If you get sidetracked with your phone or computer…..

I know I’m not the only one who does this…

I get on my computer to, let’s say, write a blog post.

Thirty minutes later, I’ve read other people’s blogs, played with photos and done many other things but not actually written the blog post.

These days I have a simple trick that’s really helping me – I write a list of things I am allowed to do at the computer and keep it right in front of me.

Some of the items may be non-computer things like painting my nails if I need to wait for things like photos to download, which helps me to not go to feedly to read blogs while waiting 🙂

actual computer to-do list from last weekend

Try it – especially if you also get sidetracked and let me know how it works for you! This will obviously work just as well for your phone.

What are your computer tricks to keep you focused?

(while specifically writing, I like to set my iPhone timer for 15-minute blocks)

{Ask the organiser} Procrastination, saying no and overcommitment

Well, I haven’t done one of these Ask the Organiser posts for a while.

Ask the organiser |www.OrganisingQueen.com

Since I’m retired I find that my needs have changed. I would like to see how to keep organized and stay on task and not waste time simply because I feel I can always do it tomorrow. How do I keep from procrastinating?

I have gotten myself too involved because I thought I could do more since I am retired but that’s not true. Believing you have more time can become a handicap for a retired person. You start to take on too many things and then try to figure out how to get out of some of them so that you can do the things you always plan on doing once you retire. It’s very easy to get caught up in clubs or other activities that you really should have said no to.

Many end up taking more of your time then you thought it would. How do I manage this and get out of things without feeling that I’m letting people down who depend on me?


Procrastination | www.OrganisingQueen.com

There are two issues here that I think Lois wants me to address:

  1. Procrastinating when you think you have lots of time.

I have a few ideas for Lois:

Think about your ideal day. What does that look like?

Which 3 things might you want to include in your daily rhythm? Maybe that’s something in the home/ garden, something out/ with people/ family, something health & fitness, something fun/ relaxing for you, etc. Decide on those 3 categories.

Make a short list of a couple of projects for each of your 3 categories using the Master List (it’s in the Time management purpose pack) or a plain old notebook and pen, and choose one from each to do every day.

If you finish the day and find you’re making progress in each area, you’ll feel accomplished AND relaxed.

Once you start moving towards your goals a little bit every day, it’ll be easier not to procrastinate as you’re motivated going towards something meaningful.

(Lois, email me and I’ll send you a form you can use for your daily categories)

Procrastination | www.OrganisingQueen.com

2. Overcommitment and saying no

Back to question 1. In your weekly rhythm, what % of your week or month could you comfortably do things like clubs, activities, volunteer work, etc? Maybe one morning a week? Or a morning every second week?

Decide what that comfortable time frequency feels like for you.

Keep that number in mind when you consider what your current commitments are.

Maybe you’ve committed to 3 mornings per week.

You now have to decide where you want to spend that time. Maybe you can attend one group but just as a participant, not as a volunteer, and that would be enough?

Maybe you want to volunteer in one and only one for all the time?

If you’ve already committed to these projects, and you want to get out of them, this time of year is perfect.

Tell the organiser that you’ve been thinking/ praying about your commitments for next year and while you’d be perfectly happy to finish out the year, next year you can only commit to ____ hours a week/ month. Or only help out at the annual ______.

How does that sound?

I know that the issue of overcommitting is not uncommon.

Do you have a problem saying yes first and then thinking through all the repercussions? Have you started thinking about your involvement in projects, clubs, groups for next year?

PS My one friend already told me what she’s getting out of doing next year 😉

If you have any questions you want answered on the blog vs in a virtual organising session, click here to send me an email.

Chloe on procrastination

This week’s theme is perfect for the busy time I’m going through right now: procrastination.

I’ve noted that the more stressed and overwhelmed I feel, the more I procrastinate. I tend to be a perfectionist as well, to keep some sort of control I guess, and as Marcia says in the lesson, it’s often the main cause of procrastination.

The tips she gives to break procrastination are all great, but my fave is to do the most unpleasant or difficult task first, or as she often says, to “eat the frog“.

I often tell myself, “eat broccoli first, dessert after”, which means the same: once the task you dreaded most is done, you feel proud of yourself and the rest seems almost easy!

I’ve recently noted something very similar in my professional life (again): I had the chance to have a couple days without my boss being in the office all day.

She’s a mayor’s deleguee and we work together all the time since we’re planning a very big event.

We work great together usually, but when she asks for something, “not now” or “I should be doing something else instead” is NOT an acceptable answer.

When she spends the day in my office, I usually don’t do much besides what she asks for. Anyway, last week she wasn’t there for two whole days. On the first one I thought “Oh, the day is long, I can start with some easy tasks, complete some filing and some “relaxing” to-do’s. I deserve some mini-vacation!”

Well, the days aren’t that long actually, and I can’t afford vacations, even mini ones! I ended up not having done much and feeling frustrated for “wasting” a day.

I didn’t repeated that same mistake on the second day when she was gone, and at lunch break I had already written 4 articles for the town magazine, updated the website for the 3 coming weeks and finished the programme for our big event so that it could be printed as soon as she would give me the green light!

I can’t tell you how proud and satisfied I felt compared to the first day.

Lesson learned: I will start my day with the most important and most annoying tasks first, so that if my day gets crazy afterwards, at least this part is done. Filing can wait (not indefinitely, but you get the idea! LOL)!

Take care!


Chloe, I love how you recognised your time challenges both with your boss’s demanding style and with your own internal distractions the first day, but most of all, I love how you self-corrected.

Fantastic job – I’m so proud of you.

Do you procrastinate?
Have you ever thought about why you do so?

How disciplined are you with computer time?

I was just browsing my Google Reader and somebody linked to an application called Freedom that will prevent you  from going online for a certain, predetermined time.

The idea is that during that time you do what it is you’re supposed to do:

  1. write your book
  2. work on projects
  3. organise your home
  4. menu plan, etc.

I love it and hate it.

Love that the decision is then taken away from me and hate that I would need something to help with my self-discipline.

I recognise, however, that the computer eats into many things I should be doing but don’t get around to doing.

So it is a necessary thing in our overcrowded lives. And if this is the only way for you to impose self-discipline, then I say, “go for it”!

How about you?

How do you feel about this? Would you use it (there’s a version for PC and Mac)?

PS nobody’s paying me a single cent for writing about it – it just triggered a hot button and I want to hear from you

How do you overcome procrastination?

My main organisational issue is to get started / not procrastinate. I always have better things to do.

Oh, and I hate to have to make choices and take decisions because that means not choosing something and I’m afraid it’ll be the wrong choice. So any advice about those two topics are warmly welcome!!

Chloé from France.

Chloe, sometimes we procrastinate because the thing really shouldn’t even be on our to-do list. If that’s the case, let it go and be free. Maybe that’s why you say you always have better things to do 🙂

Otherwise, if it does support your lifestyle goals, then here’s how you can overcome procrastination:

  • break up the project into small steps
  • focus on just the very next action step, e.g. if you need to get a new job, don’t start thinking about what you’re going to wear to interviews….just yet. for now, decide what kind of job you want – that’s the first action step. Then update your CV (resume), etc, etc.
  • what gets you motivated? If it’s accountability, then tell someone to hold you accountable.
  • work with a timer and get it done
Bath, England, May 2008

About making decisions, I wrote about 3 steps to confident decision-making.

Have a read 🙂

How do you overcome procrastination?

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P.S. here are tons more tips on overcoming procrastination.

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