How to End Procrastination (you know you need to) (ep. 39)

Getting on top of your schedule, and ending procrastination, is vital. But how to do it, in a way that feels empowering rather than like drudgery? In the final part of this 3-part series, Pamela shares the secrets to mastery over your time and your tasks!

In this episode, you will:

  • Learn the 4 ways that people procrastinate, and the easiest ways to overcome them.
  • Discover the secret to clearing your work calendar so you have more time in your day to be creative.
  • Identify the #1 thing that interferes with you enjoying your day, and turn it around!

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Timecode Guide:

  • (01:58) 4 Ways People Procrastinate
  • (11:08) How to clear your work calendar
  • (14:37) #1 thing that interferes with you enjoying your day

Resources Mentioned

Want to know more about how to attract your ideal clients online? We’d love to chat! Grab a Breakthrough Session with one of my coaches to learn how to create real impact and income online.

Podcast Transcription

Episode 39: How to End Procrastination (you know you need to)

Intro

Intro (00:00):
You’re listening to A Profitable Impact.

Pamela Bruner (00:02):
Getting on top of your schedule and ending procrastination is vital, but how do you do it in a way that feels not like drudgery, but empowering?

Gene Monterastelli (00:12):
Welcome to A Profitable Impact, where every single week we help experts like coaches and healers to expand their reach, increase their impact in the world and to be well-paid for their extraordinary skills and talents. My name is Gene Monterasteli and I am the lead coach in Pamela Bruner’s Impact Accelerator Coaching program. And now please welcome my friend, my colleague, and the CEO of Attract Clients Online, Pamela Bruner. How are you doing today, Pamela?

Pamela Bruner (00:38):
I’m doing great and excited to dive into procrastination. Although, maybe we ought to just wait until next time. Sorry, that’s bad. So let’s talk about getting on top of your schedule and procrastination because you and I have taught about procrastination so many times, and it’s just a conversation that I absolutely love having, because I see it turning on light bulb moments for people, creating aha’s.

Pamela Bruner (01:06):
And so we’ll talk today about the four ways that people procrastinate and the easiest ways to overcome each one of those. We’ll look at the secret to clearing your work calendar. So you have more time in your day to be creative and productive. And we’ll help you identify the number one thing that you can use to move forward in your day.

Gene Monterastelli (01:27):
As we have this conversation, if you’re in a situation where you recognize that, even with the clarity of the conversation today, that you are still stuck in the rut of procrastination, we would love for you to have a conversation with one of our coaches to help you break out of that, so you move from procrastination to productivity and profit. To have one of those conversations. All you need to do is go to bookmybreakthroughcall.com. That’s bookmybreakthroughcall.com. And absolutely free, you can get in the calendar of one of our coaches and they will help you to move from that procrastination.

4 Ways People Procrastinate

Pamela Bruner (01:58):
Let’s talk about the four ways that people procrastinate, and this gets to the core of why people put things off, why they resist. And one of the reasons that procrastination is so hard to overcome and identify is that unless you analyze why you are procrastinating, your very clever brain will come up with all kinds of good reasons why something should be procrastinated.

1. They Don’t Like Doing it

Pamela Bruner (02:23):
So the number one reason that people procrastinate is they just don’t like doing the thing itself. So no one likes taking out the trash or changing the kitty litter or that kind of thing. And so often, those unpleasant tasks are procrastinated because the task itself is unpleasant. This is where a lot of our clients want to procrastinate marketing tasks because the task itself feels unpleasant.

Gene Monterastelli (02:48):
And one thing that’s really important to recognize when you’re looking at these things that, we don’t like doing the thing, that is something that is going to be 100% subjective and it’s going to be unique experience. There are some people who hate cooking dinner and there are other people who love cooking dinner. There’s some people who hate doing their books, there are other people who’ve made a career out of it because they love spreadsheets and the numbers.

Gene Monterastelli (03:12):
And so when you’re looking at these things that you don’t enjoy, recognize it is okay for you not to enjoy the things that you don’t enjoy. We want to do things to overcome that, but don’t be ashamed or don’t be embarrassed by the things that you don’t like. What you don’t like is what you don’t like. And like Pamela said, it’s important that you know what that is, so you can respond to.

Pamela Bruner (03:33):
And sometimes the response to, I don’t like this is, do you not like it because it is unfamiliar or you feel incompetent at it?Because I’ve seen over and over, over the last 12 years that I’ve been doing this, and 10 years, that we’ve been doing this, get together, Gene, that clients have initially come in saying, I don’t like marketing, I don’t like sales, I don’t like networking.

Pamela Bruner (03:54):
And after we work together for a few months, they go, wow, I actually really enjoyed that networking event or sales feels like so much fun to me now, we hear that. So it is possible to turn those things around, but the self-awareness to say, I don’t like this. I am uncomfortable with this activity. And that’s why I want to push it off. That self-awareness is really important.

