September 27, 2007

Guest Post: Lily on Procrastination

So as Crabby is starting her Vacation and Vacation-like Adventures, she is not leaving you all alone. There will be plenty going on at Cranky Fitness, starting of with some helpful advice from Lily T. on how to avoid procrastination. Crabby has a big problem with this herself, so she really enjoyed this post and hopes you will too. You can find much more from Lily over at her place, Lily Loss Lbs! And now, here's Lily!

Getting Over Procrastination

I am a procrastinator. Many people believe that “laziness and complacency” are at the root of procrastination, but I don’t believe so. However, this is the most common excuse I’ve heard from others as to why they are not actively pursuing weight loss when it is on the top of their wish list. My aunt says that she’s “too lazy” to exercise. My cousin’s girlfriend Jackie says she’s “too lazy” to record food intake.

But there’s nothing “lazy” about these individuals. My aunt has two teenaged daughters, keeps her house clean, and works full time. Jackie also works full time and manages to cook for every picnic and barbeque that we share together. And me? Well, I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I’ve been quite successful with maintaining a blog despite the responsibilities of motherhood and everything else. In reality, I’m quite productive, doing anything but what I’m supposed to be doing.

Living on campus as an undergrad, my room was spotless, which was unheard of to my family back at home. In actuality, I didn’t have a TV to help me avoid studying, so my energies went to cleaning. It’s just that studying was such a chore, that in comparison, cleaning was a joy.

So when others or myself say, “I’m lazy” what we really mean is “I find that particular task way too unappealing and would rather do something else.” And here lies the true problem of a procrastinator. So how do we get ourselves to do what we have to do? Here are a few steps that I have come up with, using how-to books and magazine articles that I have complied on the subject throughout the years.

1. Stop criticizing yourself! We are our biggest critics, and to be honest that’s one sure way to NOT be productive.

2. Identify your obstacles. Are you afraid of failure? Success? Writing it all down will help decrease their power over you. Talking to an “understanding” someone about them helps even more. (Note: don’t talk to someone whom you know will only criticize you and tell you what to do.)

3. Be aware of how you use your time. You can do this by keeping track of how you spend it for a couple of days or weeks.

4. Don’t over commit. Don’t be afraid to say no! If you have too many commitments, you won’t have time for your project.

5. Breakdown your project into manageable pieces. If someone told you to move a mountain, you would have looked at him or her as if they were crazy. Don’t expect to complete a massive project such as weight loss with one fell swoop. Take your project one task at a time, while keeping your ultimate goal in mind.

6. Work on a have-to for at least 15 minutes. You should try to do this the first thing possible everyday. The hardest part of doing anything unpleasant is starting. Tell yourself that you only have to work on your have-to for 15 minutes. If by chance you get into a groove and want to keep working after the 15 minutes, then by all means do it.

7. Make time to play. Write down all the activities that you enjoy and do one at least once every week or even everyday. Schedule it in if you have to. If you don’t, you’ll start resenting your project and start procrastinating with activities that you most likely don’t enjoy as much.

So there you have it. I’m no expert or anything, but I do love those how-to books and magazine articles.


  1. I've gotten better on some things but am still a terrible procrastinator about others. Having a blog is an Evil Tool for procrastinators, because there is always something you could be doing on the blog rather than going to the gym or cleaning out the refrigerator or whatever you're avoiding. This is a really good reminder of how to get going again on things we've been neglecting.

    Thanks for the very helpful post!

  2. Yup, I'm a procrastinator extra-ordinaire. Almost everything can wait until later. Of course, then I have to work like a mad fool to get things done.

  3. Is Procrastinator spelled b-a-g-l-a-d-y? Or is that just my middle name? Because I'm a world-class procrastinator. I'll be saving this particular post - there are some very helpful suggestions here.

    Speaking of procrastination, I finally got the first batch of home-made salsa done - who wants some?

  4. I find that setting aside certain blocks of time (from 1:00 - 2:00 I will work on that paper/clean the shower, etc.) helps me.
    I agree 100% with #7!

  5. I have a ton of things to do today but I had to stop by and read Crabby/Lily first. Helpful article, Lily. Thanks.

    Now I'm off to... oooooooo salsa!!! Ok, be right back with baked nacho chips...

