Management, procrastination, self reflection

Three separate and true incidents, yet one major lesson for how we run our private and professional lives.

1) My friend is retired from a life dedicated to academia. About a decade ago, he embarked on a private research project. His aim is to publish the work on the internet, where it will be available to all. Most chapters are complete. Some are already on the web. “But I am stuck. I cannot complete it,” he complained to me this week. This has been the situation for weeks, even months.

I quickly slipped in to my mentoring mode. “Did he have all the info” and other relevant questions. “Yes, yes”, he fobbed me off, dejectedly. And then rather impatiently, I prodded further. “What have you got lined up after this?”  The blank, negative look told it all; a painful question, which he was not ready to face. Busy all his life, the what next factor had been ignored for too long. Why?

2) Moshe Feiglin is a well-known local politician n Israel, dedicated to one particular issue. He is not popular in all corners. However, his family received amazing support, when their 16 year old son was rendered unconscious 3 months ago as a result of a car crash. Last week, 15 minutes before the onset of the holy Day of Atonement, the lad woke up.

The Feiglins had spent hours by their son’s bed, reflecting on why they had ended up in this situation. In an interview in Hebrew, Moshe referred to the fact that at the age of 48, he now appreciates how he has spent too much time away form the family in the name of supposedly important subjects. And when handling those issues, he had ignored the individual at the expense of longer term aims.

In effect, Moshe was saying that both his own private progress and his work was being hindered by his own self-mindedness. Why had it taken his son’s distress to allow him to face the truth?

3) As I was finishing my morning workout earlier, it suddenly occurred to me. “That lecturing project” – the one I had not pushed through to conclusion – I do not like it. I do not want to do it. Why am I wasting my time and that of others? Why can’t I be honest with myself?

How often have we all seen people procrastinate, at home or in the work place? Maybe a better word for procrastinate is “cover up”. If we will allow ourselves to be more “genuine”, how much could we benefit?

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