205 3 Tools to Help You Stop Procrastinating

Tools to Help You Stop Procrastinating


Are you stuck in a cycle of constant overwhelming feelings and procrastination? We've all been there! Today, I'm breaking down the barriers to your productivity and reclaiming your time.

We'll discuss the whys and hows of procrastination and, based on my personal journey, I'll be sharing three practical, life-changing tools to get you past these hurdles.

But we're not stopping there! I'm delving deeper into the psychology of our brains - how they seek pleasure and avoid pain, and how we can flip that to our benefit. You'll discover the concept of temptation bundling and how it can be instrumental in overcoming procrastination. Plus, you'll learn about the intriguing productivity power of self-talk. So get ready to trade in the stress and chaos for a harmonious, productive life.

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Hey there. If you've been a podcast listener for a while, you may remember the time I brought my mom on the podcast, and one of the things that she shared with all of you in her words was that I would have been a gold medal winner in the Olympics if procrastination had been a sport. I have battled procrastination all my life and I am thankful to say that a lot of changes have happened for me over the last five to 10 years with this, and so today I wanna take a deep dive and share with you guys three different tools that I use and that you can use as well. Sometimes I use some in combination, sometimes I use them individually, and different types of temptations to procrastinate allow me to lean on different tools. So that's what we're gonna be diving in here today. I can't wait, so let's go ahead and get started.

Welcome to the Work Life Harmony podcast. I'm your host, Megan Sumrell. I'm the creator of the top program and top planner teaching all things time management, organization and productivity for women. I'm also a mom and wife and, just like you, I'm juggling hashtag all the things while running multiple businesses and a family. Guess what? You don't have to feel constantly overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out. There is another way. When you have the right systems and tools to plan and manage your time, you can live a life of harmony. This is your show to learn from me and other amazing women how to master your time, planning an organization to skyrocket your productivity so you can have work life harmony. If you're ready to stop feeling overwhelmed, this is the show for you, and if you're new here, I'd love to get you started with my work life harmony assessment. All you have to do is DM me on Instagram, at Megan Sumrell, with the word harmony, and my team will send it right over. Hey there, welcome back to Work Life Harmony.

Today, I wanna talk about a topic that comes up often, which is procrastination. I have yet to meet anyone alive that doesn't struggle with procrastination in some way, shape or form, and so I thought today would be a great opportunity to share three different tools that I personally use, that I coach a lot of other women to use as well, that you can kind of pick and choose from or even combine together. If you are someone that is currently working to change some habits around procrastination, all right. So we're gonna share three tools here today, but before I jump into that. I just wanna take a couple quick minutes and first talk about why we procrastinate and the typical scenarios that lend itself to procrastination. I actually remember knowledge is power. The more we know about why we're doing this, the easier it is for us to change some of these habits around procrastination.

The good news is, we procrastinate because it's actually our brain doing exactly what it's designed to do. What the heck do I mean by that? Well, any time that our brain feels an energy from us of a stressor, something that we are not wanting to do, regardless of the reason, it creates a stressor in our brain. And our brain is designed to make us feel better, right? This is why we instinctively know to run if we're in a dangerous situation. Right, we are fleeing to safety, to things that make us feel better.

So if I were to sit down and it's time for me to do a particular piece of work, and I see it and it starts to create stress in me because I don't wanna do it, for whatever the reason is, my brain is instantly gonna go oh, oh, I understand these feelings. I wanna make you feel better and I wanna make you feel better quick. So it's gonna lure me into activities that give me a quick win, even if it's not a long-term win, so it might be. Oh,Megan, my shortcoming is I wanna go look at Instagram reels because they make me laugh and then share them with my sisters and friends. So, even though I know that that's not a good use of my time, my brain is doing what it's designed to do, which is to get rid of the stressor and give me basically a dopamine hit, something that's gonna make me feel good. All right. So even just knowing that sometimes can make people go oh okay, it's not that there's something intrinsically wrong with me. No, this is how our bodies are designed to work.

All right, let's talk about a couple of quick scenarios that usually lend themselves to procrastination. All right, and there's kind of three here. Again, it's not gonna cover everything, but it covers the vast majority of them. So typical times when we procrastinate is one is it is time for us where we think we're ready to start on a project or a piece of work and it's so big that we just don't even know where to start. Like, the task at hand looks so daunting that it's like I don't even know where to start, and so we just don't.

