7 Ways to Smash Procrastination

This post is part of the Break Through Your Creative Blocks series.

Break Through Your Creative Blocks!I’ve been meaning to write about procrastination for ages, but I never quite got round to it. :-)

This is one of the most frustrating and puzzling obstacles we encounter whenever we set out to create something remarkable. After all, creative people love creating things. Writers love to write, painters love to paint, musicians love to play. So why do we spend so long avoiding and putting off doing the thing we love?

I’ll offer my own explanation shortly, but I’d like to start by pointing out that procrastination is virtually epidemic among high-level creators. I used to think I was the only one who did it, and beat myself up over it. But having spent 14 years coaching creative pros of all descriptions, and heard a virtually identical story from hundreds of them, I’m convinced it’s just an occupational hazard. Procrastination is normal behaviour for creatives. So it was no surprise that it reared its ugly head when I invited you to tell us about your creative blocks:

[My block is about] Taking action. I have ideas, but seem to spend more time studying all of the new materials I have about how to implement those ideas, trying to be sure I have it just right. I need to get content written for two sites I have set up, and seem to be stuck in studying how to get started.

(Kathy Nicholls)

If you’ve been reading the creative blocks series carefully, you’ll have noticed that this isn’t the first time procrastination has popped up – it’s been a component of several of the blocks we’ve covered already:

My problem is all about execution, I get too excited at first, involved in to many projects and then I get overloaded with things to do. This makes me procrastinate, do other less important things and many things doesn’t get completed. This in turn makes me more overloaded, feel bad about myself and the threshold to to do what needs to be done gets huger and huger like an evil circle.

(Mats)

While my 9-5 job is quite creative (arts manager) I struggle to find time to write outside of work hours, writing being what I consider my first and favourite creative pursuit.

When I get home there is always something else to do – housework, seeing friends, spending time with my partner, catching up the news etc. Or else I’m “too tired”.

Suggestions and strategies would be great! Aside from “STOP PROCRASTINATING” :) )

(Sholeh Johnstone)

At every decision making moment along the way I question incessantly whether I’m doing the right thing. I fear that making the wrong decision will result in my work not meeting the very high standard I expect of it. Hence self-doubt, procrastination, and ultimately creative stagnation creep in. I have a ton of unfinished work. My unwillingness to commit affects not only my music but my ability to make career decisions, to find collaborators – even making everyday decisions on all kinds of things is a struggle!

(Anonymous)

So what exactly is procrastination, and what causes it?

I think of it as “Doing anything and everything but the work I really want/need to do”. We all know the tell tale signs – instead of knuckling down to work, we spend hours surfing the web, answering e-mails, tidying the house, rearranging the filing cabinet, talking to friends walking the dog or watching TV.

As for the cause, I think Steven Pressfield nails it when he says that whenever we set ourselves a difficult challenge, then an invisible force called Resistance arises, which does everything in its power to distract and dissuade us from tackling the work head-on.

Why do we experience Resistance? Because every time we set out to do something amazing, our ego (a.k.a. conscious mind) feels threatened. Threatened from the outside, because we might fail, or attract criticism or ridicule. And threatened from the inside because once you open yourself up to your imagination, you never know what might come bubbling up from your unconscious mind when you let go of control.

Pushing past the Resistance means going through a wall of fear. This is true whatever medium you’re working in, although the effect varies depending on your situation.

If you’re a performer, you have an audience waiting, so when it’s showtime you need to stand there and deliver. You may even have someone barking “lights, camera, action!” to help you push through the fear. It’s very intense – and explains why actors and musicians are more likely to complain of stage fright than procrastination.

But if you’re working alone in your office or studio, it’s easier to shy away from Resistance and start procrastinating. After all, who would ever know if you spent another 30 minutes in Google Reader or pottering about in the kitchen?

So for all of you reading this when you should really be doing something else, here are seven tried and tested ways to blast through that wall of Resistance and STOP PROCRASTINATING.

1. Decide in Advance

This is critical. If you leave it until Monday morning to decide whether you’re going to start work on that Big Scary New Project or rearrange your CDs into alphabetical order, then you don’t need me to tell you which is most likely to win.

If you wait until work time before deciding what to do, you can always persuade yourself that it would be better to start the difficult work ‘later’. But if you plan ahead, then when it comes to the crunch you know you’re either (a) working on what you promised yourself you’d do, or (b) procrastinating. It’s a lot harder to admit to yourself “I’m going to procrastinate” than it is to fool yourself by saying “I’m going to start work later”.

