A Day in the Life of a Professional Procrastinator
Wake up to the alarm. Oh, it’s so early! I feel pretty tired this morning, I think I’ll just rest for a little while…
Wake up again, this time to the light streaming in the window. On the third try, the covers get pulled back and the stumble to the kitchen for breakfast begins. I think I’ll check my email why I wait for the kettle to boil.
Still responding to these emails that came in. What was I meant to work on today? I think I’ll just check Facebook really quick. I need to update my page…
Closing Facebook. Where did the time go? I really need to call those new clients that tried a session yesterday morning. But first, I better stop to have lunch. I’ll call them after lunch.
Doesn’t the bathroom need cleaning?
And the house vacuumed. Better take care of those dirty dishes too. Also, need to return those video tapes.
First client is at 5:00pm. Time for a quick bite before heading off. I never did call those new clients…
Arrive home from evening sessions. I’m pretty beat. I think I’ll watch some Game of Thrones before I head to bed.
Does this story sound familiar? It reminds me of someone I know quite well. Me.
You could argue that our Professional Procrastinator (PP) got a lot done in their day. Our PP trained some clients, cleaned the house and managed to clear out their emails.
But all of that was stuff that would have gotten done anyway. PP used them as a way to feel busy while avoiding the important work that was going to grow their business. In this case it was to call the two clients who might become paying clients.
Even from a non-salesy perspective, calling people the day after they did a workout with you for the first time is just being caring. Yet PP put it off.
Why? Let’s look at one possible reason.
Fear of success
From reading all of your comments over the past two weeks I know a lot of you share a fear of mine.
That is fear of your own success.
I could write a whole article on this but that would blow this article out to thousands of words. I just wanted you to acknowledge that sometimes you procrastinate as a way to avoid doing the important work that is going to make you successful. In fact there are studies that show that our brain does actually fight us in this, but being aware of it can help you put down the Facebook crack pipe and instead pick up the phone and make those calls.
Let me know if you want to hear more about this in the comments and I’ll do an article or video on it.
Start with your most important task
Over the last few years I’ve worked out a few methods that help me get things done like writing books, blog posts, exercising, meditating, cooking, reading and socialising.
All while digging into a TV series or two (at the moment it’s The Blacklist) and keeping my part-time gig as a Professional Procrastinator.
For each day of the week pick one task from your task list (remember those tasks that we created out of our projects, goals and ideas?) and make that your Most Important Task for that day. It helps to decide this the night before.
Your Most Important Task the first thing you do that day. If it’s planning out your workouts for the next month, that means that after you get up and complete your usual morning ritual you sit down and start planning those workouts.
You don’t check Facebook.
You don’t check your emails.
You don’t turn on the TV.
You don’t vacuum the house.
You just do that Most Important Task.
Then, when it’s done, you can do those other things if you so desire. But at least you have completed one of your tasks from your list which puts you one step closer to finishing. Just like a marathon.
Alternative approach: Every twenty minutes counts
OK, now I realise that many of you do not have the luxury of long uninterrupted periods of time in your morning. You have kids to take to school and look after. Or maybe you are working full time while hustling away your bootcamp biz on the side. Whatever it is, mornings are out and afternoons probably are too.
So for you I want you to take another approach. This is the system I use while travelling and my routines all messed up. It’s also the system I’ve seen many parents who are juggling a business and kids use to grow an awesome business.
That approach is to make every spare 20 minutes count.
Instead of setting one Most Important Task for the day, you are going to create a list of tasks you want to complete over the entire week (again, pulling from your project task lists).
In this method it’s really important that your tasks are well defined. You are only going to have maybe 20-30 minutes to complete them so you don’t want to waste time having to think about how to do them or how much to do.
Here are some examples of well defined tasks:
- Email Erin Taylor her new bootcamper kit.
- Plan 1 workout for next week on paper. Do this three times this week.
- Go to awesomeequipment.com and order 5 new medballs. 2x 10lb and 3x 15lb.
- Call Terry Monroe at the shoe shop on 0421 9876 5432 to organise a time to meet to discuss a deal for my campers. Monday or Wednesday for lunch is best.
All of these tasks tell me exactly what I need to do and how I’m going to do it. You will want to put aside some time each week to update and replenish this list.
Do this and even among the chaos of life you will find yourself making progress on these goals that are so important for you.
Tip: Remind yourself why you are doing this
Before leading into the next section, I want to share a little tip that I’ve picked up along the way.
There is going to be times when you feel completely overwhelmed or completely out of your comfort zone.
At these times you may just feel like giving up. Or shutting the door and watching the entire series of Battlestar Galactica.
In these moments I try to pause.
I pause and remember why I am doing this in the first place. Remember those Why’s we wrote down for our projects? This is where they become super important.
Doing this always brings me back to where I am and gives me the energy and focus to keep going.
Unless of course I can’t think of a good why. If that happens it’s probably time to review the projects I’m working on.
Don’t be all about work
This is something I struggle with too. I think all entrepreneurs do.
Without the 9 to 5 boundaries of a workplace, our work kind of bleeds into all aspects of our lives.
This is not a bad thing but it is important to have some of those weekly and daily tasks be related to our personal lives.
It could be as simple as a TED talk or as big as planning a special holiday for your family.
As simple as getting outside for a walk or as big as planning to run an ultramarathon.
Whatever it is, personal growth will benefit all areas of your life, so make sure you include tasks that keep your growing as a person.
This is the last assignment of the 21 Day Challenge. Sad I know, but that means you’ve nearly made it!
We will touch base on Thursday so I can hear how you went.
For this assignment I want you to choose one or a mixtures of the methods I wrote about above:
- 1 big important task for the day or;
- every 20 minutes counts
Then write down the tasks you plan on completing this week, either assigning each task to a day or by having a list for the week.
If you are feeling gutsy, assign up to three important tasks for each day. Just so you know, things that will happen anyway like ‘check email’, ‘train David’ and ‘cook dinner’ don’t count.
Share your tasks
What tasks have you got planned for next week?
Share with us below which method you think will work better for you and then share your task list for this week.
Looking forward to seeing what you have planned!