endlessly? One thing I am doing is to set myself a weekly target of contacts to make. We all have to start somewhere, and even if the contacts don’t bear fruit, at a minimum, I will be more visible. Who knows? Even if the point of contact doesn’t require my services, they may know somebody who does.

Next up is to plan each week realistically and practically. Stop setting tasks of a lower priority and concentrate instead on the 80/20 rule. Emphasise the twenty per cent of tasks that are more likely to benefit eighty per cent of the business. Then, stick to the plan and never push anything back, not even a day.

By reducing the scheduled tasks to manageable levels and only planning the most important and potentially effective ones, there should never be any valid reason to delay. Be self-disciplined in this approach. When we realistically plan out our week, we can ensure that everything we set is manageable and, above all, achievable in the timeframe.

So that leaves the remaining less essential tasks. These need to be reviewed regularly and prioritised; what may be a low priority now may become a higher priority in a week or two. Don’t forget them. Set a short time block every week to handle a few of the higher-priority items. Make yourself comfortable and throw yourself a short “procrastination party”.

The most important thing about being a confirmed procrastinator is to see the funny side of it. Laugh at yourself, joke about it, and then get down to business.

Make Peace with Your Procrastinator Self

In my opinion, the temptation to put things off can never be fully overcome. Our brains are hard-wired to seek instant gratification rather than some mystical benefit that lies in the future. We need to deal with it, recognise our faults and accept them.

Know thyself, commonly attributed to Socrates, is a powerful tool to help you move in the right direction to achieve your dreams and goals. We mustn’t be afraid of failure; we accept them, learn from them, and try things differently. We must be satisfied as long as we know that we have given it our best shot.

What now? Don’t sit there thinking about what you’ve just read too much. Go for it, but remember that starting something is great, but finishing it is a fantastic feeling.


See more articles, posts, and discussions about business, project management, human nature, Generative AI and Creative Writing on Medium here. If you have not already, subscribe to Medium. Or follow me here on Substack. The KodifyIT Substack newsletter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. I would appreciate the support; you won’t regret it. 👍

I apologise to my readers for some of the spellings you may feel are incorrect. I was born and brought up in the United Kingdom, and this is the spelling I am comfortable with (Grammarly is happy with it anyway).

 

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