Tag Archive: putting things off

If you’re a chronic procrastinator your habit is regularly impacting your business and your life. You may have tried things to stop the habit and some things may have worked for a while, but then you found yourself right back where you started. You’re not by yourself.  What happens to most is that they get used to the impact and used to working the way that their habit has them work and dealing with the consequences. They become a bit resigned and continue to operate in the mayhem that procrastination causes.

That mayhem causes bad fruit to grow on what I call your Procrastination Tree™. Whatever you do plants seeds for something to grow later down the road, whether it’s something you want or not. You may not think of procrastination in these terms, but if you know who I am you know that I don’t look at or see things the way most do and this is no different.  Your procrastination has roots (symptoms), branches and fruit (impact). The fruit shows up in your life as:

  • An ongoing list of undone things
  • Wasted time and energy
  • Lost clients/money
  • Physical symptoms like stress (Which can lead to other things)
  • Missed deadlines and deliveries
  • Lack of efficiency

If your habit of putting things off goes on for long enough, you’ll start to see the fruit turn up in other areas of your life too. If you want to stop growth of the bad fruit, you’ve got to first look at what’s going on. How is procrastination showing up in your life? You have to explore what’s really going on, get the big picture before you can remedy it. When you start looking at it you see its impact and at that point you realize that the fun is over. You’ve got the bill and see your cost for putting things off.

Once you can wrap your head around what it’s costing you, it makes it easier to commit to ridding yourself of it once and for all. Exploring your habit in depth…the symptoms as well as the outcomes that impact you gives you clues as to where to look on a much deeper level. That is where you will find not only the cause for your procrastination, but the solution as well.

If you’re interested in exploring your procrastination, uncovering the real reason you do it, and then annihilating your procrastination, check out this master class series.


Unproductive Road SignIt’s easy to be caught up in the “norm” and go through your days winging it when it comes to getting things done. There are a few things that are clear indicators that you need help getting it together so you can get it done. I’m going to share five with you here.

  • The first sign is you’re confused about what to work on or to do and when. If you’re finding yourself challenged when it comes to knowing which of the many things on your plate to focus on, your productivity is impaired. When this is the experience you’re having, you find yourself here on a regular basis and waste a lot of time trying to figure out what to do. Here it’s about learning how to prioritize then sticking to those priorities.
  • The second sign is continually putting things off. How many things are you procrastinating on right now? If you don’t know, make a list of all the things that you keep putting off then ask yourself why you think you keep pushing back the time to get it done. The real reason is going to be much deeper and you have to do some digging to find it, but this is the first step.
  • Sign number three…you’re easily sidetracked and chase the BSOs (bright shiny objects). You start out working on something and then something else pops into your mind. Something that you forgot about, maybe something that’s due soon or a new idea. Instead of continuing to work on the task at hand you follow that thought, and for a long time, totally forgetting about what you were doing. Later you remember what you abandoned or worse, you don’t realize what you’ve done until you go to close your laptop or clean your desk at the end of the day.
  • The fourth sign is a disorganized office or forever messy desk. You can’t find anything and don’t have the space to work and that definitely wastes your time. It also creates a heavy energy in the space that doesn’t make it easy to get things done. That messy desk isn’t helping you either. I’m not talking about your desk being in disarray while you’re working, I’m talking about a desk with paper and other items that seem to have made your desk a permanent home.
  • The final sign is that you run out of day before you run out of things to do. You’re consumed by all that there is to do and it’s got control. You dive in and before you know it, it’s time for that meeting, or worse yet, the day is over, and it’s the pattern you fall into every day. So then it becomes necessary to add some extra hours to your work day just so you can get it all done, which has your personal and family life suffer. It’s a vicious cycle. One that you’ve got to bring to an end. It is possible to get it all done and have a life too.


3D Number 1To help you get your week off to a great start, look at what you’re doing on the prior Friday afternoon.  Even when you love what you do it’s still hard not to be eager to get out of your office on Friday early and get a jump start on the weekend. But before you go, do something that will give you a jump start on your upcoming Monday. Instead of giving in to that Friday itch, take a look at what you have left on your plate and choose just one thing to get done before you head out.

