Waiting is Not Procrastinating

by Francisco Saez

This chapter is a free excerpt from The Pursuit of Mastery.

June 17, 2013

Highly efficient people know when they have to start a task and when they have to wait. To be a great performer you need to learn to listen to that inner voice when it tells you to wait.

Throughout the years, you have accumulated experiences in your work, in your career, in your life. You have been trying things and have found what works and what does not. You have gained experience and wisdom. So when you’re trying to start a task and feel beset by doubts about what to do or how to do it, wait.


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June 17, 2013

Highly efficient people know when they have to start a task and when they have to wait. To be a great performer you need to learn to listen to that inner voice when it tells you to wait.

Throughout the years, you have accumulated experiences in your work, in your career, in your life. You have been trying things and have found what works and what does not. You have gained experience and wisdom. So when you’re trying to start a task and feel beset by doubts about what to do or how to do it, wait.

Listen to yourself, because it is your experience that’s talking. Although you don’t know exactly what’s wrong, wait. If you continue with this task, it will become a hard and arduous job, and you will not get into “the zone.” It’s not worth it, since you probably have other pending actions you can run more smoothly. Give it some time, and that weird feeling will crystallize into something more tangible and concrete, something that you will certainly know how to deal with. Then it is the time to do it.

Be careful! Don’t confuse that feeling of “I’m still not ready” with the fear of starting that makes us indefinitely postpone tasks we do not like or perceive too complicated.

To discern if it is one or the other, spend a few minutes to sketch out an approach to the task at hand on some paper: an outline, a short text, a mind map, a prototype, a doodle. Soon you will realize that, either you have it clear and are just procrastinating (in this case, give up the sketch and jump directly into the task), or there are some pieces of the puzzle that are not yet in place (in this case, this exercise will likely give you some clue about the problem).

Productivity is not a science. Let your instincts contribute to your performance.

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