Gene Monterastelli (04:16):
And it’s not just that we don’t like doing the things that we’re bad at. We get a little endorphin rush from doing the things that we’re good at. So we get it coming and going. So it’s really important you recognize this because you don’t want to be just doing the things that are fun for you in your business.

2. The Outcome Is Scary

Pamela Bruner (04:34):
Let’s talk about some of the trickier reasons that people procrastinate. And the next one, I love this one, is the thing itself is not unpleasant, but the outcome of the thing is scary. So for example, one of the examples I like to give with this is, if people are writing a book, they may love the activity of writing the book. But the outcome of writing that book is the book will be published.

Pamela Bruner (04:58):
It will be out there for people to see. Perhaps people will criticize it. I will come under scrutiny and that won’t be good. So the activity itself of writing is not scary, but the outcome of having that completed would be. I know people who have written 90% of their book in a few months, and then the last 10% seems to take three years and that’s because of that fear.

Gene Monterastelli (05:20):
I had a client, Pamela, who was in this circumstance where success was dangerous. And the reason was that when she was growing up, whatever she did, no matter how much she achieved, that immediately became the new normal. So she got a 90% on a math test. Her parents, all of a sudden expected her every single time she did something. She had to get a 90. And then if she got a 92, 90 was no longer acceptable, therefore having a 92 was only the standard that she could live up to.

Gene Monterastelli (05:48):
And so sometimes, and you mentioned that this is tricky, is that there can be hidden dangers that we’re not consciously aware of that come with that success. And it might be like you said, being seen and being more visible. But other times it might be, if I do this well, people are going to expect me to do it well, all of the time. If I work really hard to get this outcome, I have to keep working hard all of the time. And it’s important that we’re aware of those. And these are the ones sometimes that are harder for us to see, because it doesn’t seem obvious why I would fear success.

3. They Don’t Know How

Pamela Bruner (06:19):
Great example. The third way that people procrastinate is they procrastinate because they haven’t identified how to do something or they don’t know all the steps of it. So if I say something like, I want you to pick up the phone and I want you to reach out to 10 people who might be potential clients or referral partners, which is certainly an instruction that I’ve given to clients in the past. If they say, okay, I’ll do it. And then somehow, five days later, nothing has happened, it’s because, although it looks like they would know how to do this.

Pamela Bruner (06:53):
I know how to pick up the phone. I know how to dial numbers. Do you know what to say when you get somebody on the phone? If you have to leave a voicemail, what will the voicemail look like? If you get them on the phone, what’s the first thing you should say? What’s the next thing you should say? How do you complete a call? Because they don’t know, until we gave them the structure, they didn’t have all of the how’s, they would often say, sure, I’ll do it, but then procrastinate it, just because things were in their way.

4. They Don’t Have The Right Tools

Pamela Bruner (07:22):
And the final way that people procrastinate is when they don’t have the right tool, the right stuff, the right next step. So one of the examples I love for this is this idea, I need to change the screen door on the back of my house. It’s broken and I have the new screen door there, but I don’t have the right screwdriver or something like that. I don’t have the right tool. So my next step is not change the door. My next step is go to the hardware store and get the right tool.

Pamela Bruner (07:56):
And so every time I start doing it, I realized, oh, I’ve got this other step in there. And I’m not prepared for that step or I’m unable to take that step or something like that. There’s actually a fifth way that people procrastinate that you’ve, you’ve given the example many times of the Christmas tree and they procrastinate because they don’t break it down. Do you want to give that example again?

Gene Monterastelli (08:19):
Absolutely. And so, the concept is this idea of, we will not do things that we do not feel like we can complete. And so if I have a project on my to-do list and I don’t have enough time to do the project, I won’t start. And so the example that Pamela is referencing is, setting up the Christmas tree is a project. The tasks of setting up the Christmas tree are clearing the furniture out of a corner, getting the Christmas tree out of the garage, getting the ornaments out of the attic, setting the tree up, putting the ornaments on the tree.

Gene Monterastelli (08:56):
And so if I have set up Christmas tree on my to-do list and I don’t have enough time to set up the Christmas tree, then I’m going to avoid that particular task because it’s not a task, it’s a project. But if I take that project and I break it down into tasks, then I might have a few minutes and it’s like, oh great, I can rearrange the stuff in the corner of the living room and create the space for it. Or, Ooh, I’m coming in from running some errands, I can grab the tree as I’m coming into the house and I don’t have to stop the flow of what is going on.

Gene Monterastelli (09:24):
And so by taking our projects and breaking them down into tasks. And so as you’re learning how to do this, I encourage people to be as detailed as possible when they’re doing this. And as time passes, you’ll recognize, okay, that’s too many steps. You don’t put, when you’re sending an email open browser, open Gmail, click on new message. It doesn’t have to be that sort of detailed inside of the recipe.