Decide beforehand when you’re going to start work. Then when the time comes, you’ve got one less excuse for not doing it.

2. Make a Habit of It

This follows on from 1. and makes it even more powerful. If you know you’re supposed to be painting/writing/rehearsing every day at 8am or 3pm, then even harder to pretend you’re going to do it ‘later’.

I’ve written quite a lot about the value of routines and rituals in getting creative work done, so I won’t labour the point here. I’ll just highlight a couple more ways they help you to beat procrastination:

  • Momentum – doing the same thing day after day can build up momentum that crushes procrastination.
  • Association – you come to associate certain times, places, people and objects with focused creative work. In Pavlovian fashion, each time you encounter the same circumstances, you experience emotions and behaviours associated with creative work.

3. Pretend You’re Not Going to Do It

I love this one, from coach Mark Forster in his fabulously-titled productivity book Do It Tomorrow. When it’s time to start a challenging task, this is what you say to yourself:

I’m not really going to start work, I’m just going to get the equipment out.

For example:

I’m not really going to start learning my lines, I’m just going to get the script out.

I’m not really going to the gym, I’m just going to pack my kit in the bag.

I’m not really going to start writing, I’m just going to open the Word document.

I’m not really going to make that difficult phone call, I’m just going to get the phone out and look up the number.

Mark’s theory is that telling yourself this kind of white lie somehow short-circuits the part of the brain that resists getting started. Once you start taking action and get out the kit you need, you’ll find yourself starting the task almost automatically, with much less Resistance.

I’ve tried it, and it works! In fact, I’m so intrigued by this that it’s actually fun to do. I tell myself I’m just opening up Dragon NaturallySpeaking so that it will be ready ‘for later’. And just writing the title of the article so I don’t forget it. And just jotting down a few quick notes …

Half an hour later I’m happily absorbed in the writing process, striding up and down the room and dictating to the computer with music pulsating from the stereo. Having so much fun I wonder why I didn’t start earlier. :-)

4. Accept that it Will Never Be Perfect

This is the antidote to “trying to be sure I have it just right”. Tell your self that you will never get it “just right” – i.e perfect. There will always be something you miss, something that could be improved.

And that’s OK. Because it’s better to finish something imperfect than never to let it see the light of day. Depending on the nature of the project, you may get the chance to revise or tweak it, and send your customers an updated version.

But even if you don’t, even if this is your one and only shot, you still have a choice between shipping something that’s 90-99% good enough and learning from the feedback – or never finishing, never shipping, never delighting anyone with it, and never reaping any of the rewards.

I know which I’d choose.

5. Break It down

There’s a (possibly apocryphal) story about a man who ate a tractor by grinding each piece down into a fine powder and sprinkling it on his porridge every morning. I don’t recommend you try this at home, but you can apply the same principle to your work.

  1. Think of a big, complex, challenging project that you’re working on at the moment. Imagine all the tasks involved and all the time and effort they’ll take. How do you feel? A little overwhelmed?
  2. Now isolate out the very first task you’ll have to do. Imagine doing that. How does that feel? A bit more manageable?
  3. Now think of the very first step of that very first task. E.g. if it involves creating or modifying a computer document, the first step is simply opening it. How does that feel? A piece of cake, huh?

Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, run through this process – grinding the task down to the smallest possible next action.

6. Sprint against the Clock

Use a timer to create an artificial deadline. This is how the Pomodoro Technique works – you set the timer for 25 minutes and work flat out until the bell rings, then reward yourself with a 5 minute break.

Studies have shown that we can’t concentrate on a task for longer than about 20-25 minutes, so dividing your worktime up into Pomodoros helps you make the most of your concentration span. The 5 minute break also acts as an incentive to get things done during the Pomodoro, and reduces the temptation to look for distractions.

7. Put Yourself on the Line

This one is the antidote to the “No-one would ever know if I spent the whole morning reading the paper” excuse. Make a public commitment to one or more people who you will report back to once you’ve done the work (or not).

Some writers have ‘writing buddies’ who are responsible for egging each other on and holding each other accountable for completing their daily and weekly quota of words. National Novel Writing Month uses the same principle – every year, hundreds of writers commit to writing a novel in 30 days, and updating each other of their progress.

