How do we deal with procrastination in self-organized environments? Does anyone have resources/experiences to share?

If you are here just for a direct answer to the question, you can jump through this text until it says "possible answers for this question are*. If you want to experience a real life scenario of procrastination, keep on reading.

(this question was first placed in facebook group of Sociocracy 3.0 Internationa Community of Practice by Mira Bangel. Below is the answer i started to write there and soon realized it could be distracting for others. By writing it here I invite everyone to really connect with yourself before reading it and check in if this is really where you want to be right now to address whatever needs you wish to address. This writing is in itself an experience as a “shared journaling exercise”…)

Well…I can mostly bring you my personal experience as someone who is working/trying to work as independent contractor/consultant.

Procrastination is a word that usually I use after it happens.
Usually it means “I spend so much time doing something and didn’t manage to do what I wanted”.

Sometimes the word comes from my partner (expressing the need for me to be more available to her and therefore spend less time in the computer).

In both situations what I realize is that there is a living tension between domains and maybe even some lack of clarity on what those domains are.

I am aware that “my professional domain” is in need of clarity and order to be more effective and am currently acting on that driver, requesting a proposal from a third party.

At the same time I find that even answering this question of yours is someway deviating me from the tasks i planned to do this morning. And this happens because I let myself caught in an email from someone I contacted within S3.0 context which ignited in me the wish to come and see “what’s happening” in this group.

And then I catch myself answering - both the email and your question.

As S3.0 is both a “personal interest” and an area of “professional domain”, I allow myself to take the time to answer your question as both an exercise of self-reflection and of connecting with you and the people in this group and to connect to the S3.0 domain.

So How do I deal with it?
By first connecting to myself and “measuring my energy” and inner connect with the “people affected” by my choice of being here right now and not doing something else.
While I am at it I am already feeling energized by answering this post and therefore ready to proceed with the tasks I planned for the day, perfectly aware that I may benefit from clarifying these domains: Something happened meanwhile. My energy went suddently lower, I felt my eyes tired and the need to look somewhere else beyond this screen.

What really is my driver for answering your question?

  • Facebook is a place where I easily get into “butterfly mode” - as I like to also call procrastination - and I’ve just went and check what is a “dictionary” meaning of procrastination to find and “to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done”.

And I realize that this intentionally part is not fully there in here and while in the process of bringing it up into the surface, I realize that I have this child tendency of going after butterflies. I even would go further and call it baby tendency as my baby son seems to have this “going after butterflies” present in him too. This said, I realize that this evalutation of him is pure speculation and that I have no idea why he goes in direction A or B…I can just see that he goes.

So I guess I somewhat “deviate from my goals” even in my speech.

I remember reading Endenburg writings of this “searching mode”…as going “out of the path” into the unseen and the unknown being open to new possibilities.

So what possibilities are there rising from me writing this post ?

One of them is realizing that one of the tasks at least isn’t really “pulling me in”, meaning that to be coherent with my principle of responsibility and honoring my commitments, I really want to have it done. Maybe I can see if someone else can do it. Why doesn’t it pull me in? Maybe I also need to clarify the driver for it.

So right now I am using this question of yours for this “searching mode” and am realizing that I (I the Whole in me and around me) might benefit from clarifying the drivers associated with some of this planned “tasks”.

So, I really hope that you reading this benefit from this “experience” as much as I have already benefited from sharing it.

A lesson I take with me is that “as soon as I think on what really is the intention behind my procrastination, the procrastination stops and the aware behavior begins” and maybe those “boring tasks” can be handled or not handled in a more effective way to address whatever needs they were first “idealized” to attend.

possible answers for this question are

  1. Clarify the deadlines for the tasks that “need to be done”
  2. Clarify why the people not doing them are not doing them.
  3. If you see someone procrastinating or complaining about doing it, ask them if they have their drivers cleared out and priotized. For more on what is a driver, check
  4. A way to “fix procrastination” can be to apply the 5 whys to the people “doing it”, and then think on something to do about it (some possibilities for this are delegating, re-prioritize, re-schedule, align the environment around the task to the person doing it - put some music, have someone doing it with her, etc.)
  5. Get “third party” facilitation to this “driver clarification process”

A. Clarify the complexity of each task.
B. Clarify each tasks drivers
0.0 - Start by applying 5 whys to the tasks that create some resistance in you.
0.1. Why are you wanting to do this task?
0.2 Why?
0.3 Why?
0.5. Why?

— If this is still not enough to clarify the drivers, try out the steps below

  1. What are the needs I want to address by doing this task?
    1.1. What is causing those needs?
    1.2. What are the effects that not addressing those needs are causing?
    1.3 What is the impact of addressing those needs?

  2. What can be done to change the context causing the needs?

  3. What else can be done to address those needs?

  4. Who are the people involved in this task ?
    4.1 Who can benefit from this task getting done?
    4.2 Who can suffer from this task not getting done?
    4.3 Who else can do this task in an equally or more effective way?
    4.4. Who can both benefit and do this task in an equally or more effective way?

Well…If you find that an external inquisitive mind can bring you something good, I am glad to offer it as a service :-), so do contact me replying to this post or privately.

What else can be done to deal with procrastination in self-organized environments?
What are your resources and experiences to share?