In the Play Therapy Practice Building Academy, my MasterMind groups and in private consultation sessions I tell helping professionals who are wanting to build their private practice that procrastination is just a fancy word for avoiding that which we most need to do. Having a plan for procrastination prevention for private practice success is key or else you’re bound to be bitten by the procrastination bug and keep pushing off those things that will actually help you get to where you really want to be.
Why do we put things off? It’s typically for one of two reasons. 1) The task is simply unpleasant, not fun, or requiring a tremendous amount of focus we don’t wish to conjure or 2) There is fear lurking beneath the surface stopping us, causing us to avoid the task. Fear that we may fail. Fear that we may succeed. Fear that we will be judged. (There are a few affiliate partner links here for purchasing materials or items suggested which yield a small revenue for us but you can find those items also at your local stores).
Procrastination happens when you are avoiding that task that really NEEDS your attention.
We all do it at some point. The most successful people in the world, however, have learned that it’s essential to get done those things that need to be done without postponing or avoiding. The most successful people in the world are those who have discovered how to create and develop a life and career that intertwines in a way they feel a supreme sense of joy and fulfillment, reaching goals they set for themselves and continuing a balanced flow of activity with ample rest and rejuvenation as needed.
Those who chronically avoid and post-pone those tasks beckoning for attention usually experience tremendous stress that becomes more severe the longer they procrastinate. Procrastination usually points to some imbalance in the understanding of how work-flow and life-fulfillment actually go hand in hand. Below are some pro-tips to help you with this process.
A Plan for Procrastination Prevention
- Dump it out. Do a brain dump on paper (or you can do a digital version if you prefer) every morning as you’re sipping on your morning joe to include all the tasks – personal and professional – that are calling for completion. Make a list. Go ahead and dump it from your brain to the list so you can see it in front of you. Don’t overlook even the most mundane or seemingly small tasks. Dog needs to be walked? Catbox needs to be scooped? Laundry needs to be done? Blog article needs to be written? Need to call your grandma? Pack the kids’ lunches? Get to the gym? Schedule a meeting with your staff? Talk to your landlord about not raising your rent? Balance your checking account? Pay taxes? Whatever it is, writ it down on the master dump list.
- From overwhelmed to index card system. This may or may not work for you but I’m going to share a system I created that has helped me tremendously when I am overwhelmed with the number of things I come up with on my dump list so that I don’t fall into procrastination mode. You can create a digital version of this using this free mind-mapping software also. (Not familiar with mind-mapping? Here’s a great book for professionals)Take all the items on your dump list and write them out on index cards with a bold Sharpie. Spread out on the floor or dining room table and put the tasks in order of time urgency and priority. Next, consider which of these tasks might be delegated to a family member, a pet sitter, other hired helpers, your administrative assistant or someone else. Collect those that can be delegated and set them aside. Take the remaining items and decide when they NEED to be completed and lay them out on the table or floor in order of importance. THEN… schedule them for the day and time you will give each your full attention just like you would prioritize and schedule a client. Do the things that urgently need to be done first. Mark Twain once said something I will paraphrase: If you eat a live frog at the beginning of your day the rest of your day will be a piece of cake. Then, go ahead and make those delegation calls or send those delegation emails to dole out those tasks that can be done by others and be sure to provide them with time frames and deadlines. Schedule follow up contacts to ensure those tasks are getting done.
- Tackle your fear. Don’t just face it. Tackle it. Take it down with the sheer force of your determination to get beyond whatever is holding you back from doing the things you know you need to do in order to get to where you want to be. If you have deep seated fears resulting from unresolved traumas, by all means be more gentle with yourself and take yourself to therapy with an EMDR practitioner to help you work through. But if you’re being held back by the normal fear that all humans have around failing, succeeding and being judged by others it’s time to blast through those fears. John Wayne once said, “Being brave means feeling afraid but saddling up anyway.” One of my favorite books I recommend for mastering the inner critic so you can create the masterpiece of your life and career is called The War of Art. You will be amazed by how forward motion will not only get you through and beyond that big, bad, lingering fear energy but when you look back and see how you got that task done I promise you will feel exhilarated and energized for the next one. Bring it on!
Armed with a plan for procrastination prevention, you will be amazed at what you can achieve. Need some help and support with this process? Schedule a private consultation with me here! I’d be happy to help you!