If you’ve ever said the words, “I know what to do but I’m just not doing it,” then listen up. I have had my fair share of experiences with procrastination. Procrastination is just not fun, and I know it can be so frustrating to make plans for yourself and then not follow through with them because of procrastination.
It’s one thing if things just happen, but if it’s due to procrastination, it can really get you down in the dumps.
Now, that being said, I don’t want you to be hard on yourself because shame and guilt will often actually keep you in that procrastination cycle longer. However, I know that if you procrastinate often, I know you are actively trying to figure out how to make this cycle stop and what to do when you just keep procrastinating.
So that being said, I am bringing you five things you can do when you just can’t stop procrastinating, and this stuff really is gold.
This will change your life because like I said, I have had my fair share of experiences with procrastination. But y’all. I was the procrastination queen. I basically deserve an award for being so good at procrastinating, and I would literally blame it on the fact that I worked well under pressure.
I mean, sure, I can get stuff done under pressure and the outcome may be great, but my well-being, on the other hand, turns out to be not so great. So, I get it. I really, really understand the mental fatigue and frustration you’re experiencing if this is happening to you. So, I cannot wait for you to learn these tips.
Since these tips are fire, make sure you grab a notebook and pen. I’m serious. They’re so good. It really changed my life because like I said, I really struggled with procrastinating and these are some things that just changed everything.
If you’re ready for it, let’s go ahead and get into number one.
1- Get clear on why you are procrastinating
Number one is to actually get clear on why you are procrastinating.
In episode two of this podcast, I walk you through the five reasons you might be self-sabotaging and how to biblically stop it, and procrastination is talked about in that episode.
Why? Because procrastination is often a symptom of self-sabotage. So, I highly recommend checking out episode two of the show if you want to get clear on why you might be procrastinating and ultimately how you can approach this from a spiritual/biblical perspective.
That being said, though, I do want to give you some tangible tips in this episode as well.
2- Determine your one needle-moving activity & Queen Routine activities
Tip number two is to determine your one needle-moving activity and your queen routine activities for the day.
Your one needle-moving activity is something that has to get done. This is something that will move the needle and is a hardcore priority.
The one needle-moving activity is not a daily habit or intention you do every day, like reading scripture, working out, etcetera. Those are things you do every day no matter what. Your daily habits are things that I would consider the Queen Routine activities.
On the other hand, the one needle-moving activity is simply an activity that needs to get done no matter what on top of your Queen Routine activities.
So for me, this will usually be some form of deep work. So, this could look like recording three podcast episodes, writing scripts for three podcast episodes or batching a week’s worth of content. That is what that looks like for me.
Now, in addition to this one task, I also recommend that you implement your Daily Sales System.
Now, if you need to for a while, let this Daily Sales System be your one task, like your one needle-moving activity, but I do recommend having those. But I would almost consider your Daily Sales System something that you do in your “queen routine” because it’s a daily habit.
The one needle-moving activity is more so something that you don’t necessarily have to do every day.
Now, a little tip I have for determining your Queen Routine activities and your one needle-moving activity is to determine this the day before, if possible. This actually goes into tip number three, which I will talk about in a moment, but please determine this the day before, if possible.
In addition, stop with the never-ending to-do list.
It’s just not going to get you anywhere because it’s going to make you feel super overwhelmed. It’s going to put you in analysis paralysis, and you’re just not going to get anything done. I mean, let’s be honest, when was the last time you actually finished every single thing on your to-do list?
I mean, for me, that was like never. So there’s that (LOL), which is why I implemented this because I actually got a lot more done and I was able to think about the things that actually mattered and do those instead of these random little things I had on my list that I was just doing because I wanted to avoid the hard thing.
But the hard thing was actually the thing that was actually going to get me the most results.
Let’s go ahead and talk about tip number three now.
3- Reduce the number of decisions you need to make in a day.
Now, why does this affect procrastination? This is because when you have to make so many decisions in a day, this creates decision fatigue.
Making decisions, and also not making decisions, is exhausting.
It’s truly exhausting and will often lead to procrastination simply because you’re spending so much mental space and time thinking about your next steps or thinking about how to get out of taking your next steps. I mean, who’s been there? I’m raising my hand over here because this has been huge for me to just get rid of making as many decisions as I possibly can.
So, here are some ways that you can actually reduce the number of decisions you need to make in a day.
First things first is to pick your one needle-moving activity the day before in addition to your Queen Routine activities. So, those are the habits that you would need to do every day, like scripture reading, working out, etcetera.
Another thing that you can do is to go ahead and decide what you’re eating. Maybe you need to write it down. Maybe you need to go ahead and have a plan of where you’re going to get the food, or if you need to meal prep, go ahead and make that decision. Maybe you need to decide in advance which days of the week you’re going to exercise instead of determining it the day of.