Coaching clients often tell me that one reason for coming to see me is because they know they are more likely to take action towards their goals when they have to report back to me.

I used the same principle a couple of years ago, when I told my blog readers at Wishful Thinking that I was going to meditate every day for a year – and report back to them at the end of the year. Can you imagine how I would have felt if I – the coach, the agent of change! – had had to report back that I didn’t see it through? There were a few days when I was really tempted to skip my practice, and one of the biggest thing stopping me was the thought “what will you tell your readers?”. (Here’s how I got on.)

Over to You

When and where are you most likely to procrastinate?

How do you beat procrastination?

About the Author: Mark McGuinness is a creative coach with over 15 years’ experience of helping people get past their creative blocks and into the creative zone. For a FREE 26-week creative career guide, sign up for Mark’s course The Creative Pathfinder.

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Responses to this Post

Comments

  1. Thanks for this Mark. I agree that it is an occupational hazard for all creators. It’s our ego mind resisting its own demise, not liking that the creative mind will take over for a while.

    Here are my current ‘ruses’ to stay prolific:

    1. The first, and main thing, is to FREEwrite first. This allows the 2nd.

    2. Only approach the writing project/artwork when I know what I’m going to say/do and have enough to fill a 2hour session.

    3. Leave the study, if necessary, with my laptop charged and no power point. Go to coffee shop with no internet access knowing I only have that 2 hours approx. before the power runs out.

    If resistance is high (usually a sign of something cool wanting to break through) I bring my laptop to bed and reach down and start typing first thing, before I’ve even gone for a pee!

    4. Always do the most important thing first thing in your day, if possible, and set the rest of your day/evenings up to support it.

    Looking forward to more comments – I love hearing how people tackle this never-ending challenge.

    thanks as always.

  2. Mark,
    I really appreciated this post. You, of course, described me to a tee. This has been one of the biggest issues around which I end up feeling immense levels of guilt, shame, and frustration. So, to find out that it’s not a flaw in me, but a trait common to people like me, really helps. I also appreciate the concrete tips. I will try them out.

    Keep up the great work.

    Warmly,
    Geoff

  3. After starting my second blog, I realised I had so many commitments – everything started to become quite overwhelming. I began to procrastinate. I decided to do a daily/weekly timetable. It seems to be working. Every morning I look at my calendar and see what I need to achieve by the end of the day and get on with it. I feel by organising my week I have more control, feel less pressure and procrastinate less. A small daily to-do list is far better than looking at the huge amount of work I have to do as a whole. ‘Slowly slowly catchy monkey,’ a tutor use to say. So true.

  4. I think my root causes of procrastination are:

    1) Being too excited and having ideas flying all around in my head
    2) Trying to figure out all of the ideas
    3) Then that profectionism thing you mentioned

    Two saying that help me are:

    “Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly at first.” It gives me permission to mess up and not do everything perfectly

    “Strive for progress, not perfection.” As long as I am making an effort I am getting somewhere because perfection is unattainable (in my opinion)

    Thanks for the tips!

  5. I like number 3 too.

    And it’s really using what your mind does anyways in reverse. It’s rationalizing to get ourselves to do something beneficial, instead of what we usually use it for: To do something detrimental.

    If the mind likes to trick us into doing things that aren’t good, we can use those same techniques to produce positive results.

    And then, there’s good old fashion determination. Screw what your mind is saying, and just sit down and do it. Your success is riding on it!

  6. I procrastinate because of the frustration involved in doing just about anything because my memory is not very good. Creating something is enjoyable but it usually involves remembering things. Even woodworking involves remembering where you put something. And computer stuff! OMG forget that! So procrastination is a pain avoidance thing. But I did like the trick of telling yourself you are not going to do something you are just going to pack your kit etc….I’m going to try that one. Sometime.

  7. If you haven’t already seen michael kimball’s video called, I will smash you” it’s a short film of ppl smashing things they don’t like and one of the people literally smashing his procrastination with a cement block.
    the film is very cool and put a visual to the idea you are blogging about here. check it out. Deborah

    http://www.littleburnfilms.com/IWillSmashYou.html

  8. The book “It’s About Time” (Dr. Linda Sapadin) describes 6 styles of procrastination: Dreamer, Defier, Perfectionist, Overdoer, Worrier and Crisis Maker. It’s really interesting to read the wide variety of motivations for procrastinating.

