A Blessing and a Curse

Tony Shalhoub as Monk

If you were a fan of the TV show “Monk”, as I was, you will recognize the phrase “a blessing and a curse.” It’s how the title character, a brilliant detective with phenomenal observational and deductive powers, described his talent.

I recently found myself in a blessing/curse situation. I was asked by my professional association, the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), to record a class that would become part of a new certificate program. I had delivered this class at the NAPO conference back in 2010. It was recorded at the time, but due to contractual arrangements, NAPO did not own the recording. In order to provide access to the course through the NAPO website, it would need to be re-recorded.

I was honored to be asked to record my class. I knew that the NAPO Education Committee had listened to dozens of past recordings to find content suitable for the new certificate programs. I was excited that my class had been selected and that it would be prominently available to my colleagues. Plus, to sweeten the deal, I was even being paid for it.

That’s the blessing. So what was the curse?

Recording a class that I delivered 6 years ago was going to require some effort. I had to find the slides and the notes, listen to the original recording, incorporate any changes based on the comments and questions that people made, and then practice. Plus I had to get comfortable with the technology needed to record the class and advance my slides at the same time.

At first, my problem was lack of time. But once my busy schedule cleared up a little, I still found myself procrastinating on this project. I help people with time management, so I know the reasons why people procrastinate. And this situation seemed to touch on many of them:

  • Feeling that the task is too large
  • Fear of failure
  • Perfectionism
  • Intimidated by technology

I broke the project down into smaller steps so that I could tackle them one at a time, but even that didn’t help me to get it done.

Finally, I resorted to a technique that has worked for me in the past: I set myself a deadline. (See my earlier post, In Praise of Deadlines). In addition, I made this deadline public by notifying my contact at NAPO headquarters, who needed to reserve the recording system for me.

I finally recorded the class last week. It went more smoothly than I expected. But without the comments and questions of a live audience, it was shorter than I wanted it to be. So I spent even more time on it, adding more value to the presentation. I just recorded it again today. It feels great to finally get this monkey off my back!

As a Professional Organizer, it’s embarrassing for me to find myself in the same situations for which I help my clients. But it helps to remind me that we are all human and subject to the same pressures and anxieties.

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