I Know What To Do. I’m Just Not Doing It.

Liz Sumner Procrastination, Productivity, Resistance, Time Management Leave a Comment

You’re a grownup with a decades-long familiarity with procrastination. Now you want to get moving on a passion project but the gremlins are shouting down any hint of motivation.

Telling myself to “Just Do It” makes me want to slug that Nike copywriter. I need a kick in the pants and its best if it’s self-induced.

Here are the Productivity Prods that work for me:

One Step

Remember that it’s really only one step between where you are now and beginning the new habit. Just commit to doing the 1 thing. Open the document. Schedule one conversation. Read one research article. Start with 10 minutes a day of something that will move you forward*. Just one thing (then reward yourself).

What do you need?

Re-examine what you think you need and don’t need. I initially rejected a valuable course because I thought I already knew what it could teach me (how to write). After missing my chance I realized that the real benefits were mentorship and community. I signed up at the next opportunity. What resource needs a second look?


Make a pact with a non-judgmental accountability partner. They’re not there to chastise you, but to listen, remember what you said and celebrate your wins. Ask someone now.

Track your activity.

Give yourself gold stars when you do those 10 minutes. Put a tracking sheet on the wall. It’s satisfying to see consistent action (no matter how small) and it doesn’t take long for the benefits to kick in.


Get yourself some lovely tools— a great pen, the cool app you’ve been coveting, things you will enjoy using to do what you’ve putting off.

No Big Deal

Stop making a big deal out of it. Stop sighing and moaning about how long you’ve been procrastinating or how angry you are at yourself. You are making too much out of it and getting caught up in the drama. The past is past. Forgive yourself and begin again.

Quiet Satisfaction

Cultivate the subtle feeling of accomplishment instead of the melodramatic woe of guilt. It’s a different kind of emotional ride that takes some getting used to if your standard operating procedure has been excuses and apologies. Open up to the possibility that achievement is your natural state.

I’ve collected these suggestions into a handy infographic to print and remind yourself when you need a little encouragement. Let me know which one works best for you and share your favorites to add to the list.

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