Maybe you wear similar outfits every single day. I’m pretty sure Steve Jobs wore the same outfit every day because he wanted to reduce the number of decisions that he needed to make on a daily basis. I do something similar. I wear the same clothes consistently every single week because I know my brain is going to be free and clear of making a decision about what I’m going to wear.
I just feel a lot more peace and relief, and that’s one less thing I have to think about.
That being said, if you just haven’t made a decision about something, and it’s keeping you up at night, just make a decision.
Just make a decision.
Just make one, because I can promise you that if it’s the “wrong decision,” God will reroute you.
God will reroute you and you have to trust that. So, just make a decision. Take away the stress you are putting on your mind, and let it go.
Make the decision and move.
4- The “Nothing Alternative”
Now, the “Nothing Alternative” is a tip for avoiding procrastination.
This was created and coined by a novelist, Raymond Chandler. He used it as a way to avoid procrastination with his writing. And Chandler basically had a hard time sitting down and actually writing every day. So, to combat this and to avoid procrastination and to actually kickstart him doing the work, he would actually set aside four hours every single morning and give himself an ultimatum.
His ultimatum was to write, or do nothing at all.
Essentially it was pretty simple. He didn’t have to write, but he also couldn’t do anything else.
So, if you are really having a hard time actually getting to work, this may be a really great method to try. And I personally would recommend trying this with your one needle-moving activity for the day. So, maybe set aside 60 or 90 minutes to do it, but you have to do it without email, Instagram, Facebook, text, tv, or any distractions.
Shut all the distractions down, and just get it done.
This is your time to focus because if you just sit there and you’re like, “Okay, I don’t actually have to do this thing, but I’m not going to do anything else,” you will probably get started.
Give it a shot.
5- Use Newton’s First Law of Motion to your advantage
Tip number five is last, but definitely not least, because this is actually one of my favorites, and that is to use Newton’s First Law of Motion to your advantage.
Now, what am I even talking about?
Let me take you to physics class.
Newton’s First Law of Motion, or Law of Inertia is:
“An object at rest, remains at rest, and an object in motion remains in motion at a constant speed and in a straight line, unless acted on by an unbalanced force.”
Now, this law doesn’t just apply when you throw a ball.
It also applies to your work life, your habits and your lifestyle. But how do I use this to my advantage?
Personally, I use this specific tactic a lot when I’m having a really hard time getting started on something, and I use this tactic by turning off all distractions, setting a timer for 15 minutes, and making myself do the work.
And I only have to do the work for 15 minutes. But for those 15 minutes, it’s going time, you know? And if I don’t actively work the full 15 minutes, I know I’m going to have to do it again. So, I actually do the work and it’s only for 15 minutes. And this works wonderfully for me because what usually happens is that when I get started, I can get in the zone and the hard part of actually starting is over because I’ve already started and it actually wasn’t as hard as I thought it was.
So, when those 15 minutes are up, I don’t usually stop, but I do give myself full permission to check in and ask myself if I want to continue working. And 9 times out of 10, I do. So, basically I’m combining the Nothing Alternative that I mentioned in tip number four, but adding on a time limit.
So, what does this have to do with physics?
Again, Newton’s First Law of Motion says, “An object at rest remains at rest, and an object in motion remains in motion at a constant speed.” So, getting yourself to move when you’re at rest is going to be the hardest part, but once you’re in motion, you are going to remain in motion. You’re going to keep going.
It’s not going to be as difficult to move once you actually get started. It’s hard to get out of rest because an object at rest remains at rest unless you make yourself move. So do what you have to do just to get started because that’s the hardest part.
This little tip works for me just about every single time.
And you can use this tip in more ways than just sitting down and doing your deep work. You can use it if you don’t want to go to the gym. Just put on your gym clothes, then just drive yourself there. Then just get yourself to walk in and walk on the treadmill for five minutes.
The most powerful, long-lasting, and life-changing transformations come to fruition by just getting started.
But if you don’t start, that’ll never happen.
You don’t have to change every aspect of your life right away.
You don’t have to go from zero to 100.
Stop thinking that you’re going to wake up an entirely different person tomorrow and change everything about your life that you want to change. Because true, lifelong, and lasting change happens with Jesus, of course, but it happens with small, consistent changes that you make every single day.
That wraps up today’s episodes. Those were the five things to do when you just keep procrastinating, and I really, really hope that these tips bless you and I cannot wait to hear which tips you’re going to implement next.
Send me a DM over on Instagram at @hannahbrindley and let me know which tip was your favorite.
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