4 Ways to Stop Goldbricking

Photo Features: Victoria Clemmons

     Did you know that the word "Goldbrick" is a synonym for "Procrastinate"? Seriously. I know. I couldn't believe it either. This is what the internets have told me. So it must be true.

     With that said, I have been goldbricking it up all day today. 

     I feel a little bit ashamed.

    I mean, what does it mean when we procrastinate?

     Obviously we don't want to face the task at hand. But why? And how can we break out of this habit of procrastination?

     I gather fear and laziness are the nasty little culprits underneath our lack of excitement when approaching a necessary responsibility. And below, I'll share a few quick tips to help us both get out of this procrastination rat wheel.


     When do you find yourself procrastinating the most? When you have a big meeting, getting ready for work, an assignment to prepare for, a research paper to write, a screenplay to finish, a book to read, working out, a resume to send out, a person to email back, a call to return? I can honestly answer a big fat yes to all of those.

     If you're anything like me, you like to feel free and not controlled or boxed in whatsoever, so the thought of being boxed in by a responsibility can be overwhelming at times, and creating a schedule in your life makes you already feel like you want to punch someone in the face. But how about I paint the picture this way...we are developing discipline. Not simply rigid rules and stipulations. And trust me, we want the fruits of what discipline can bring into our lives.

     Hear me out. 

     When you create boundaries in life, you actually allow yourself a clearer defined area of freedom within those boundaries, instead of being completely scattered and not clear of mind in any area or expertise, which in turn is actually bondage and not freedom at all.

     Put it this way. When does a small child usually feel most free, alive, and safe? When they are in an open area with no defined play area, or in a playground or open yard with defined boundaries of some sort?

     It's interesting that boundaries, not only create a safe place but also encourage more freedom and individual productivity. Instead of being a mediocre and insecure "Jack of all Trades", you become an Expert of being authentically you in your chosen trade.

     So how do we make this idea of boundaries and freedom work in the realm of procrastination?? What is it about procrastination that can adhere to such guidelines and discipline?

    First, let's remember that procrastination finds its fuel in fear and laziness. So be sure to starve yourself of those two attributes whenever you can.

     And now, let's look at 4 ways to break out of the cycle of procrastination in your life (And my life!).

1. Make the Task Somehow FUN

     On most days, I want to feel like I'm on an Indiana Jones Adventure. Even if I'm doing something mundane like making copies at a copier. But it's true, if you approach your task at hand with a spritz of joy, it won't be as daunting. Plus, if you are able to, like when you are writing, cleaning, or working on a project, incorporate listening to your favorite CD or choosing to reward yourself in some small way once the task is completed (I always seem to reward myself with food, massages, movies, or pedicures, but I'm sure there are other ways.)

2. Set a Schedule

     If you are making a decision to work out, it won't just happen by magic or simply because you think it. "A goal without a plan is just a wish". Look, I'm preaching to myself as well. I'm suppose to be chipping away at my current screenplay, but I have dusted that thing off since last month. But I digress. But as it goes, I'm relegating Wednesdays and Thursdays to chipping away at my script for at least 2 hours on those days. Then this gets written in every calendar that my eyes see in my life (iPhone, iCalendar, Gmail, etc.). There's something powerful about writing your schedule out.

3. Be Kind to Yourself

     There's no need to beat yourself up in the process. That's not going to help you or anyone else in the long run. You are much stronger than you know. And you are capable of far more than what you've seen so far. Truly. Also, tell yourself the benefits of how you'll feel once you accomplish and complete the at-hand task.

4. Just Do It

     Nothing like a good ol' kick in the pants. At the end of the day, you simply need to do what needs to get done. So you might as well do it with a smile on your face and a kind attitude. You'll be glad that you did. Plus it feels good to finish the little milestones along the way. Turns out, these little milestones prove to be far more important than we had first realized.

Wisdom's Knocking:

“The absence of limitations is the enemy of art.” 
 ― Orson Welles

Know When to Fold 'Em

     I find myself constantly pushing to get sometihng done, just to simply mark it as done. Yes, this could be a good thing, but not so much when you have reached the limit of exhaustion and the wise thing to do, would be to stop, rest, regroup, and try to tackle the project in the morning. Plus, rushing to simply mark something as "done", doesn't  mean that it gets "done well".

     Plus, there's no immediate deadline that I'm dealing with at the moment, just the sense of self satisfaction of getting something done. You know, checking something off the list. It feels so good.

     And it's quite the miracle when I get things done. I have equal parts sleepy procrastination, as well as, get-it-done-way-before-the-deadline-rush-mania. Plus throw in the fact that I could go down a variety of rabbit trails of other things to do while on my way to do the thing I set out to do in the first place. It just makes for interesting scenarios.

     All to say, tonight was one of those nights. I'm in preparation for another show that I'll be working this weekend. Tons of information keep streaming in, and I keep trying to find new compartments of my brain (or Excel) to place these facts and figures in.

     But now, it's gotten late, and I'm experiencing hazy vision. So instead of pummeling through, I'm gonna stop. And rest. Yes, as awkward as it feels to me, I'm going to resume this project in the morning.

     I just hope this unfinished business doesn't haunt my dreams.

     Isn't that what unfinished business does in the long run...lingers, bothers us, haunts us. Oh, but that's another blog altogether...Once again, we'll simply let it go, and trust that God has everything under control, especially the things that we do not, and even the things we think we do have under control.

Wisdom's Knocking:

Getting it done. Or getting it done well. You decide.