What Are You Putting Off Now?

Sometimes it’s a good idea to put something off. You make a conscious choice to postpone a task or a project because it’s for your highest good, or the timing will be better later. But I find the main reasons I put things off for my coaching business have more to do with my state of mind.

I looked into this recently because there was an important project I put off all week and then guilty thoughts about the thing occupied my entire weekend. No good!

Have you ever done this?

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Here’s the scenario… you wake up and think about that thing you’re putting off, your mind wanders to it through exercise and breakfast. By the end of the day, you feel like you’ve been royally nagged. It’s almost as if some part of you really wanted to get going on that thing while the rest of you resisted. Big energy drain!

So I created these questions to manage my states and stop wasting energy and it’s working!

3 Powerful Questions to Spur You to Action

1. What exactly am I putting off?
It may only be one part of something that’s holding you back. If you can uncover what that is, you can focus in on the solution or reach out for help to move past the block. For example, you might not be making those calls to enroll new clients because you don’t know what to say. Okay so write a working script, practice it and be willing to flub up for a while.

2. What are all the possible reasons I’m putting this off?

I’m afraid (Summon courage and trust you are in the right place and time.)
This is it 90% of the time, right? I call it garden variety fear because everyone has it and it’s a part of life. The thing is, you’ll likely always have fears come up when you’re doing something important, so it’s best to treat fear as a friend. Be present to it, understand it without judgment and watch it melt away.

I need inspiration (Brainstorm to ignite a spark of generative energy.)
I’m lucky that my husband, Seth, is willing to be a sounding board for most anything I want to process. I’ll pour out my thoughts and he jots notes, while throwing in a comment or question to draw me out and reflect my wisdom back to me. Who could help you brainstorm right now?

I need to boost my brain power (Exercise, eat good fuel, deep breathe fresh air.)
I need to play (Go outside, draw, paint, laugh, play with someone.)
I need to rest (Sleep, do nothing, meditate.)
These are all about self care. No one can endlessly generate without the stuff that fuels creation. Even God rested, right? So we need to GET AWAY from work frequently. If you can’t get away and be present, then take just one little step toward your project, then take a break. Build momentum as you refuel.

I need accountability (Set intention, make it public, then celebrate what’s done.)
Having an accountability partner is the most powerful tool for big endeavors. Nothing spurs you on like declaring your intentions every week to your coach or a colleague. Learn how to hold yourself accountable for completing lots of little things that lead you to finishing that one big thing.

I’m not in touch with my Big Why (Reconnect with your ultimate outcome.)
What is the ultimate outcome you’re going for? It’s the reason why you need to do these things you’re putting off in the first place. For example, you’re getting your website launched because you want to be a coach in high demand and build a list of future ideal clients. Staying in touch with your big why gives you courage and tenacity to see it through.

I need true commitment (Put your resources 100% behind it or let it go.)
If you’re putting things off chronically, it may be that you lack true commitment for your big why. Or your big why doesn’t really hit the sweet spot for you. With true commitment you’re motivated to dedicate enough time, energy and money, while temporarily sacrificing something else, to prioritize your big goal. Either it’s time to fortify your commitment, sacrifice distractions, or let this goal go and move on. You know best.

3. What little step am I willing to take right now?
The key to continuously moving forward is to break big tasks or projects into doable bite sized high payoff actions. HPA’s are actions that count the most. They feel a bit squirmy because they take you out of your comfort zone. Set a goal every day to do 3 high payoff actions first, before you move on to the more mundane or easier to do’s. If you do it the other way around, you may put off what will get you what you really want the fastest.

Okay, try this out and let me know how it works for you. And share in the comments below your story or anything you’d add.

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  • Darlene

    Rhonda,

    You are brilliant, and how inspiring to use your own challenges to help others meet theirs. These questions coupled with the explanations and subtopics are just perfect and of course, POWERFUL! I will definitely print this out, thank you.

    • You know what? I think every thought leader I know has flubbed and failed their way to a system that works. That’s what scientists and explorers do too. That’s the beauty of having a good relationship to failure… if ya know what I mean. ; ‘ )

  • Laura

    Thanks for the words of wisdom.  This is my main problem; you’ve given me some things to think about.

    • You’re not alone in that. I was talking to my husband about this and he feels he’s a big procrastinator. But recently he’s shifted into great momentum. I asked him how he did it and he said he resourced from inside. Sometimes it’s just that simple. Standing in your power and feeling the abundant flow within you.

  • Diana Schneidman

    Rhonda, 

    I like your term HPA or “high payoff actions.” I try to isolate 2 to 3of these activities to complete every day, in addition to follow up and phone calls and other important actions that don’t build for the future.

    I find that when there’s a task that I put off for a week or more that there’s a reason I am uncomfortable with it. Perhaps I’ve had second thoughts about it being the best way to proceed but I’m reluctant to take it off my to-do list because then I would be a “quitter.”

    Sometimes it’s best to recognize that something doesn’t feel right about that action and to put it aside for awhile. Then I can “sleep on it,” sometimes literally and also from time to time when I’m awake.

    Diana
    Schneidman, Author of Start
    Freelancing And Consulting: How to take control of your life and make great
    money quickly as a solopro

    • I do take things off my to do list. It’s like letting go of a toleration — a conscious decision to release that aspiration… at least for now.

      Thanks for sharing, Diana!