I think that everyone can relate on some level to the experience of procrastination. I can remember that in college, I would have a big project or exam and I would be doing anything I could possibly come up with that needed to be done EXCEPT studying for that test or completing that project. My apartment would be spotless, as I would find myself doing something that I dubbed “procrasti-cleaning.” There would be this big build-up of anxiety surrounding the task that lead me to avoid it. Once the task was finally completed (let’s just be honest and say 3:00AM the night before the test), I always remarked to myself about how the task itself was not nearly as big as how it actually felt.
I was working with a client one day and wanted some way to describe this phenomenon that we experience, and I came up with an avocado. Just hang in there with me for a moment! It will make sense – I promise! Let’s call the pit of the avocado the task itself (relatively small in relation to the overall size) and the meat (the good guacamole-makin’ goodness) represents the anxiety surrounding the task. I was later telling a friend of mine about this metaphor that I was proud to have created and she said, “Yea, and starting the task is difficult, so the outer layer, represents starting the task. I mean, when you think of an avocado, the skin is kind of rough and leathery, rather than like an apple or peach, so that works perfectly to represent how tough it is to get started!” Genius! I wish I could take credit for the whole thing, but I’ve got to give credit where credit is due.
So, now that I’ve got you Googling the closest Mexican restaurant to satiate your new craving for guacamole, next time you start finding yourself “procrasti-cleaning” or something equivalent, keep in mind that the task is only a small piece of how big it feels. Getting started may be a challenge and the anxiety surrounding it makes it feel like more of a burden than it actually is.