Gene Monterastelli (09:47):
But in the beginning, over document, create too many steps, and then you will learn how you can tighten that up. The other bonus of having a whole bunch of things on your to-do list that are easy to do is you get that little endorphin rush of crossing off the task after you’ve done it, which creates a sense of momentum. So I love not having projects or having the project and that a number of bullet points underneath it, which are the tasks that needed to be done, which would make it easier for me to take action.

Pamela Bruner (10:10):
Yeah. I really noticed this in my work life when, years ago, I put on my calendar, create content for my three-day event. And I had like four hours on my calendar to do that. Now I wasn’t intending in any stretch of the imagination, that I would create all the content in four hours. I was intending only to get it started, but because I had on my calendar, create content for my event, I actually blew right by that four hour block and did something else because subconsciously, I felt like I can’t do this.

Pamela Bruner (10:41):
Fortunately, I realized that shortly after, and I created a new item on my calendar that said, create outline for event. Okay. That I could do in the time that I had slotted. I created the outline, and then I broke down things like, okay, I’m going to slot a time for, create the content for day one from the outline. And in doing so and breaking it down, it enabled me to emotionally embrace the idea of stepping into this task.

Pamela Bruner (11:08):
So let’s talk about the secret to clearing your work calendar, so you have more time in your day to be creative. An I love the fact that when we’ve talked about this before, Gene, I really feel like you’re quite good at this. You’re a master at this. And one of the distinctions that you make is deciding if something is a one-off task or a process or systemized task, something you’re going to do repeatedly. And that distinction I think is so important. Can you talk a little bit about that?

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How To Clear Your Work Calendar

Pamela Bruner (11:08):
So let’s talk about the secret to clearing your work calendar, so you have more time in your day to be creative. An I love the fact that when we’ve talked about this before, Gene, I really feel like you’re quite good at this. You’re a master at this. And one of the distinctions that you make is deciding if something is a one-off task or a process or systemized task, something you’re going to do repeatedly. And that distinction I think is so important. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Gene Monterastelli (11:36):
Absolutely. So anything that I do at least once a year, I consider that a process. So even though, I’m only sending my taxes in once a year, and there’s some books that I like to read every single year, that’s a process. And so if it is a process, what I like to do is I like to name the steps of the process, like document what that is, and then figure out some way to automate what that particular thing looks like.

Gene Monterastelli (12:03):
So for example, I create content all the time for my website, like Pamela and I here, creating podcasts for her business all of the time. So there is a process to every so often, this is what recording looks like, this is what publication looks like. And I love using modern calendars, digital calendars, because it’s super easy to create tasks that repeat themselves over and over again.

Gene Monterastelli (12:29):
So one of the tools that I like to use, I use Trello. There is a way that you can use Trello, where basically what happens is you can set when it puts a task on your to-do list. So I have some tasks that I do every single week. And so at 5:00 AM Monday morning, it automatically adds it to my to-do list. There are some tasks that I do every single day. So every single weekday at five o’clock in the morning, it adds it to my to-do list. Some tasks I do once a year and so I have it set up in the exact same way, so I don’t have to remember what that task is that happens over and over again. I let the technology program it for me, so then it’s adding it to my list.

Gene Monterastelli (13:08):
Tasks that happen once are then tasks that I manually add to the list with the timeframe it needs to be done. And so what this does is, I’m only having to, on any given day, think about the new one-off tasks that I need to add, because I have thought my processes and my systems through, and I’m using technology in such a way, where it’s simply scheduling those things. And it doesn’t have to be something as technologically advanced as something that does it automatically.

Gene Monterastelli (13:39):
My father does this really beautifully with a document in Word for all of the things that he does every single week, that has a little check boxes to it. And so Monday morning, the first thing he does is he prints that out and he puts it on his desk and then he adds the one-off tasks to that. But he just checks off the things that he does every single week. And so he doesn’t have to think about them because they’ve been captured and they immediately show up each time he does it. So you can use a sophisticated technological response, or you can use a dry erase board where the things are always on there. But what’s important is naming the frequency, so you’re always looking at it and it’s showing up for the place that you’re working.

Pamela Bruner (14:19):
I think the important concept in this, as we’re talking about it, is this concept of repeatability, this concept of process, because in your business, there are many things that you’ll need to do over and over. And one of the things that we’ve identified with our clients is they often think, okay, well, I did that marketing thing. Now, what do I do now?

