Good morning, everybody, and welcome to today’s episode of The Work Of Becoming podcast which is all about procrasti-planning!
So, something that I want to name and recognize right now is that not all planning is helpful planning, okay? So, when you’re sitting down and you’re looking at your calendar and you’re messing with stuff and moving blocks around, or when you’re looking at your to-do list, and you’re deciding what exactly you’re gonna do on X or Y or Z day, those things tend to feel really, really, really helpful in the moment. But, if you’re anything like me, you need to understand that planning can be a procrastination technique.
So, case and point: this past week, there was one day where I was working. I had a large content-creation task on my to-do list. I didn’t want to do it, and so, I said to myself, “Ooh, let me just start by planning what I’m going to be talking about in my Instagram stories each day this week.” So, all of a sudden, instead of doing the actual content creation, I’m making this big spreadsheet about exactly what I’m gonna talk about on what days, da, da, da, da, da. Unhelpful because, A, I know that I’m not gonna actually follow that, and, B, it wasn’t part of the task that I needed to be doing in the first place, okay?
However, as you know, if you are part of Change Academy and you were in the Procrastination Workshop, when we’re procrastinating, we’re always emotionally regulating ourselves. We’re driving ourselves towards another action because it’s bringing us a specific benefit. Planning, for a lot of us, makes us feel like everything’s gonna be okay because we are looking at the future, we’re moving things around. We can believe in the optimism of, “Oh, next week’s gonna be perfect,” and avoid the imperfection that we’re currently experiencing in this week or in this day when we are planning.
So, I’m not gonna talk about how to stop procrastinating broadly in this episode, but if that is something that you’re struggling with, today is actually the last day to jump in as a member of Change Academy and get access to this month’s workshop which is a two-hour workshop about the science of procrastination and how to reduce it in your own life. It was a very well-received workshop. It was very helpful for a lot of people. I’ve already had a lot of DMs from people telling me how much less they’re procrastinating after this workshop, so I highly, highly, highly suggest if procrastination is something that you struggle with at all, which most humans do, that you make sure that you’re part of Change Academy so that you can get access to that workshop. Again, today’s the last day!
What I am gonna talk about, specifically, today is how to avoid procrasti-planning with something that I like to call a planning container. So, a lot of times, when we are procrastinating on something, we’re doing a thing. The action that we’re procrastinating with is not on our calendar somewhere. So, we’re planning because we haven’t had time and space to plan built into our calendar. And so, the solution to that is to give yourself specific times and places to plan within your calendar.
So, one of the things that I do every single week is I do a Friday review. On Friday — I’ve talked about this before a lot of Instagram — I review my week. I figure out what exactly I got done. I think about my highs and lows of the week and my lessons learned. I write all of this in a forum I have for myself. But then I choose, in that moment, to adjust my calendar and time-block myself for next week. Here’s what tends to happen.
On Wednesday or Thursday, I will be doing a task that I don’t want to do, and I will, all of a sudden, tell myself, “Ooh,” my brain will say, “Let’s just go ahead and plan some stuff for next week now, that way we know what we need to get accomplished in the next two days, etcetera, etcetera,” and in those moments, I will say, “No, brain. We have a planning container, and that planning container is on Fridays from 3:00 to 5:00 PM. This is the same thing with if you have a big project coming up and your brain wants to continuously jump into that project, set a specific time on your calendar where it’s, like, during this one-hour block, I will analyze this project I have to start, break down this project, and actually start planning it.
Same thing with meal planning. Same thing with planning for your kids and their lives. I had a client once who put a specific time on her and her husband’s calendar every other week where they would look at the kids’ schedules for the next two weeks, and they would plan everything out. That way they weren’t distracted by it at random other moments in life.
So, that’s my lesson for you today. If you are someone who procrasti-plans, the number one tool that you have at your disposal is giving yourself a planning container, a specific time for you to make decisions and do that planning so that any other time, you can redirect yourself back to that.
I hope this episode was helpful! As always or just one last reminder that today is the last day to get that Procrastination Workshop in Change Academy, so make sure you don’t miss that!
I will talk to you all later!