Monday, March 12, 2012

Why Do I Procrastinate Anyway?

Have you ever asked yourself this question? The four following clues may surprise you!

Missing Milestones
It's easy to give up and procrastinate if you start randomly trying to list what you've been putting off until “next time.” Much of this comes from not knowing where you are in the first place, or being able to look back and see progress. You could create or get a lot of fancy tracking tools, but my most favorite tool is handwritten and homemade: a categorized journal. Using tabs from the office store, divide a notebook into categories and you've instantly created a catalog of your progress. Make a new one every quarter or every few months. Suggested categories for personal development might be Spiritual, Career, Fitness, Community, Family, etc. Business categories might be Finances,  Projects, Ideas, Marketing, Social Media, etc.

Mistaken Methods
You may be spinning your wheels and talking about what you “should” do without realizing that you simply need to try doing  it differently as opposed to “trying harder.” Do you really have to clean the counters before mopping the floor, or is it taboo to clean a room a day instead of cleaning the whole house on the same day each week? Should you REALLY attend every networking event possible, or could you try being fully present and active at ONE? Does it make sense to use up all your energy to present every single product and service you offer at every presentation you make? Who can you barter services/products with, and will you spend gas money to go do something yourself, or might you hire someone to get it done for you?

Mediocre Mindset
You may be struggling with expecting too much to be done at once and therefore getting overwhelmed at everything which needs to be done. It's easy to mistake a need to prioritize for procrastination tendencies. If you find yourself thinking, “I have a thousand things to do,” you may need to play what I call “focus tic-tac-toe.” Choose what will have the biggest impact financially, health-wise, and in the long term, and fill it into a handwritten tic-tac-toe grid. Then try to get three in a row! For BIG results, what you may need is a coach or buddy to help you let go of the non-essentials and really crush it!

More Motivation
 So, you have great systems, a way a of tracking your progress, and you know of something which you are still not moving on that truly is a priority for you. What gives? You may simply need a little accountability to help you give you a little kickstart. For example, I am so focused on some growth in my business lately that I haven't been choosing to take my exercise program up a notch. It's high priority for me, so rather than staying stuck there, I called someone close who uses the same program, and asked her to be  accountable with me by text. We check in with each other to see if we have worked out that day yet!


  1. I tried the categorized journal one time, but I ended up with a book full of ideas, most of which never got implemented. I need a really good system for recording tasks that don't need to be done now, so I can easily choose one when time becomes available. Any tips?

  2. Janet, were the ideas for personal home management things, or business? Were you really recording "tasks" in the categorized journal? What system do you use to record/plan tasks which need to be done now? I am trying to understand more about your situation.

  3. They were mainly business-related ideas that came to mind for marketing, service offerings, etc.

    I enter my client work in an Excel spreadsheet, with columns for the estimated time needed and priority, and that's working really well. Maybe I should treat my own business as a client, and put those tasks on there too.

    I generally have no problem staying on top of the most important things; it's stuff like updating my LinkedIn profile (important but not urgent) that tends to get overlooked.

  4. What a great idea about treating your business as a client, Janet! I think you've got it nailed! I once saw a multi-business owner who made a spreadsheet in google docs that all parties involved could access and update: the first column showed everything that needed to be done, the second, who was responsible, the third, status, and the fourth, pertinent details to the task. Can you simply put stuff like updating LinkedIn directly into your calendar, say one month out, and then float it to the next month or quarter once you've done it? I frequently simply put things on the calendar a little way out so there is no mental clutter, and I have a tickler out there on the day!