It’s amazing that when you are not inspired, it’s hard to get started, have the energy/mojo to take care of projects, or make progress on deadlines. I found myself in this particular state when it came to working on my monthly Life Letter for July, which I am 11 days tardy.

I just came back from San Diego, where I connected with a dear friend and his family. Instead of working on my Life Letter, I decided to enjoy my time and fellowship. My friend has two young boys, who are totally immersed in cardistry, which I discovered was the art form of card tricks and sleight of hand. I had met both of them when they were infants and toddlers, and are now growing into fine young boys, soon to be teens. I was truly impressed by how every moment when I was with them, they were playing with their card decks and showing me cool, mind-boggling tricks. It made a great impression on me, whereupon I purchased a card deck to practice and learn cardistry.

The fact that it has taken me this long to write my article made me question whether or not I am inspired with writing. Instead of judging myself, I realized that even when I was writing my books, there were moments I had writers block, and until I was inspired and felt in the flow, no concepts would form in my mind that I could transpose to paper. I asked around for suggestions on topics to write about, but it was not until I looked at the procrastination topic, that the light bulb came on.

I have often referred to myself as a skilled and professional procrastinator, because in my formative years, I would wait to the last minute before I would write a term paper or study for exams. I often would mentally castigate myself saying that next time I will start way in advance, but it never happened. What I realized is that when something was on the line, the adrenaline rush and challenge to see if I could pull it off, always trumped earlier preparation. I was fortunate and lucky to pull through and succeed, which perpetuated my procrastination, due to no adverse consequences.

Examining procrastination further, I discovered that motivating yourself does not really work, and it takes more energy to get going than when you are inspired about something. When you are inspired about what you are doing or learning, you don’t need to be reminded or motivated, you just take action and do it. This is where your values come in. Whatever is of highest value to you, whether it be acceptance, money, success, family harmony, mental stimulation, or fun, you will prioritize it first over any other value.

To be less judgmental about procrastinating, tell yourself you were inspired to do nothing and you prioritized that as your highest value at the time. By doing so, you are able to avoid feeling guilt or shame for not taking care of things that you thought were most important to you. Know that if it were of the utmost importance and of highest value, you would get it done and see it through. Be more kind and gentle with yourself. Know that taking a pause from time to time is essential to reassess where you are, and to see what is currently important to you.