  6. Hi Lily,

    Terrific guest blog!

    I find that I procrastinate the most when it comes to things I don't really want to do in the first place (clean the oven) or things that seem final and irretrievable once they are done (mail a manuscript.)

    I really like number three: be aware of how you use your time. I do this with money, tracking every dollar I spend for a month once or twice a year. I always find some waste. Bet that would happen if I track my time.

    Thanks to Lily for the blog and to Crabby for posting it.


  7. Good tips, Lily, and tip #2 is something that can be applied across the board.
    I'm good at putting off things I don't care to do. I could be doing many things, but the most important thing right now is to try the Bag Lady's salsa.

  8. Good post, Lily!

    I've always clung to the thought that it's not procrastination if you put it off right away.

    You're right; any task is doable for fifteen minutes. And it's amazing how much you can get done in that amount of time.

  9. Terrific and timely post, as I am struggling with the exercise demon right now and I'm definitely guilty of procrastinating.

    Thanks for the tips!

  10. I'll respond to this post later.

  11. Great advice. It is hard to break bad habits and even harder to make new good habits.

    I had been procrastinating the start of yet another weight loss adventure because I wanted to figure out the maintenance part and why I always regain. I guess I can put that off and lose the weight and worry about the maintenance part when I get there. Is that just procrastinating?

    I agree that we are our own worst critics. Great guest post! Thanks!

  12. Great post, I have been putting off my exercise for some time now. Not to mention, I should be doing laundry, yard work (well patio), cleaning, etc. right now.

    Great tips though, I am going to print this off and put it on my fridge...right after I do.....

  13. Item 5 worked wonders for me when it came to big projects. Just break them down into smaller bits that seem a lot more manageable. It worked for my house redecoration, it worked for my weightloss and it even worked for building my blog. Just write out all the things that need to happen and then consider each one of them a separate project. That way you have multiple small project instead of one huge project.


  14. I was gonna leave a really witty, stellar comment,, I'll do it tomorrow.

  15. Hmm, I'm really not a procrastinator because I hate knowing there are things I need to get done, so I've never fully understood. But my finance oh buddy, he is the king.. and I don't think he's lazy, I just think he doesn't get all worked up like do and does things in terms of what he feels is a priority.

    ok fine, sometimes I think he's lazy!

  16. I've been procrastinating on finishing my thesis for a year now. What I've found that works is find something you like even less than your to-do and add it to your list. It has worked with exercise and myself! I used to be too lazy to exercise but now when I'm faced with an evening of working on my thesis, all of a sudden I've got TONS of time to exercise!

  17. That's really good advice.
    I've found for things I don't want to do...sometimes I jsut *have* to *do* them.
    And for carppy chores, the 15 minute rule really works. You can do anything for 15 minutes...sometimes I set a timer if I really don't want to.
    Every little bit helps...and rewards help too

  18. What a great post Lily. I would pick a fav tip, but I think they all have lots of merit!

    Thanks for putting it together!!

  19. The 15 minute tip is a great one. I've used it at times and it does help to "unstick" you. A timer is a big help too. Thanks Lily.

  20. Thanks, nice post!! I'm sure your advise will prove helpful. I've noticed in myself when I finally get around to doing something I've dreaded, it's never as hard, nor does it take as long as I feared.

  21. real nice tips man they certainly sound very promising, and i am going to try them out.

  22. Oh I SOOO needed this today!

    My favorite part is this: “I find that particular task way too unappealing and would rather do something else.”

    yes yes yes!! so true. Loved the suggestions, thanks!

  23. Thanks again Lily, and thanks to all the awesome Cranky Fitness Commenters for stopping by!

    Meanwhile the Crab family got to discover that the Hopper exhibit was far more interesting than the White House Tour. (However, they now know what happens if a member of your party needs to use a restroom at the White House! They may say there are no restrooms available, but Arrangements can be made. (Crabby was not the one who got the special escort, so she can't report on any of the particulars.)

    Anyway, thanks to patient readers and helpful guest posters, further adventures await!

  24. you are so right. sometimes i just say, give it 5 minutes, then thos e5 turn into 30 , then 1 hour.

  25. check out the RSDP progran by Wesley Virgin at me overcome my procrastination problems in no time!


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