In making your choice, go for something that is a priority, something that you don’t want to do, or something that you’ve been putting off. You might also want to get a head start on that big project that you plan on starting the next week. Choose something that will really make a positive impact on your Monday and get that one thing off your desk or off your list. I know how tempting it can be on a Friday to look at just about everything on your agenda and say, “I can do that on Monday.” No matter how tempted you might be, don’t do it! Single out just one thing and make the commitment to get it done before you go. Speaking from personal experience there is a real sense of accomplishment that you feel as you wrap up that task, your day and your week, that will have you enjoy your weekend even more and take on the coming week with extra enthusiasm.



Tree SilouetteEvery year people put bulbs in the ground during the fall and the following spring, flowers appear.  People plant seeds to grow their own food and have fresh vegetables all summer long.  When we plant seeds, they of course yield or produce something.  Usually we get what we want because of the conscious effort that goes into the planting.

You also yield results when you put forth an unconscious effort, with the results being not necessarily what you want. The same is so when it comes to procrastination.  Just as trees yield fruit, procrastination also brings forth “fruit”. There are things that show up when you procrastinate that negatively impact your environment.

When you think of a tree you think about its roots, branches and its leaves and the fruit that it bears. There are a number of symptoms when it comes to procrastination, and they represent the roots of the tree. The most common symptoms are being disorganized, more interesting tasks getting your attention, taking on more than you can accomplish and getting a rush when finishing things at the last minute. Chronic procrastinators usually find that one or more of these symptoms are present for them. If you’re a chronic procrastinator, meaning that procrastination is prevalent in your life, you can probably relate to these symptoms.

When you look at the things you put off, you can see the impact. The impact, or what procrastination brings into play in your life are what I call the branches and the fruit of your procrastination. Not good fruit, but fruit nonetheless. It shows up as missed deadlines, causing a project to be delayed and can even lead to the loss of a client and a not so good reputation.

When you look at the impact you see that procrastination can be a pretty potent.  I think that you will agree with me when I say that everything that obstructive procrastination yields is bad fruit.

The majority of clients that I’ve coached through this process found that they are completely disorganized. Their office or work space was a total mess and their computer files and calendars looked the same way. Many have had the overwhelm conversation going on and found themselves distracted by the bright shiny objects when the tasks they didn’t want to complete came up. Needless to say, they experienced the loss of clients, other opportunities and loss of income.

What does your procrastination tree™ look like? Think about what’s at the roots and the fruit your procrastination is bringing forth. Think about who it’s showing up in your life. Are you losing clients, future business as a result of delivering late? How much money are you losing every day because you’re putting things off? Answer these questions for yourself and you’ll begin to see the impact that your procrastination is having on your business and your life.


So what did you see when you took that long look at your home and work life?  Are you spending the majority of your time working or putting off the things that need to get done?  If you’re working, what exactly are you working on and are those things relevant to your overall goals?  If things aren’t getting done, it’s time to look at your behavior to tell what’s really going on.  Start by keeping a time log and enter everything that you do on a daily basis.  At the end of each day look back to see how much time you actually spent on work and how much of it was spent on distractions.

If you’re spending time on distractions, what’s distracting you?  It might be something else that needs to get done.  If this is the case, look at the priorities and schedule appropriate time to get it done, commit to it and get it off your to-do list.

As I said before, the big question is, what is procrastination really costing you?  Looking at your time log, make note of the amount of time that you spent on distractions.  Multiply that amount of time by your hourly rate.  The result is just the cost for that amount of time.  Multiply that by the additional time that you’ve spent on distractions or on procrastinating and you’ll see what it’s really costing you.  Procrastination will not only cost you precious time, it will cost you monetarily.  You could be paying a pretty big cost for putting things off.

If procrastination is a big problem for you, I encourage you to check out my 12-week procrastination program.  Click here for details.

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