15 May Stop Procrastinating TODAY with The One Day Difference
I’m excited to talk to you today about the one day difference! This is a mental exercise I do whenever I am working towards goals that I want to meet.
Whenever I want to stop procrastinating on something that I really feel like God wants me to do, this is the way I do it.
If you don’t have time to read this post and want to listen to it instead, just click here!
The Two Ways People Procrastinate
Everyone procrastinates, everyone does it, but there are two different ways that we go about it.
The first way is in all the little things.
We procrastinate doing the dishes, or picking up the house, and making our bed. Now there are tons and tons of tips on how to stop procrastinating in those little things, and I found some great blog posts that really touch on that. So I’ve left some links here to some articles I really like for you to check out:
- How to Stop Procrastinating Right Now from Thirteen Thoughts
- Get Things Done with 10 Simple Steps from Her Lovely Heart
- How to Actually Complete Your To Do List Each Day from Project Hot Mess
- 10 Things I Do to Get it All Done from The Intentional Mom
But today I want to talk to you about the other way that we procrastinate, and that is in the big things.
We know that God has something for us. We know that there’s something that He wants us, specifically, to do,
If you find yourself consistently saying, “One day I’ll (you fill in the blank).”
One day I’ll lose weight…one day I’ll be a writer…one day I’ll start giving to charity…one day I’ll finally make a difference.
If you find yourself always saying “one day,” then you have a problem procrastinating those big things. But never fear! I’m here to help! I’m gonna give you the three step process that I use to stop procrastinating and it’s something that you can stop doing today. So don’t wait until tomorrow to stop procrastinating. You can do it today, one day is today. So let’s just jump right in and talk about this.
The One Day Difference Method to Stop Procrastinating
Step One: Stop Justifying the Delay to Act.
We have all kinds of reasons that justify us not getting started, but it’s time to stop justifying your procrastination. Stop justifying this delay in acting.
If you find yourself saying, “you know what I can’t start yet because…” or “I don’t want to start that today because…” or “I’ll be ready to start whenever this, this, and this gets done in my life…” or “if I start I’m afraid that this, this, and this will happen…”
If you find yourself always saying those kind of things, what I have found is that most of the time we say the first part of that, and then we never answer it.
Let me explain: you might say, “I’ll be ready to start whenever I do…” But you stop there, you only think about the first part, and then don’t take action to figure out why you’re justifying in the first place.
Take a moment and write down some of these things that need to happen before you start whatever it is that you’re procrastinating.
Go ahead! Take a minute to jot some down. I want to know what your answers are!
What did your answers say?
What if you’re answer was… “I can’t start yet because I don’t have the money.”
That’s a really general justification. So let’s break it down and figure out what are you spending your money on that could be allocated differently so that you can start moving towards what you REALLY want.
If you say, “I’ll be ready to start whenever my kids get out of the house.”
Depending on how old your children are, that might be a long time for you. If I had decided to start this blog and The Graceful Life Podcast when my kids were out of the house, that would be 12 years from now. Podcasts and blog might not even be relevant then.
That’s I want you to take a minute to write down your answers, because once we put these answers in writing, once we see them in black and white, then we start to discover how frivolous some of our reasonings are.
You might say, “I’m scared that people might judge me…” Well, I hate to break this to you, but people are going to judge you anyway. That’s a sad, sad truth, but we can’t let the fear of people judging us stop us from doing what God wants us to do.
Once you start looking at the truth and you start seeing those answers in black and white, you start to realize that those justifications aren’t a good enough reason for you not to move forward.
Step 2: Figure Out what Emotion You’re Trying to Avoid.
I have found with procrastination, especially with those big things that we procrastinate, that we’re not necessarily trying to avoid the project or the goal, but instead we’re trying to avoid a certain type of feeling or emotion.
One of my big triggers of procrastination is that I’m trying to avoid the feeling of not being good enough.
If I feel inadequate, it makes me not even want to try shooting for that goal. Here’s the trick to step two: if you figure out what emotion you’re trying to avoid, and then you start dealing with those feelings. Now you might think that there aren’t really any emotions that you’re trying to avoid, but let me give you a couple of examples. Maybe you’re trying to avoid the feeling of:
- being frustrated
- not knowing what to do next
- getting unwanted attention (whether that attention is positive or negative)
- what other people think
- not meeting your own expectations
- not being good enough
- being stressed
- being uncomfortable or getting out of your comfort zone
- being challenged or having resistance against you
If you ever do anything worthwhile you will experience some resistance. When I first started blogging, I was starting to get emails and most of them were positive, but I remember getting one that was just really negative.
At first, I was a little hurt, but I realized it was a good thing. I decided to be thankful for that email because if I wasn’t doing any good, if I wasn’t putting myself out there and writing these blog posts and sharing my heart, then I wouldn’t have gotten this message. And no matter what, you’re always going to come up against some resistance.
Maybe you’re trying to avoid the emotion of feeling dumb, or even feeling unsure of what to do next.
Whatever your list is, figure out what emotion you’re trying to avoid, and then (here’s the kicker) you have to deal with those feelings.
This step is super important because if God has called you to do something, you cannot let the fear of what other people think, or the fear of being uncomfortable, or any of those that we listed out, stop you from doing what God wants you to do. You can’t let that continue to cause you to procrastinate.
One thing that I found that stops a lot of us, is that last emotion, and that is the emotion of being unsure of what to do next, and that’s where the one day difference comes in.
Step Three: The One Day Difference
The method is came up with to help with my procrastination is this idea of the one day difference. This is what I do when I start to go through a new journey or I’m starting a new project.
