Are You Setting Yourself Up To Fail?

Yesterday I was checking my email and noticed something had come in from EB Games (a video games retailer) promoting the newest release of the classic Sid Meier game, Civilization 6.  They also pointed out that this was the 25th anniversary of the original game’s release.

Immediately I hopped on Steam and reached for my credit card.  I sat in the office thinking, “If the Windows computer is on at home and I buy it right now, Steam will download it in the background.  By the time I get home it should be downloaded, I can install it right away and maybe get a whole game in tonight before bed.”

I was pretty excited, I love Civilization!  I remember when the original first came out, I pre-ordered it from the game store at the shopping centre directly across from the hobby store where I worked.  The game kept getting delayed and every time it was due to be in the store, I’d turn up and the manager would tell me the new release date.  Then one day I walked in, half expecting another delay and the manager smiled and handed me the game, “It was the first one I took out of the box, I wouldn’t even put them on the shelf until you came for your copy!”

I rushed home on the bus, opening the box on the way and read the massive game manual that Bruce Shelley, the co-creator had personally written.  As soon as I got in the door I rushed to my room installed it and promptly stayed awake for another 30 hours playing the game.  I skipped school that next day and played through the entire weekend.  My father actually asked me if I had taken something because I must have looked totally whacked out.

These days, I don’t really play many computer games and rarely do I get very excited by them, but that email brought back all of those memories.  The fun I had playing that game and all the sequels, including the ludicrously underrated Colonization, came flooding back to me.

It was a no-brainer that I’d lose this weekend to Civilization 6.

Except I hesitated… Steam came up, I saw the big green “Buy Now” button and I didn’t press it.

It had nothing to do with the game, something in the back of my mind triggered and made me remember that I’d planned to do some work on the business this weekend that I’d been kind of procrastinating on.

Then, almost as if someone was speaking to me from inside my head, I thought to myself, “If you buy this game today you will not be able to exercise self-control and you will lose your entire weekend to it.  You are setting yourself up to fail by clicking that button.”

And so I didn’t click the button… I really wanted to, but I didn’t.

Instead, I opened Evernote, I went into my Casual Marketer notebook and I created a new note entitled, “Things To Do – 22/10/16 – 23/10/16”.  Then I made a list of all the tasks I wanted to get through this weekend.

It was a really long list and the more I wrote, the better I felt about my decision not to buy Civ 6 (even though I really, really wanted to!)  I became more focused on the things I needed to get done this weekend, fleshed them out more and started to actually get excited about those activities.

When that list was done, I closed Evernote and the browser window with Steam in it and went on with the rest of my day.

It did start me thinking about how often we do things that effectively distract ourselves from getting the things we want to do, done.  Most of the time it’s not as overt as buying a video game and spending countless hours on it rather than doing the things you need to get done, it’s usually more subtle.  It could be as simple as watching an extra episode or two of a TV show on Netflix rather than writing an email or reading a forum instead of working on landing page copy.

All of these little things add up.  It’s death by a million paper cuts.  We set ourselves up to fail by being unfocused and not getting the bits and pieces that need doing, done.  It’s busy work in some respects – you find yourself doing a bunch of small meaningless tasks that don’t move the needle and then suddenly you’re not where you want to be.

As someone who is running multiple side hustle businesses, this kind of procrastination and lack of focus can really harm your chances of success.  It’s hard not to get run down and tired, but that’s the path we’ve chosen as Casual Marketers, so if you’re like me and at times you can be distracted then you need to remember sometimes to just knuckle down and focus because the work isn’t going to do itself while you’re building Pyramids and conquering the Romans in Civilization 6!

Sean’s Update, January 3rd, 2018 – I ended up buying Civ 6 just before Christmas 2017 because I saw an ad on Facebook for it at a massive discount.  Then when I clicked the link I got an additional discount, so this normally $60 game cost me $15.  That was three weeks ago and I haven’t even looked at it… I’ve just not had time with everything I’m trying to get done.

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