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The Night I Overcame Procrastination

Do you ever have something you need to get done—even something enjoyable—yet you just can't make yourself do it? Maybe it's taking a walk after dinner so you feel better and sleep better. Or scheduling your unused vacation days.

The "Soup" Incident

For me, it was making minestra (Italian soup) after I had dutifully bought all the ingredients six days earlier. That pillow-sized bag of kale was not going to stay fresh forever. Likewise for the pound of sausage.

So one night I finally donned an apron, strapped on my earpiece, called my childhood friend Ann so we could laugh and catch up, and started chopping and sautéing vegetables.

And it was all good until I added the one-pound bag of kale. One pound. You would think kale cooks down, like spinach. But it doesn't.

By the time that soup was done simmering, you could have served it on a bun. But I still ate it, the food didn't go to waste, and next time I can make it better. (Hint: Adding more chicken broth helped. Cutting out ninety percent of the kale would have helped even more.)

Procrastination-Busters

Whether you're putting off something minor (like trying a new soup recipe) or something major (like exploring a new career), the remedies are similar. Here are three of them:

Break down your goal into small steps. If that doesn't work, make the steps even smaller. For example, if you're exploring other career paths, one step might be to shine your shoes. It will add to your confidence, especially when it comes time to network and interview. And ideally, it will energize you to take the next step.

Set a timer. This is one of the best cures for procrastination I know. Somehow ten minutes of focused time allows you to get much more done than a whole hour of dawdling. It also turns getting work done into a bit of a game.

Build in accountability. Find someone you can check in with. Someone who can hold you to task without raking you over the coals. And of course, someone you like and admire. It's also fun to have someone to share victories with.

When All Else Fails ...

Try using the formula I heard years ago from a CEO: "Ready, Fire, Aim." His theory was that if you waited until all conditions were perfect, you might be waiting for the rest of your life. Better simply to jump in and course-correct where necessary.

The more you practice moving forward, even when the path seems unclear, the more progress you make, and the more this pattern becomes your way of life. All it takes is one simple step.

P.S. Hope you enjoy my latest segment with Raoul Martinez!

The more you practice moving forward, the more progress you make.

Gina DeLapa

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Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders® Coach, a sought-after speaker, and the proud creator of the Ultimate Reminders® book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Beware the organization whose response to a burning building is to form a committee") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. If you're not already getting her free Monday-Morning Pep Talk, be sure to sign up now at UltimateReminders.com/mondaymorningpeptalk.