What are you afraid of?

Fear - by Mat Honan

Fear - by Mat Honan

That Creepy Feeling

Your about to do something, or you think I really should be … and then that feeling starts.

You know that feeling……. hands a bit clammy, breathing slightly shallow, the little voice that starts talking about all the other things you could be doing.

What happens then? Yep you guessed it, you procrastinate, because all those other things are so much more interesting (or less scary)

You see one the biggest triggers for procrastination is fear, whether that is a fear of failure or a fear of success (as crazy as that may sound).

Often what drives that fear is the inner perfectionist, you know that little voice that says it has to be just so.

It often means that things are put off until the last minute, because everything isn’t quite right.. and the closer the deadline gets, the higher the anxiety and the less right things are. That deadline is a real FEAR producer.

Why…

because you really didn’t figure out how long it was going to take you to get there.  We do this in two ways.

1) assuming we have forever [or at least until forever becomes tommorrow]

2) simply not knowing how long each part of the job is going to take, either because we over guesstimate our ability, or we under guesstimate how damn long it is really going to take to get that widget in shape before we can move on to doing the thingamebob.

So how do you fix it?

I’ve already talked about this in this post where there was some great practical advice from an old boss of mine, or you can get really practical and all project managementy (I’ll just make up words as we go) about it., and then Just F****N do it.

If you like the practical approach you could always apply this project management formula (and while you’re working it out it gives your brain another perfect reason for justifying why your not just F****N doing it), but I digress… the formula goes like this:

a= the best case estimate (you know.. when you think that will only take me a few hours to knock over)

m= the most likely estimate (you know.. how based on experience, you know it is more likely to take you a full day)

b= the worst case estimate (you know.. that offer of a few drinks, or doing something else means you really think it might take you two or three days to achieve)

then you use these magic numbers  a m and b to calculate E – which is a fair estimate of how long it really is likely to take you to do the task)….  and SD or a standard deviation  yeah yeah I know…

But HOW do I calculate E and what is a Standard Deviation?

well you do it like this..

E = a + (4*m) + b / 6

SD = (b – a)/6

So THEN WHAT… I hear you shout! (Patience, I’m getting there)

So (now that we have exercised a maths muscle that we haven’t used since school ;-}….We use those numbers to help us figure out a confidence level in our estimation…..

When you first calculate E we can rely on that figure at approximately 50% confidence level.

But when you start using your SD.. you can start to get REALLY reliable

So…

E + 1SD then gives you a confidence level of 70%

E+ 2 SD gives you a confidence level of 95 %, and

E+ 3 SD gives you a confidence level of 99.5%

Now that you know the chance of actually getting something done within a given time and with a degree of confidence (and let’s face it, it is up to you decide at what confidence level you want to be at you perfectionist) what is the solution…

maybe you saw it coming…. may be you didn’t….. but the answer is… whether you implement it before you do the maths or after you do the maths ………….at the end of the day you have to

JUST F****N DO IT.