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My 3-Step Code to Get Unstuck from Procrastination

Procrastination.  Ugh. 

Even if you know WHY it’s happening, it can be hard to break.

Sometimes you’ve even learned to recognize that feeling of being overwhelmed before it turns into procrastination, but you still get stuck and can’t seem to summon up the motivation.

This is when you need some tools.  It’s so empowering to learn some strategies and steps to help you move forward better and stronger!

This 3-step Cheat Code is one of my favorite tools for breaking out of procrastination.  It’s a great way to get unstuck and find that motivation to get working again!

You can totally handle three steps, even when you feel stuck.  It’s not overwhelming and it will get that momentum going again.

So, let’s bust you out of that procrastination slump!


Step One: ⁣Write It

Get those thoughts and goals the heck down on paper!  Having those ideas just floating around in your head doesn’t do any good.  You can think and tweak and re-think for hours and days if you just leave all of those ideas trapped in your head.  

So grab a piece of paper, a notebook, anything that you can actually write on, and, yes, a pen or pencil too.

Now, you could do this on your computer as well, but there is something totally different that happens in your head if you hand-write it. So I’m recommending that piece of paper, but your computer or your phone are better than trying to skip this step.

Then just start writing.  There’s no right or wrong way to do this, so you can do what’s going to work for you.  

You do though want to keep this to a targeted amount of time, about 15-20 minutes.  Be sure to set a timer for your goal, so you don’t use this as yet another way to procrastinate.  If you’re ready to stop before your timer goes off, that’s ok too. 

You want to get all of those thoughts out of your head where you can see them.  You can include your:

  • Dreams
  • Fears
  • Reasons not to ___________ 
  • Great big WHYs!

Try to focus most on those goals and dreams, but remember that there’s no judgement in this step.  Don’t stop to analyze as you are writing.  Just get it down on that paper.  

A few of the prompts I use and recommend for this step are: 

  • Today I will…
  • This week I will…
  • I will be proud if I…

These prompts help you think about right now, a little further out, and a big goal.  This progression can be very helpful!  You can also use these prompts to break down your 15-20 minutes into about 5 minute segments.

If you’re really stuck in one area, you might choose a different prompt or focus on just one of these.  These are ideas that work for me, but you want to find the prompts that work for you, and it’s ok if they are different ones.

Again, there is no right or wrong way to get things on paper.  Just start writing!

Once you’ve got everything down, you’re ready for a quick break.  Go grab that coffee or taco, walk around the block, and then come back and look at what you’ve written.  


Step Two: Start Taking Action.  

Choose or create one goal from everything you’ve written down, and start breaking it down into a plan.  This preparation work is an action!  

To get from a big goal to those simple steps, you’ll want to:

  1. Create a task list.  
  2. Break that task list into individual steps.  
  3. Plan to remove all of the “roadblocks”.
  4. Establish a timeline.
  5. DO the first thing!

Create a Task List

Breaking that goal down into a task list means you will be creating a detailed plan, with simple tasks that will take you from here to there.  The number of steps you needs will depend on your goal.  

Break Out Individual Steps

Your individual steps should include some that are kind of mindless to do as well as things that are going to take more brain power.  

Remove the “Roadblocks”

Then take that list and prepare everything you need for each step in advance. This could be a list today, and then schedule the time to prepare into your timeline.

This is going to take away all of those “roadblocks” or stalls, so you don’t have to do anything extra when it comes to getting into your plan of action.  You don’t want to allow yourself the opportunity to fall back into procrastination!

Establish a Timeline

Think about how long each piece will take and create a realistic timeline.  Put dates on your timeline if at all possible.  Especially the date for the first step.  Later today or tomorrow would be good for that first step 😉

DO the First Thing

The FIRST step is the most important action.  Remember scheduling it for this afternoon? Yep, you meant it!  Whether that first thing was a simple 2-minute task or you wanted to get all of your prep work done, it’s time to start!  

And if your inner perfectionist creeps in, trying to convince you that you don’t know what you’re doing and can’t start yet, kindly thank this part of you for trying to protect you from judgement, remind yourself that messy action is better than no action at all, and start anyway.


Step 3: Create Your New Pattern.  

When you get to this step, you can congratulate yourself for all that you’ve done! 

You’ve written out those trapped thoughts, set a goal, created a task list and timeline.  You have a plan!

Now it is time to commit.

Commit to completing ONE action step per day for the next 5 days.  No exceptions.  You can do almost ANYTHING for only 5 days.   

Now, this isn’t a commitment to perfection.  No.  You want to make this commitment in a way that feels achievable for you.

  • I will do one small preparation step each day for the next five days.
  • I will do just one action step each day for the next five days.
  • I will do at least one action step each day for the next five days.
  • I will take 10-20 minutes to do one action step as soon as my child goes to bed/nap each day for the next five days.

Whatever makes it doable for you, that’s how you make this commitment.  Because you aren’t going to allow yourself any exceptions 😀

Remember, you  created a plan with bite size pieces.  Simple things you already know you can do.  This also helps wrap your head around doing them for 5 days.  

Also build in breaks, snacks, and fun rewards. Who doesn’t love planning a reward or break?! It’s my favorite part of this... besides actually getting my momentum going again.  Plus those little breaks and rewards help your brain focus, enjoy and keep going for those 5 days.  

So maybe your commitment will be:
I will do one action step each day right before I [get your reward].

This step is all about changing your old pattern and creating a new one.  Building in a little fun will make this easier.  

Creating a new pattern does take a little time and a LOT of repetition.  To be honest, you won’t have that pattern set in only 5 days.  But, 5 days is much easier to commit to than a whole month.  By starting with only 5 days, you have a place to celebrate.  The goal is that you’ll hit that 5 day milestone and think, “This was easy. I can keep going!”  

So, you repeat it for another 5 days… and pretty soon, it IS a whole new pattern!


Invest In The Process

Now, I’ll be honest because you know that’s how I do things.  These steps sound easy- Write it, Start it, Make it a pattern.  1...2...3… done.  But they take some real work.  So, if you find your self struggling through them, know that you are not alone.  Sometimes I struggle to get through all of them too, especially those 5 days in a row.  Knowing that it’s a Cheat Code helps me get back on track, and I know it can help you too.  

This process really helps you break things down into easily achievable things… one step at a time, and you make real progress.

This Cheat Code is also kind of like the snowball effect.  That initial 5 days of consistent progress lays the foundation for the real momentum that comes as you keep going.  Then one day, it starts to feel like nothing can stop you. 

So often we let ourselves stop after only a day or two, and that’s what makes it difficult to stay motivated.  That’s why those 5 days, no excuses, are so important!  That commitment to yourself helps to carry you past that “thing that just comes up”.  With this Cheat Code and your commitment, you can overcome those excuses and distractions!  You have easy, bite size tasks lined up that you’ve committed to!  Plus those breaks and rewards.  You can do this! 

As you’re working through these 3 steps, observe any distractions that show up and try to derail you.  Take a few moments to write them down.  Then tell yourself you’re not going to give in to those distractions!  You are committed to 5 days so you can get that momentum.  

You are committed to making this goal happen, one little step at a time.

And take a moment (maybe lots of moments!) to remember WHY this goal is so important to you.  You can do that in those breaks you’ve included, or just any time you have a few minutes to think.  Remind yourself that you were MADE for this.


Are you ready to start today?

Go grab that pen and start writing!