Think about the goal that you want to achieve, and write it down in a short positive action sentence.
Say for instance, your goal is to start a blog, after you’ve come up with that one goal, I want you to start listing out every single thing, every single task that you need to do to get to that goal.
So some example tasks might be:
- figuring out a skill or a passion that you want to share to the world
- brainstorm topics to talk about
- research other bloggers in those same categories
- research domain names
- pick a domain name
- register that domain name
- research what platform you want to blog on
- setup your blog
- create a Facebook page for your blog
- create an Instagram for your blog
- research the idea of podcasts
- think about video ideas
- come up with new categories or a few categories for your topics
- make a list of 20 blog post ideas
- write a blog post
- write a bio for your about me page
- brainstorm color schemes that you like for the blog
- brainstorm ideas for a logo
- decide how often you want to post.
Those are all separate tasks that will get you towards that goal, and let’s give another example:
Maybe your example goal is to get healthy. So you start thinking tasks of how you can get to that goal.
- determine what a healthy weight for your size should be
- go to the doctor
- get blood work done
- research gym versus home workouts
- research types of workouts
- research healthy meal options for breakfast for lunch, snacks, dinners
- make a list of 10 healthy meals to keep on the fridge
- ask around and see if a friend wants to get healthy with you
- make a meal calendar
- go grocery shopping
- wash and prep your foods
- buy a gym membership
- hire a personal trainer
- research good running shoes
- buy new running shoes
- get new socks
- get a cute outfit to workout in
- find the headphones for your phone
- oil up your bike chains
- research bike paths
- air up your tires.
Keep adding any of those different things. Try to make a complete list, a really exhaustive list, of tasks that you need to do to get to that goal.
Don’t get overwhelmed!
The goal of this is not to overwhelm you, the goal is to make a plan to start accomplishing and taking action on one or two things on your list, either each day or each week, depending on how soon you want to accomplish the goal.
Now I would recommend that you make this list as exhaustive as possible. So breakdown big tasks into smaller ones and then do that again if you need to. Don’t let this list overwhelm you.
Remember, the goal is to look at each individual bullet point by itself. Once you look at it just by itself, it doesn’t seem so big.
So getting healthy is a huge goal, so instead of looking at the big goal, what if you look at one of the bullet points and think “okay, what can I do today? Well let’s research some good running shoes.” Or “let’s go take a walk for five minutes.”
Any of those things that you list on there, those are things that you can do. They seem manageable. If you are going get healthy by riding your bike, researching bike paths around your area, that’s something tangible, something actionable, that you can do to stop procrastinating. As you do these things one step at a time, you’re going to end up accomplishing what you want to accomplish.
The Snowball Effect
As you put effort into each of these and start checking off your list, it builds a sense of excitement for you. Maybe you want to start a blog and you’ve researched the idea, you’ve decided the different topics that you want to talk about, each step builds on the last. And you know what, you’ve already invested this time into it, you already know what color scheme you want to do, you have an idea of what your bio page is going to look like, you know that you want to talk about, for instance, grain-free, dairy-free recipes. And so you start researching.
Every single time you check off one of these seemingly insignificant tasks, even though they don’t seem like a big deal. (I mean, let’s face it, is buying a pair of good workout socks really going to help you get healthy??) But it’s a snowball effect, every single time that you check off one of these bullet points, you’re even more invested in taking the next step.
So if you’ve gotten new shoes, and you’ve oiled up your bike chains, and you’ve researched bike paths, you’re already a step ahead then you were, even though you haven’t even gotten on the bike yet. All because you’ve invested a little at a time, and now you’re ready to go, you’re chipping away at your excuses because you’re taking action.
If you find yourself thinking about a big generic goal, like losing 50 pounds or like starting a blog or maybe starting a charity, and you want to give up because it seems too big, start breaking it down into steps.
Once you break your goals down into those smaller, manageale parts, then you start accomplishing the little things and then as each bullet point gets checked off, you realize, “hey I’m almost there! I’m halfway there!” I
Once you do those things, then it’s easy to take the next step, and it’s you’ve stopped procrastinating because you’re doing little actions every single day.
The time will pass anyway.
I want to leave you with a quote by Earl Nightingale, and he says, “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it because the time will pass anyway.”
I want you to know that time is going to go by anyway, and so if you feel like it’s going to take forever to lose the weight, or it’s gonna take forever to declutter my entire house, or it’s gonna take forever to start this blog or to do this project, realize, that the time’s going go by anyway, you might as well be taking small actionable steps towards getting there.
If starting a blog or starting some kind of online ministry is something that you feel like God wants you to do, I’m going to leave a link to one of my online courses, it’s called Lead with Heart.
It is an online course that talks about learning where your passion is, learning how to lead yourself first, so that you can lead possibly a team later, and one of the BONUSES in that program is called Your Passion, His Purpose, and it is a step-by-step guide to creating a blog.
There’s tutorials and videos on how to start a blog, so if you say, “Ashley, I really want to start a blog, but when you said to make that list, I had no idea even where to start.” Then I’d definitely recommend that resource as a great place to start.
There are even some Bible studies in there for you, just to really help you push forward, if that is what one of your goals is!
I really believe that we’re all called to ministry wherever we’re at and if that’s something that you want to do and you really want to extend your influence online, then that’s a great tool.
It doesn’t cost very much, so you don’t feel like you’re investing tons of money into something that you’re not sure if it’s really want you want.
I hope that you will take action on this today. Don’t procrastinate until tomorrow. Don’t leave until tomorrow what you can do today!