This is going to be the first of many blog entries. Watch this space and come back for more.
Today I watched a great online web seminar about business. I am in a very different niche to what Simon Lovell (www.simonlovell.co.uk) was talking about, but it inspired me to stop procrastinating and start doing.
I am a very proactive person, and I am often interested in learning new songs, listening to new music and completely immersing myself in what I do. However I am the kind of person who does lots and lots of research before I actually take action on something. In an example outside of music:
When I wanted to buy a new printer/photocopier, I researched for 2 days what the best model was and then searched for the best online price I could find online. Yes I managed to find a great deal (eventually) and I am very happy with my laser printer/photocopier. However, I forgot about the value of my time.
My time has value and those hours I spent scouring the internet for the best printer and deal, cost me in both stress and precious time that could have been spent with friends and loved ones, or working and being productive. I might have saved £10 on the RRP, but time with loved ones is priceless and I would much rather spend time with my sisters than have worried over such a relatively small amount of money. And the savings I made equate to less than minimum wage for the hours it took me "researching". In hindsight, this is not a very productive use of my time.
Simon Lovell described this as the Information Problem:
We learn information.
This gives us a BUZZ and a good feeling inside.
We then feel like we have achieved something because of the good feeling.
Then we take no action because we have already had the feeling of reward.
I was reading up on printers and getting a buzz from learning from how printers work and learning all about what it was I wanted. This then meant that I had a false feeling of achievement. Even though I still hadn't actually bought anything. Then nothing happened and I didn't do anything. I still didn't have a printer. So I did more research to work out which printer would be best. And the cycle continued.
So what can we do to break the cycle?
Just buy the printer. Then the quest for information about printers will stop and then you can use your time for more productive things.
Or stop watching youtube videos about how to knit, and just pick up a pair of knitting needles.
Or sit down at the piano and start practicing your scales.
Or in my case... stop watching videos of Renee Fleming singing on Youtube, and actually do your own practice!
Eventually you will work out that you can't do something - and then it is ok to do a bit of research on how is best to do it. Look for specific targeted information - and then get back to doing. You can find out specific answers and then get back to "doing" without flooding your brain with over-generalized knowledge first.
Stop researching and start acting upon the information you are receiving.
Derek Sivers talks about a similar thing in his talk for TED Talks. He says that when you tell someone about your goals you get a good feeling and then this makes you feel content as is if you have achieved it. So then you don't take action on it because you feel like you have already achieved it.
What is it that you are researching? Why not just take a chance and JUST DO IT.
What are your dreams and your goals? Stop talking about it and JUST DO IT.
And now I'm off to start learning some new songs.
I am going to re-read this blog post whenever I start procrastinating.
Have a productive day!
Jennifer Coleman is a soprano who works as a classical singer and vocal coach. Available for performances across the UK and internationally.