Beat procrastination – listen to your inner voice and change that dialogue

Something we haven’t talked about yet is that little voice in our head that either encourages us to go do something else – thus procrastinating, or the other one… the critical one… the one that tells us how much we suck because we didn’t get the things done we set out to do. Listen to your inner voices; the negative one, the fun one, change that dialogue and stop procrastination Share on X


Why is it important to listen to those voices? Because they have an impact on your life both on a conscious and a subconscious level. Let’s start with that negative voice because I think it’s the most destructive of the two in the long run. Back on day one of this seven-day challenge to beat procrastination we talked about the importance of forgiving yourself. To quickly recap, it does you no good to beat yourself up over past procrastination and you should expect to “fail” by procrastinating again here and there. Nobody is perfect. We all have good days and bad days. The important part is to show up and try your best.

Negative Voice

That little negative voice in your head doesn’t help you do that. Become aware of it and when you hear it, defuse it. You can do this by responding to it out loud or in writing (via a journal). Or go up and do something else. Do whatever it takes to silence that voice. A great option is to prove it wrong by doing something productive. Over time that voice will speak up less and less unless you indulge it by paying attention to it and letting it ruin your day.

The Fun Voice

Next, it’s time to tackle the voice in your head that tells you it’s much more fun to do about anything other than what you should be doing. We all have that voice. It’s why we come up with terms like procrasticleaning and procrasticrafting. We can get pretty innovative when it comes to doing anything but the thing we don’t want to work on and that little voice is feeding us suggestions and cheering us on.

The best way to diffuse this particular voice into something more productive is with “yes, and” statements. “Yes, playing video games sounds like a lot of fun and I’m going to play for an hour or so after I get this task done.” Use the suggestions this voice gives you as bribes if they sound like something fun. Ignore them otherwise, or put them off until tomorrow.

Comment on which voice do you listen to most often and why? 

Julie Stobbe, professional organizerJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

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  1. Charmaine Grace on November 19, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    Thank you Julie:

    I love the idea of talking back to the negative voice in my mind – and the playful one to. “Procrasticleaning” Brilliant word. Reminds me of when I cleaned the oven instead of doing my work because I was so afraid I wasn’t good enough.
    I also love how the conversation with the fun voice could create a reward for doing your work. Thank you.

    • Julie Stobbe on November 20, 2020 at 11:52 am

      I use my morning walk (some days) to do the positive talk to overcome the feeling of not accomplishing enough. I too feel that feeling of being afraid I am not good enough, talented enough to get the task done well enough. Nothing happens if you don’t finish it. Then there is nothing to modify and improve.

  2. Seana Turner on November 23, 2020 at 9:08 am

    I think that Fun Voice is most distracting to me. As you said, suddenly everything else seems more appealing than the task I am supposed to be doing. The good news is, I believe I have the power to change my thinking about a task. I once heard the advice to recast your thinking by saying, “I’m excited about this,” instead of “I’m nervous about this,” or, “I don’t want to do this.” It might sound silly, but I do think it works:)

    • Julie Stobbe on December 1, 2020 at 5:52 am

      Thank you for the tips on rewording what the is saying voice. It is like using positive psychology to help you make the change from I don’t want to, to let’s get started.

  3. Linda Samuels on November 23, 2020 at 9:56 am

    Ahhh. Those inner voices. They can either work for our against us. I love the distinctions you made here between the negative and the fun. They both exist and can at times derail us. The voice I listen to most is the one that encourages me. I’m not saying that the negative and fun voices aren’t there. Believe me, they are. But I have a certain amount of respect for them too. They often are indicators rather than beliefs. So the negative voice will appear more often when I’m tired or stressed. It’s my call to take better care of myself, be gentler, and shift gears. The fun voice appears when I’ve been working too much. It’s that rebellious me that says, “Hey, Linda, stop and play.” I listen to that one, too, and decide if it has merit.

    More than anything, the idea of forgiveness is essential. We are human, not perfect. We have the ability to reset at any moment and let go of what we didn’t do.

    • Julie Stobbe on December 1, 2020 at 5:50 am

      As you point out there are so many kinds of voices. Recognizing them and using them to help you is what is important. I think I have the responsibility voice, I agreed to do this so get it done. Sometimes a good voice sometimes more like a guilt voice.

  4. Diane N Quintana on November 23, 2020 at 9:56 am

    I always tell the fun voice that I can do whatever fun thing it is after I finish a certain amount of the things I must do. My friend and colleague, Kate Varness, says to do the opposite. Reward first. Listen to the fun voice first. Do the fun thing and then tell yourself: now that you’ve had fun, go do the thing that you must do. That works for her and is another way to get things done.

    • Julie Stobbe on December 1, 2020 at 5:47 am

      I need to use the fun voice as a reward voice. If you do the fun thing first it would put you in a good mood and make it easier to work. Thanks to you and your friend for the suggestion.

  5. Melanie on November 23, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    I’m a TOTAL procrasticleaner and a stress cleaner. It’s when I do my best work in the house, hahaha. This made me giggle. GREAT post!!!! We all need these healthy mental reminders right now.

    • Julie Stobbe on December 1, 2020 at 5:43 am

      Your little voice helps you to get other important stuff done. You’re not wasting your time while procrastinating. That is a bonus. I am glad you enjoyed the post and that I could make you laugh.

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