One of the reasons transformative change is so hard is that we struggle to break out of the way we are living and working right now.  Our busyness and temptation to procrastinate can get in the way of meaningful change.

The temptations of procrastination

The best article I’ve read on the mindset shift we all need to make in order to make the changes we really want is by Shane Parrish who says:

“The short game is putting off anything that seems hard for doing something that seems easy or fun. The short game offers visible and immediate benefits.”

The long game is much harder.  It’s about deferring short term rewards, it’s about self-discipline and it’s often about learning to say “no” and “yes” to different things.

This might be stopping scrolling through your phone and picking up a book or engaging with the what is going on around you.  This might be making sure you make time every week for quality conversations with your team.  This might be resisting back to back meetings and scheduling reflection and learning time.  This might be  taking a break at lunchtime instead of eating at your desk.  This might be putting up with bad behaviour instead of having that difficult conversation.

Or as the writer Annie Dillard said:

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.”

If you don’t schedule time change won’t happen

Which is why I often ask coaching clients to show me their calendars to see how they are currently spending their days.  If change is going to happen, this is one of the first places it needs to happen.

Shane Parrish again:

“The longer you play the long game, the easier it is to play and the greater the rewards. The longer you play the short game the harder it becomes to change and the bigger the bill facing you when you do want to change.”

So, what is your short game and what would your long game look like?

I would highly recommend journal writing. I joined one of Moyra’s journal safari sessions a couple of weeks ago and have been keeping a daily journal ever since. The main benefits for me is it’s helped me to keep perspective in these times, not to be too hard on myself and be thankful for the things I have achieved.

Justin Ellis

Innovation & Strategy, British retail bank