    I think I’m a Perfectionist with Worrier tendencies. Sometimes I don’t want to start something because I’m worried that I don’t know how, or I don’t want to finish it because it won’t be perfect!

    I use a version of #4, telling myself that I’m doing the best that I can, and that others are not nearly as hard on me as I am on myself. I also use #5, agreeing with myself to write just one page. Usually, I can get going then and write more and forget myself.

    This is an ongoing effort, so the more strategies I have available, the better!

  9. This really put a lot of things in perspective for me. I can totally relate to Kathy at the beginning of this post.

    I’m going to try the pretending not to do it trick.

    I’ve found breaking the task goal down into tiny little steps really works wonders for me. And deadlines as well.

    Having a deadlines and the baby steps that I need to take to accomplish the task keeps me on track.

    And leaving whatever I’m working on out in the open so I can see it all the time.

  10. Instead of “tricking” my mind I keep close by a list of things I am not going to achieve if I indulge in procrastination. You can call it “creating a fear” but it’s not a fear, it is a reality. For instance, what if I am not able to pay my daughter’s school fee after three months? I also have a financial ticker on my computer that I recently programmed for myself. In big red numbers it keeps reminding me how far I am from reaching that magical figure before I can say to myself I have earned enough for the month. This is for the work that sustains my family.

    But what about the stuff that I want to do but I don’t do because there are always “urgent” things to take care of? I am still to figure out :-)

  11. Amrit,
    I would take a look at those “urgent” tasks and make sure that you aren’t overdoing things so you can do “good enough,” that others aren’t making crises in your life, and that you haven’t taken on more than you can realistically get done.

    Urgent tasks are dangerous because they get our adrenaline going and we get so wrapped up in them, we forget our real priorities. Since you used quotation marks, I think you already know that many of those “urgent” things really aren’t. See if you can downgrade them and reclaim your time.

  12. Thank you sooo very much for this article. I 2nd everything Geoff wrote. I’ve learnt so much this morning from your article and everyone’s comments. Thanks everyone!! I’m off to put the laundry away, feed the kids lunch, then write the first paragraph :-)

  13. Pretend not to do it? That’s a new one. I gotta try that.

  14. Thanks everyone for the great comments and suggestions.

    @ Orna — Love the “two hour battery life” tip! Except it’s more like 10 minutes with my old MacBook Pro battery. :-(

    @ Geoff – “So, to find out that it’s not a flaw in me, but a trait common to people like me, really helps.” Very pleased to hear it — this was one of my main goals for writing this whole series.

    @ Abby – Great example. If you haven’t seen them already, you might like to look at these two pieces on task overwhelm and information overload.

    @ Katie – ““Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly at first.” Love it! I can see myself using that …

    @ Bamboo Forest — Yes, I often find reverse thinking is the best option. ;-) And yes, determination is hard to beat.

    @ David – Have you come across Tony Buzan’s books Use Your Memory? Highly recommended if you want to improve your memory.

    @ Deborah – Thanks for the (ahem) smashing video! ;-)

    @ Claire – Thanks, that sounds a really good book. I used to be a Dreamer, more recently a Perfectionist. Blogging on a weekly schedule has helped me get over that!

    @ Ian — Interesting suggestion about leaving things out in the open. These days I have a tendency towards being a workaholic rather than a procrastinator, so I find it helpful to put things away in the evening! :-)

    @ Amrit – Well if imagining the worst works for you, then carry on! I try to use that kind of negative motivation sparingly, as I get more enthusiastic if I focus on my desired outcome. But every once in awhile it pays to remind yourself of what’s at stake.

    Re finding time amid urgent priorities, I see Claire’s given you some excellent suggestions. Also did you see this piece from earlier in the series? How to Find Time for Creative Work

    @ Ellie – would love to hear if pretending not to do it works for you!

  15. I would say that I tend to procrastinate the most when:

    1. I’m tired.
    2. I’m anxious (which is a really bad combination).
    3. I’m overwhelmed.

  16. I’m shattered! I thought I was the king of procrastination! All of you? Really?

    Great post, great ideas. I will try them out. Soon.

  17. This article made my day and hopefully the days to come because it told me that I was a high-level creator! I’m looking forward to my next great idea!

    p.s. Now I understand why my piano students don’t practice enough!