Now, another scenario is and this is one that is really the biggest thing for me is when it's just work we don't like doing, right, we all have things in our lives that we believe we need to do, but when the time comes to do it, it's not our favorite task, so we procrastinate it. Right, whether it's a work task, whether it's doing laundry, whether it's cleaning bathrooms, whatever the case may be. And then the third typical time is when it's something that is unknown to us and might feel a little bit scary right, and that's one where we really want to avoid that. Like, I know I need to do that, but it feels unknown, it feels scary to me. Maybe you have a desire of starting a podcast, but you're procrastinating that because it feels unknown and a little scary, right? So those are typically three different scenarios that lend themselves to this habit of procrastinating.

So let's talk of now about what three different tools you can use and when you might want to use them, based on the type of procrastinating or the trigger for the procrastinating that could be happening for you. So first let's talk about that one where you sit down and I keep saying sit down. You don't have to be sitting, obviously, but there is that project or that thing on your list of stuff to do that. When you look at it, it feels so big that you just don't know where to start. All right, so whenever there is a large project looming for me, the very best thing that you can do is to take a few minutes and actually start breaking this down into much smaller work chunks. Now here's where people get held up with this tool. They think that in order to break it down, they have to break it down in a timeline order and create this beautiful project plan and nail it the first time, which is why people don't take the step of breaking it down. So, good news, you don't have to do that. Here is what you can do.

Anytime you need to break down a big project to help you get into motion, set a timer for like 10 minutes, all right. And then just rapid fire brainstorm, without thinking about what order or how long each task, none of that, all right, just rapid fire brainstorm. Come up with all the things that you can think of that would need to happen to get this done, okay. So let's say, for example, bring back that podcast example, all right, I know I want to start a podcast. I don't know where to start, okay. Well, start rapid fire, brainstorming what you know might need to happen. I need a name for it. Maybe I need some intro or outro music for it. I need to actually record some episodes. Oh, I need to figure out what microphone to get. I need to figure out what software I need to get. Maybe I need to make an image for my podcast, right? So we're just rapid firing all the things that we can think of, okay, and just limit it to 10 minutes, because there'll be more stuff that will come up later. We just need to help get in motion Now.

Once we've done that, now we can look at what we have brainstormed and look for just maybe the first two things that would make sense that you could get in motion on. And then, when you look at those, what we want to ask ourselves is are these things that I could do in one hour or less? And if the answer is no, I encourage you to try and take that item and break it down into even smaller work chunks. What we're looking for to help us get into motion is to find one or two things that we could do in an hour or less. Then, once you've found those, now you're going to pull out your calendar, your weekly plan, and you're going to identify when specifically you're going to do that. So maybe you're doing your brainstorming here on a Tuesday and you realize, okay, you know what, here's the first two tasks that I'm going to do and you look at your calendar and you see that you have an opening on Friday at 11 am, and so now you're actually going to create the appointment with yourself in your calendar, friday from 11 to 12, and you're actually going to write down which specific task you're going to do. All right, so this is now going to help you get in motion.

Now I've got a bunch of other resources out there other podcasts, etc. On Weekly planning and how you're then going to take all the rest of those tasks and plug it in. But this gets the momentum going for you to get that big project done. So if you find yourself procrastinating Because you don't know where to start, that's the first tool that you can use. Now the second tool again, I'm just going to highlight this. I have other episodes that really go into detail on how to do this, but you know, I just I always have to go here, but this tool is really powerful and it is doing actual weekly planning. Now I have a complete training to help you get started with weekly planning Inside of my app. It's available in the app store and Google Play. It's called the pink be all one word. There is a training in there, called weekly planning, to show you how to do it. But I want to tell you why. This is a tool to help you stop procrastinating.

Oftentimes and this happens to me as well If it is time for me to work on a task and this is really powerful on the type of things where we look at it, it's just something we don't like doing. All right, I've got work that's not my favorite, and when I noticed it was the time that I had scheduled in my weekly plan to do something that I don't want to do. What often happens is we believe we have plenty of time later to get it done. So maybe I'm sitting down at my desk and it is time for me to do a task that involves writing and I go oh, I don't like writing. Well, what my brain is gonna want to tell me is oh my gosh, you know what? I'll do it later. Right, I'll do it later. The stuff we don't like, we usually fall in the trap of I'll do it later. So how does this tool of weekly planning help us prevent that? Well, what happens is I go and look at your weekly plan, right? So I might sit down and say, oh, I'm supposed to be writing this morning for an hour and a half. I don't want to, I'll do it later. Well, then I can go and look at my plan for the week, and my plan is going to help remind me I don't have time later. I want to think that I do, but when I map out a weekly plan the way I teach you how to weekly plan it's going to remind me that this was the best time this week that I saw to do this. And if I don't do it now, it's going to mean I'm gonna be working late at night or getting up in the morning Because I actually have already allocated where I'm going to spend my time later this week. So weekly planning helps you remind yourself of why now is the time to do the types of things that maybe we don't like doing. All right Now.