#1 Thing That Interferes With You Enjoying Your Day

Pamela Bruner (14:37):
Marketing is a process, it’s like going to the gym is a process or exercising regularly, or eating regularly is a process. And just as you may have systems in place for how you buy your groceries or how you make your meals or something like that, you may have a process in place for how you get your exercise or something. But the same applies in your business when you start thinking about things in this repeatable way, in the systematized way, and setting up systems around them, everything becomes much easier, which is the whole point and a little harder to procrastinate too. So let’s talk about the number one thing that helps you move forward in your day and Gene, this is what I learned from you. So I’ll let you take the lead on this.

Gene Monterastelli (15:20):
Yeah. One of the things that I’ve recognized is that my willpower can only go so far in getting me to do tasks that I don’t enjoy doing. Like, if you need me to do something once, I can muscle my way up and I can be responsible and I can do that thing. But if you’re going to ask me to do it regularly, over time, it becomes hard to do. And what I’ve realized is the reason why I am doing something, provides motivation for me to do a task that is unpleasant.

Gene Monterastelli (15:56):
And so when I’m doing a task that I don’t necessarily love, when I remind myself or re-remind myself why I am doing that task, it makes it so much easier for me to do. And sometimes, the why, is to avoid something bad. I’m doing my taxes so that I don’t get in trouble with the IRS. I’m stating the why, therefore, I’m able to go, okay, I’m going to do this thing. I’m going to get it done on time.

Gene Monterastelli (16:24):
Other times, the why, is about access. It’s about opportunity. It’s about getting ourselves out there. If I spend the time doing some of the marketing tasks that I find distasteful, I’m going to have conversations with people who I can really impact, so that their lives can be so much better. And so what I am constantly doing. And I do this, at the beginning of my week, I take 10 minutes and I look at the reason why I do the things that I do. And I don’t just read it really quickly, but I really luxuriate and savor those things.

Gene Monterastelli (17:00):
The reason why I love helping small business owners to eliminate self-sabotage is because when they take good thoughtful actions, when they grow their business, they make a much bigger impact in the world because they’re able to be more successful and reach more people. And so, if I am able to help and equip someone do something that is hard, easier, they’re going to have a greater impact, which means my world and our world is a better place.

Gene Monterastelli (17:27):
So when I’m doing one of those distasteful tasks, and I know how the task that I don’t enjoy fits into my business plan, fits into my strategy, fits into my tactics, I’m able to go, okay, this isn’t my favorite thing. But if I do this well, this is the opportunity, this is the thing that is on the other side of that.

How To Stop Moving Tasks On My To-do List

Gene Monterastelli (17:47):
And if I find myself in a circumstance where I have a task that I’ve moved on my to-do list and it gets moved twice, like I say, I’m going to do it on Monday, I don’t. I say I’m going to do it on Tuesday, and I don’t. When I add it to my to-do list on Wednesday, in parentheses, I write the reason why the task is valuable. Because if the task itself is not enjoyable, the reason why will give me motivation to do the task.

Pamela Bruner (18:13):
Love that. Such a great idea. All right. So as you look at your day and you look at your calendar, identify, am I procrastinating? Are things showing up on my to-do list and then getting pushed. And if so, which one of the four or five ways are you procrastinating and what do you need to do about that?

Conclusion

Gene Monterastelli (18:34):
And so, as you sort through this, as you look at your list, as you’re in a situation where you know you would like to be doing this better and more efficiently, and you’re still stuck and you don’t know where to turn, we would love for you to have a conversation with one of our coaches. Oftentimes, having someone who is experienced, sitting on the outside, helping us to have perspective on what we’re trying to do, makes it so much easier for us to make better, more thoughtful choices.

Gene Monterastelli (18:57):
You can have one of those conversations with our coaches, absolutely free. All you need to do is go to BookMyBreakthroughCall.com. That’s BookMyBreakthroughCall.com. Get on the calendar with one of our coaches, let them use their genius and their expertise, so that you can use your genius and your expertise more efficiently, so you can make a bigger impact in the world.

Gene Monterastelli (19:19):
If you have a friend or a colleague who you know, who is also struggling with being productive with really doing the tasks that they know are most valuable, please pass this episode along to them. Not only will their day be a little brighter because they know someone’s thinking of them, this might be the exact thing they need today in order to move forward.

Gene Monterastelli (19:38):
If you have a question, a comment, a topic, something you’d like Pamela and I to cover on a future episode, we would love, love. Love to hear from you. All you need to do is go to AttractClientsOnline.com. Click on that contact link at the top of the page, shoot us an email, inside of the email, not only include the question, but also mention it’s a question for the podcast so we can talk about it in the future.

Gene Monterastelli (20:00):
If you haven’t done so already, please subscribe to the show and podcasting subscribe is always free. You can find the show on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, Audible, basically anywhere you find audio online, just search for A Profitable Impact. You will find the show, make sure you click subscribe, click follow, so that when a new episode comes out, you get that notification right away. For A Profitable Impact, I am Gene Monterastelli. Until next time, I hope you have an impactful week.

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