  18. Hi Mark, great article as ever.

    I think JM Coetzee sums up the fear of starting the project very well in these lines, from ‘Disgrace’:

    “He has, if the truth be told, been putting it off for months: the moment when he must face the blank page, strike the first note, see what he is worth.”

    I think that says it all really, but you’ve got some great tips for beating it, thank you.

  19. @ Mark – Sounds like a great recipe for procrastination!

    @ Greenie – Sorry, you’ll have to work harder if you want to win that contest. ;-)

    @ Tara – Glad to make your day. Feel free to show this piece to your piano students. :-)

    @ Mike – Great quotation, yes there’s definitely something about identifying with the work, so that any (imagined) judgment is really a judgment on the creator.

  20. I like the pretend not to do it idea… that’s a new one for me!

    My favorite way to approach procrastination is to evaluate what the part of me that wants to procrastinate is really trying to tell me. Usually, it’s either trying to get something it needs, or protect me from something. It’s probably not doing that in a smart way, but I can trust that that part of my mind is engaging in this bit of self-sabotage for some important reason. Once identified, sometimes I can reassure that part of my mind that it’s safe or will get what it needs without having to procrastinate.

    Is it afraid of something– success or failure or confrontation? Is there some other need that’s not being met– like a need for more sleep or more unstructured time or more fun? Sometimes I’ll sit down and write or doodle while trying to establish a connection or dialogue with Resistance. Unlike Steven Pressfield, I try to see my own Resistance not as an enemy but as a misguided friend trying to help me as best it can.

  21. Thanks Mark for the post, made sense in so many ways. This one “4. Accept that it Will Never Be Perfect” in particular made huge sense to me.

    I think what’s most important about how we go about doing our creative work is to focus on being engaged in the creative process rather than focusing on the outcome. Like Elizabeth Gilbert said in her speech at TED, all that matters is showing up for work and leaving our the work turns out to our readily available genius to figure that out.

    We are never to determine the outcome of our creative work, we are to engage in the creative process and let the work be done through us.

  22. Excellent stuff, Mark. Items 2, 4, and 5 on your list have proved most helpful to me in my ongoing creative dance with procrastination.

    I’ve tried #7 (putting yourself on the line), and found that it actually hurts instead of helps me. But I’ve heard people swear by it, so as always, it’s all about finding what works for you as an individual.

    #3 is freaking brilliant. I love it!

    Although procrastination is distinct from block, I’ve found they’re related in my own experience, and that’s where I’ve found the advice from Victoria Nelson in her ON WRITER’S BLOCK to be wonderfully affirming, and also quite helpful in a real and practical sense. She points out in various ways, over the course of several chapters focusing on several variations of the condition, that creative block in any form basically means you’re trying to force your unconscious mind or muse to produce in a manner and/or at a time that it simply doesn’t want to do. Figuring out how to get the two of you back into harmony is the key, and the only way to do that is to do some intense inner listening and outer testing.

    The same principle, I think, generally applies to procrastination, although I think in this case the hesitancy has an equal chance of residing either in the unconscious midn *or* the ego. Figuring out which is the case, and therefore what you need to do in the way of changing your approach, your circumstances, your timing, etc., is therefore the key.

    Maybe that’s why I like #3 on your list so much: because it flat out *tricks* the ego. Beautiful.

  23. @ Thekla – Yes, I’ve used that approach, particularly with clients when they get really stuck. If there’s a serious unmet need getting in the way, then addressing it can make a big difference.

    @ Tito – Yes, I agree about the importance of the process. In some fields (e.g. marketing) I’d say we also need to be very focused on the outcome, but even there, if we only chase the results, then we won’t do the great job needed to produce them!

    @ Matt “hesitancy has an equal chance of residing either in the unconscious midn *or* the ego” – very good point. So self-knowledge is critical in being able to tell the difference!

  24. So wonderful an article. Procrastination itself is my main block! So many ideas in mind but little engagement to actually sit up and start writing…
    With this report I hope to move forward.
    Congrats to the author.

  25. There is so much valuable information here. I love how it caused me to examine my own procrastinator tendencies. I am definitely a perfectionist procrastinator.

