Whether preparing taxes, preparing a report, or taking out the garbage, we might find ourselves waiting “until it’s really important.”

Why do something that’s not important now? It’ll be important later.

The logic seems fairly solid. The trouble is most things are not about straight logic.

What we are truly doing is waiting for the emotion of urgency to overwhelm our “I don’t wanna feelings”. We are helpless to act in either state and have instead opted to leverage one against the other.

The cost is significant. Urgency often comes with a host of other emotions including:

  • Anger: “I can’t believe I have to do this!”
  • Shame: “I can’t believe I’ve let it go on this long…”
  • Frustration: “Where’s the stuff I need to do this?!”
  • Hopelessness: “How can I possibly get this done in time?”
  • Helplessness: “How can I ask for help? I’ve already burned my lines of good will for the same problem”
  • Perfectionism: “I’ll never get it done right.”
  • Negative sense of self: “How am I always in this position?”

Still, somehow you once again muddle through maybe with the help of sleeplessness, caffeine, and a few self-recriminating harsh words, all helping to drown out these otherwise crushing emotions.

You may even do the thing well. Supposedly, this would mean that “you’ve learned your lessons”:

  • “Next time, I’ll start earlier”
  • “I am more capable than I think”
  • “It’s usually not as bad as I think it will be”

But, how often do those lessons actually internalize?

I’m guessing not often.

But, why not? What’s going on?

These negative emotions are increasingly associated with the act of working itself. Anxiety, fear, and the rest grow enmeshed with the feelings of work.

In other words, rather than learning in the direction you may like, one with a calmer and more confident approach, the pattern of stress instead reinforces a very harsh internal world.

The harshness is what gets you through it after all, albeit with a few fresh scars each time.

But, that means that the next time you try to make it through work, those scars come along, some even reopening in the process.

It’s an awful cycle in which you might begin to feel that working with your back against the wall is the only option.

Waiting for a deadline is a Force-based method of work.

The alternative is a Visit-Based method. Most simply stated, it is about showing up *without the need to work*. Do so early and regularly, and sometimes you can finish well ahead of a deadline with much less misery.

– Kourosh

PS Consider trying this exercise – list out a bunch of things you have due. Chose one of them that are *furthest* out. Pay a visit to it for as short or as long as you want, but perhaps at least for the measure of a single deep breath. If it’s not done when ready to step away, do it again tomorrow.

PPS The Visit is the centerpiece of the Waves of Focus methodology to calmly and sometimes even enjoyably guiding a wandering mind.