On a hot summer day in Dallas, Texas, where I live, the heat from the sun can be intense. When that sunlight is focused through a magnifying glass, its intensity becomes power – the power to catch things on fire – or the power to light a city. Just as focused light that can produce significant fire or power, or streamlined water that can cut through steel, focus produces significant power.
Rory Vaden, author of Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success, shared some insights about the magnification principle of focus in a short audio clip featured by Success Video. Vaden states, “An essential step toward improving our self-discipline is improving our focus. When we have diluted focus, we get diluted results. Another way of looking at it is minimizing the amount of distraction that occurs in life.”
To achieve greater focus in our lives and truly harness the power of this magnification principle, we must minimize distraction and procrastination. Vaden describes three types of procrastination:
- Classic Procrastination
- Creative Avoidance
- Priority Dilution
Vaden defines classic procrastination as “consciously delaying what we know we should be doing.” Most of us struggle with this problem in at least one area of our life. We might do great at work, but always put off necessary chores at home. We might always meet deadlines, but wait until the last minute to get up in the morning. Whatever it is, most of us are guilty of classic procrastination in some area from time to time.
A much more dangerous, and increasingly prevalent type of procrastination is what Vaden calls creative avoidance. He explains that creative avoidance is when we unconsciously fill our days with menial work, to the point where we end up getting busy just being busy. Vaden says that people who are caught in the trap of creative avoidance are engaged in activities all day, but not making any progress; being efficient, but not being effective, and doing things right, but not doing the right things.
“How sad it is that so many of our goals and dreams eventually give way to the meandering and the mundane. The choice is ours.”
The third form of procrastination that Vaden describes, priority dilution, most commonly affects high-performing people; “The ones who are the most busy, competent, and overwhelmed.” Vaden explains, “They know what their goals are, but they nonetheless allow their attention to shift to less important tasks. They have so many emails, meetings, objectives, family matters and other responsibilities on their plate, that they can start to lose control of their effectiveness.” A person struggling with this type of procrastination tends to take on things that aren’t urgent and make them important.
Vaden ends by stating,
“To achieve the focus we so vitally need, we need to manage three essential aspects of ourselves: our thoughts, our words, and our behavior.”
How about you – do you struggle with procrastination? I’m willing to bet you do. I do, we all do. But which type of procrastination trap do you fall into? Do you consciously delay doing things you know you should do, or is it an unconscious avoidance or neglecting of important tasks while you fill your day with less important busywork? I encourage you to think and reflect on these three types of procrastination and how they may be adversely affecting your life. Then, do something about it!
Procrastination may be normal, but it’s never good. “How sad it is that so many of our goals and dreams eventually give way to the meandering and the mundane. The choice is ours.”
To listen to the full audio clip from Success Video, click here.