The third tool that I want to share with you is also something that I use a lot when it's something I don't love or something that might feel a little scary, and I've talked about this tool before. It's called temptation Bundling. I was first introduced to this through the amazing Mindy Hebner and temptation Bundling and again, this doesn't work for everybody. This is why I wanted to give you three different tools. It works well for me is when there's something that we need to do that maybe we don't like to do. So we ask ourselves is there something I can do Simultaneously that I do enjoy that temptation and you're gonna bundle it together with the activity you don't like to make it more desirable or enjoyable, all right. So an example that I share a lot I love guacamole, love it, and so if there is it something that I need to like be at my desk doing that it's not my favorite. Well, that might be when I say you know what? I'm gonna go make a little batch of guacamole and I am going to enjoy that as a snack While I am working on the thing that I don't love. So then I'm kind of rewarding myself as I go.

I know another way a lot of people will use temptation bundling might be around Exercise, so maybe you have a bike or a treadmill or something in your home and you don't want to sit down and do it. Well, you can save maybe your favorite show that you're binging and say I get to watch that While I am peddling on my stationary bike. That's another example of temptation bundling. So recap real quick on the three tools and then I kind of walk you through a scenario of how you can decide when and how to implement these. All right. So tool number one again is to make sure, if it's one of those projects you're avoiding because you don't know where to start, break it down into smaller work chunks and then get that first one as an appointment on your calendar. Tool number two is to leverage weekly planning to remind you that you likely don't have the time later. Now is the time. You picked this time when you did your planning. And then the third tool temptation bundling.

Now, remember, at the beginning of this I talked about how our brain is doing what it's designed to do. When we see that there's something we don't want to do, it creates some stress, anxiety for us and our brain jumps into action to say, oh, I need to make us feel better, right? So any time that I am noticing that there was something I planned on doing and now I'm procrastinating or avoiding it. I actually have an out loud conversation with myself and it would go something like this I will look over I'm looking over, if you're watching this video here to where my weekly plan lives and I might see, okay, from 9 to 10 this morning I wrote down that this was my time to write and I'll sit down and look at it and go.

I don't feel like writing Instantly. I'll say, oh, okay, I want to procrastinate. And I will actually have this conversation out loud here in my office. My family is used to hearing me talk to myself. So I'll say, oh, I really want to procrastinate. I don't want to do this right now. I don't want to do this right now because this is not a task that I love.

Okay, so I am tempted to procrastinate. What type of? Why am I wanting to procrastinate? Well, I'm wanting to procrastinate because I don't like doing this. All right, what can I do? Is now the only time that I can do this? Can I do this later? Well, let's go look at our weekly plan, Megan. So I'm going to look at my weekly plan and I'm going to say, gosh, if I wait and try and do this later, then that means the things that I was going to do later today aren't going to get done and that's only going to create a worse situation for me. I picked this time because I knew this was the best time for me to get this done this week. Okay, do I feel like I'm ready to get into motion? Oh, still, no, all right, you know what? What? If I go treat myself to an extra cup of coffee, I'm going to go make that really good cashew milk latte that I love and I get to sip on it while I do that. Okay, thank you, brain, for wanting to try and find something else. I appreciate that you're doing what you are designed to do, but I'm going to get into motion and it's going to feel really good when it's done.

Now it may sound crazy to have that kind of conversation with yourself. I understand that, but here's what's so important the more you do this and actually talk out loud to yourself, what you're doing is you're telling your brain no, I got this, don't try and find a quick dopamine hit for me. I am in control and as you talk through why you're procrastinating and what you're going to do. Instead, you actually reduce that desire for your brain to want to give you a different, quick wind dopamine hit. I would encourage you. Maybe, if you're in a work scenario where you don't want people to hear you talking out loud to yourself, you can even whisper quietly. It's best if you can do it out loud, but if you have to just do it in your head, trust me, walking through this process is going to be incredibly, incredibly powerful for you. So I cannot wait for you to try out one of these tools the next time that you are tempted to procrastinate.

Getting on top of all things time management, organization and productivity doesn't have to stop just because this episode is over. If you want one tap access to all of my training and current top podcasts, go to the App Store or Google Play and download the PinkBee app. It's one word ThePinkBee. It is jam packed with simple yet powerful tips and strategies to get you out of overwhelm and into harmony. And if you have a question you want me to cover on a future episode, go to iTunes and ask your question in the podcast review section. And while you're there, don't forget to leave a five star review.


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