Posts tagged: Procrastination

How to stop planning and start doing

January 2, 2017
stop planning, start doing

There is nothing I love more than a fresh planner. I love goal setting and making to-do lists and organizing my thoughts to no end. As someone who often gets stuck in Idle Achiever mode, planning is my preferred method of procrastination. It feels really productive. But there certainly comes a point when planning gets in the way of doing.

If you like to hunker down in planning mode when you should be getting down to business, here are some tips to help you get the ball rolling:

1. Set small goals

You don’t need an elaborate master plan for every single task. Don’t drag out the planning process until it becomes bogged down in detail. Set small, simple goals and work toward them immediately. When your emphasis is on the work, you’ll get to your desired result.

James Clear, who writes about habit transformation, says that your focus should
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Diary of a procrastinator

August 8, 2016
diary of a procrastinator

Productivity has never been a problem for me. I know the glowing feeling of accomplishment that comes from a daily to-do list stricken with check mark after check mark. I know what it feels like to be the good kind of tired — the kind that comes from spending hours in the zone getting stuff done. And I know these things because I have a top-secret productivity weapon.

I’m always, always avoiding doing something else.

No surprise, then, that when I recently used the Unstuck app, it told me I was acting like an Avoider.


Procrastination and I go way back. Back to college, when I worked my butt off at internships and jobs, then wrote term papers just hours before they were due. Back to my days as a news reporter, when I produced multiple headlines a day, but left large projects to wilt and die
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How to start planning when you’d really rather not

October 29, 2015

What’s the plan?

Well, if you tend to get stuck acting like an Ad Libber, there isn’t one. That’s because, more often than not, things work out for you on the fly. You rely on luck, a quick mind, and the fearlessness to wing it. With minimal effort the world usually works in your favor.

Until it doesn’t. Until that luck you count on stops meaning off-the-cuff charmer and starts requiring a fully prepared person.

Yes, planning is hard. There’s a whole bunch of career disciplines devoted to it, for Pete’s sake. But, on occasion, even the most brilliant of us need to chart out a course before diving in.

Fortunately, not all planning requires spreadsheets and Roman numerals and gobs of research. When your back is against the wall, start by identifying your planning kryptonite — what is it that makes you so adverse to it?

It just so happens that Unstuck’s mini-quiz can
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How to escape the busyness trap

March 24, 2015

“I’m so busy!”

It’s the auto-pilot response to “How are you?” these days. And of course we are busy. In addition to family, friends, and work, we’ve got a whole world at our fingertips to keep up with.

All this busyness can be overwhelming. But it can also be comforting — for a couple of reasons. Being busy brings a kind of badge of honor that the world needs us. It’s also an excellent way to steer clear of life’s thornier issues.

And that’s when we can get stuck — taking life as it comes rather than giving direction to how we spend our days.

I’m busy, therefore I am
Quick story: Ann was waiting for the restroom at one of Boston’s trendier brunch places. A woman got in line behind her and casually began complaining about her lack of free time. So many obligations on the weekends, she said, kept her jumping from one
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A few of Unstuck’s favorite tips

November 30, 2014

For our four Tip Card Decks (available here), we condensed, distilled, unpacked, and repacked our very best tips into potent bite-size actions designed to get you unstuck. But it’s not a random deal of the cards.

The decks include Stuck Moment cards to help you zero in on the right tips — and that’s what makes them so powerful. When targeted correctly, your efforts don’t have to be big or showy or imported from Mars. They just need to trip the right wires in your head and heart.

But don’t take our word for it.

Read through four of our favorite tips, one from each deck, based on common Stuck Moments. If you like what you see, buy a deck or two. At $25, they make a thoughtful gift for someone (or yourself).

*    *    *

From: Conjure Your Creativity Tip Card Deck

Stuck Moment: “I can’t decide which direction to take
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4 ways we stop ourselves from pursuing our dreams

June 27, 2014


Stuck moment: I’ve been nursing this dream for a while, but all I seem to do is muse, make lists, and then push the whole thing to the back of my mind. Is it doomed always to be a pie-in-the-sky?

• • •

We all have big ideas about our futures. We gaze out the window over our morning coffee and imagine how great our lives will be when we pull off that one thing. That one thing we know we were born to do. Could be a dream job, a childhood passion, or some fantastic feat of derring-do. In our mind’s eye, we see it just within our grasp…then the telephone rings. Ah, well, there’s always tomorrow.

Dreams are fun to think about, but they’re rarely as easy to pursue. Fear blocks us. We’re overwhelmed. We’re too comfortable. The list of excuses goes on and on. So we rationalize and resign ourselves to boring
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Roman Holiday: Princess Ann gets unstuck as an Avoider

June 19, 2014

Her stuck moment: Sick of life in the royal fish bowl, Princess Ann runs away from duty to paint the town red as carefree commoner “Anya.” Her incognito adventures — including a dance party that ends in a wild melee — throw the city of Rome into an uproar.

She goes for it: Though she falls in love with life on the other side — and with handsome American journalist Joe Bradley — she’s realizes that running away from her obligations can’t buy happiness, and a “holiday” can’t go on forever.

Unstuck result:  Ann returns to her royal responsibilities, but with new maturity and a stronger sense of
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Question: Does procrastination ever make life better?

June 4, 2014

Who doesn’t have a justification for not doing something: I’m too busy, it’s too hard, it’s not due yet, or the perennial favorite, I just don’t feel like it. But even with an excuse, is life better by putting off the inevitable? It’s hard to say yes when delays usually mean internal nagging, diminished trust, lower-quality work, and disappointment.

Often, we’re unknowingly stuck in some way that results in procrastination. Maybe we can’t see the possibilities. Or we don’t believe in the goal. Not having a plan can stop us, as can lack of resources.

Unstuck’s “Now or Never” tool helps us find what’s missing so we can get on with it. If you’re on your iPad, click to go directly to the tool (this won’t work if you’re using Unstuck on the web). Or download the free Unstuck iPad app
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Question: You know you want to, so what’s stopping you?

February 11, 2014

You’ve got an idea that you’re all fired up about. This is it! you think. The answer I’ve been looking for. But you’re stalling for some reason. And that’s not like you. Until you discover what’s at the core of your hesitation, you may get caught in a start-stop cycle.

Unstuck’s “Tell Me Why” tool can help you get to the bottom of it by deliberately drilling past the first excuse, er, reason. If you’re on your iPad, click to go directly to the tool (this won’t work if you’re using Unstuck on the web). Or download the free Unstuck iPad app
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How a lifelong procrastinator cracked the productivity riddle

December 12, 2013

“My brain isn’t lazy,” says Tim Urban, Harvard grad, musician, blogger at Wait But Why, cofounder of two successful tutoring companies, and expert procrastinator. “It’s dying to work hard because it knows that’s the way to be happy.”

But Tim’s brain has a tendency to get busy with everything other than what’s at the top of his to-do list. He’s always been productive — playing hours of piano, for example, while procrastinating a writing assignment — but his busyness wasn’t moving him any closer to his goals. And, on occasion, it caused misery-inducing side effects: His 90-page thesis was produced in a panicked 72-hour work session before deadline. He got it done, but it wasn’t work he was proud of.

After that low point, Tim told himself it was the kind of work he was being asked to do, not his work habits. Then he promptly moved to L.A. to compose
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