Hesitation Builds Resistance

I was at my yoga class the other day and the teacher urged us all to get into the next posture as quickly as possible. "Hesitation creates resistance," she counselled. I couldn't stop thinking about the phrase.

As someone who feels like she is constantly struggling with procrastination demons, it made me wonder if the crux of all my procrastinating was actually hesitation itself.

Recently I've been thrust into a procrastination-free zone at work. I sit right next to my new boss. And yes, there are ways of procrastination that are not immediately obvious to the person sitting next to me, such as staring out the window or staring at objects on my desk. However, there is a limit to the time one can spend doing these things.

So I am forced to just get on with my work. And as much as I hate starting tasks, once I have started, I am fine – absorbed and in-the-flow, so to speak. And even when I get stuck on something difficult, I am forced to confront it straight away instead of procrastinating. It even helps to have my boss right there – he can't avoid answering my questions!

Which makes me think that (at least for me), it really is the hesitation that's creating the resistance.

But I'm still not sure how to create the-boss-sitting-next-to-you effect for other dreaded tasks in life, such as getting your taxes done or clearing out stacks of papers at home.

Perhaps that is why the idea of working on something for only a few minutes (many experts recommend 15 minutes or 30) can get people over that dreaded moment of starting. It's one of the tools recommended in The Now Habit, one of the best things I've ever read on procrastination.

I also wonder, if like in yoga, that it helps to think about any task as a physical one. Sometimes instead of thinking that I will start working on an article I just tell myself that I'm "just opening up Word." It's the same reason why I go through all my work emails (and actually respond or write down tasks in my to-do list) first thing – it seems like a harmless task, but it gets me in the work 'mood' and soon I forget that I wasn't really interested in working.

It's worth thinking about ways to overcome hesitation, because if all it does is build resistance, then it would be a really good idea to find a way to get beyond it. How do you keep from hesitating?

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