    However, I am also a “time procrastinator.” Not sure if that is an official type of procrastination but for me it is. I have big tasks that need to be done and I am constantly telling myself that they will take too many hours, hours I don’t have so it just never gets done. I think that I use the excuse of not enough time to put off the inevitable of getting it done. I do find the best way out of time procrastinator is to break the task into smaller pieces. Just this week at work, I was focusing on a looming project to be done. I took one of those large 2 feet by 3 feet tablets that you use in meetings and wrote down what needs to be done and put it on the wall by my desk. I found that I am able to work on it a little at a time because I have broken it down and the information is right in front of me. I can look at it and say, that will only take 10 minutes and it will move me closer to being done!

    I also use the timer technique and have found that very helpful in focusing.

  26. Hey Mark!

    #3 is indeed great, except i’m doing this line instead:

    “I’m just going to … (take this little step/prepare the kit etc) … , *that’s all*.”

    Then, my biggest downfall is usually on #1 i.e. making explicit decision. So chronic that i decided to make “Making Written Decision (and Trusting that i can actually follow through)” my daily habit, especially in the morning. Simply by adding “I will do” before a specific item on the to-do list and saying/imagining it repeatedly to fill my mind with it.

    That, combined with a “Nightly Eval” around the evening to check my actual follow-ups on the decision(s) i made.

    I also agree regarding the good ol’ Acceptance, Determination & Perseverance, especially to beat the perfectionist’s All-or-Nothing deception.

    The rest are good well-known stuff, only need some *clear throat* execution on my side …

    Thanks for this nice & handy little compilation :)

  27. It seems to me that we procrastinate on anything we want to do but we’re feeling too much resistance to doing.

    My preferred method for getting going is time boxing. If a task or project seems daunting, I tackle it for a ‘box’ of time. The way I do it is similar to the Pomodoro technique mentioned, but it’s less rigid.

    I look at what I want to do, then decide how long I feel like doing it for. This could be anything from 90 minutes (usually the longest I can face) to 90 seconds. The length of time is decided when I think to myself, “Yeah, I can face doing it for that long”.

    After I’ve done my time, I’m free to stop or continue, depending on how I feel and what else I’ve got on – after all, whatever extra I do ‘costs’ in terms of the knock on effect it has for the next item on my task list, and even the rest of my day beyond that.

    The trick is, of course, to do what you commit to doing in a time box, and to make sure you come back to it if you don’t get everything done in one go.

  28. Number 3 is awesome. “Pretend You’re Not Going to Do It”

    I always think if you can find ways to make of a game of whatever project you’ve been putting off. That’s a good way to get started.

  29. I am so easily swayed in my convictions to succeed by the slightest negative comment. That must have to do with perfection.
    I also have so many ideas I want to work on….well I just never get started. So prioritizing is an issue.
    LOL I used to coach people via chat on procrastination. Started a Yahoo group and everything. It seems I am good at helping people out of this issue but not myself. Sigh

  30. I have always had a problem with procrastination. But a large family and homeschooling have really helped me get my act together a bit. This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I usually put things off because the job seems too big and daunting but when I do get going I find out it wasn’t so bad after all.

  31. Mark, I have read hundreds of blogs on decapitating procrastination. I am supposed to write my proposal for a phd in graphic design but have been debilitated since I got the opportunity. It has been vey painful because usually I am very creative hardworking and reliable. So far your blog has been the only one that had some beneficial effect on my procrastinI-demon but it may be too late, i may have missed the boat. I wish i had seen your blog sooner. Thank you

  32. Pauline Webb says:

    I can’t believe it! Here’s me thinking that I am the only procrastinator in the entire world, and they are all better at working, more organised than me, more efficient than me, more likely to win the champion of the year than I am, and I suddenly find that there are hundreds, if not thousands of us!
    It certainly eliminates the guilt. Love all the suggestion, and am planning to try and implement a few of them pronto…. well almost pronto. All the different reasons make a lot of sense – I think so much of it is guilt. Many thanks for the ideas.

  33. I don’t procrastinate. I just have far more ideas that it is possible to put into action by one person in one lifetime (& that’s on a slow day ;)
    Also my tendency with blocks is to consider how big they are, how long they might take to sort themselves out, and how much they require from me to deal with them. Then I sidestep the slow ones and go onto the next project.
    It peeves people that I don’t always “come back”.
    the best ideas tend to pull me back to them in some form of their own accord – just not always what someone else is still grappling with… but that’s a whole other story (or three) :)

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