Stop procrastinating: Set a goal – Write it down – Get started

Getting over procrastination takes action. Of course that is easier said than done. Today I’m going to share a simple three-step process with you that will help you get started and get more done than you ever thought possible.

Set a goal

It all starts with a goal. You have to know what it is you want to accomplish. If you don’t know what your goal is, it’s hard to know what you should be doing first or what you should be doing right now to move in the right direction. So what do we do instead? Anything other than the work we know needs to get done.

Your goal is simply to put what you know you need to get done into words. A good goal has defined parameters and a set deadline. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s a simple goal we all strive to accomplish. We have to file our taxes by a specific date. You have a pretty good idea of what paperwork you need, what forms you need to fill out, and where you need to turn them in. You also know what your deadline is. In other words, you have a well-defined goal when it comes to filing your income taxes. And yes, I realized most of us still procrastinate when it comes to this particular task. That’s why the remaining steps are just as important as the first one. For now, I want you to think about one thing you need to get done and turn it into a goal.

Write it down

Write it down. I don’t care if you find a random scrap of paper, use your favourite notebook, or type a note to yourself on your phone. The important part is that you put your goal into writing. This does two things. First of all, it helps you clarify what your goal is. You have to get pretty specific when you try to put what you want or need to do into words. Secondly, writing it down gives you something to look back on. It serves as a reminder and as a tool that you can use when you are tempted to procrastinate.

Set an appointment with yourself

Last but not least, it’s time to get started. That’s often the hardest part, isn’t it? You’re tempted to skip your workout until you lace up your shoes and get started. Once you’re off and running, it’s much easier to keep going. Once you have your goal written down, think about something you can do right now to move you in the right direction. Go do that. Then come back and do something else. Each morning, start by looking at your goal and challenge yourself to take action. Before you know it, you will have made some serious progress. And you’re starting to beat procrastination.

Time to schedule, words on blank board hold by a young girl in the outdoor.

A three-step process to stop procrastinating: set a goal, write it down, schedule time. You can do it Share on X

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Julie Stobbe, professional organizerJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually using Zoom. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situations. She uses her love of teaching to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. She guides and supports you to be accountable for your time, to complete projects and to reach your goals. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

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  1. Elizabeth T Justiz on October 26, 2020 at 9:31 am

    Thank you for these great reminders! I love SMART goals! It is a constant practice with ourselves to set and achieve our goals.

    • Julie Stobbe on October 26, 2020 at 12:06 pm

      You’re definitely right about the constant practice to keep setting SMART goals. I think we get tired and overwhelmed by planning and deciding what to do next all the time. Reminding ourselves to set those goals and look at them means we have a path to follow.

  2. Seana Turner on October 26, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    I absolutely MUST write down everything I want to do. I actually can’t believe how quickly I forget things these days. I guess I have a lot swirling around in my mind. Last night I even jotted something down on a pad I keep in my bedside drawer because I knew if I didn’t capture it then, it would be gone forever LOL!

    • Julie Stobbe on October 26, 2020 at 6:25 pm

      I was complaining to my Dad that I was worrying that I couldn’t remember everything. He said,” You just have too much to remember, there is nothing wrong with you.” As life goes on there is more work to get done and I also need to write it down.

  3. Linda Samuels on October 26, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    I’m with Seana. I have to write things down or I might forget. Once it’s captured, I can decide when I’ll handle the task or begin working on a goal. But if it never makes it to my list, it doesn’t have a chance of being accomplished.

    • Julie Stobbe on October 26, 2020 at 6:26 pm

      That list is so very important to me too.

      • Linda Samuels on March 4, 2024 at 12:45 pm

        I loved revisiting this post today. Breaking procrastination tendencies by using these three distinct steps as a framework makes so much sense.

        • Julie Stobbe on March 8, 2024 at 6:41 am

          Overcoming procrastination can take a lot of mental energy. Making small steps that are easy to start with helps to move the project forwward.

  4. Sabrina Quairoli on October 26, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    Great post! I agree with your statement: Each morning, start by looking at your goal and challenge yourself to take action. It is important to remind yourself of the goal so you can take action, especially when you first start.

    • Julie Stobbe on October 27, 2020 at 8:33 am

      Thank-you I am glad you enjoyed the post. I do my social media posting first thing in the day and it is on my list so it gets done. It is not something I enjoy a lot so writing it on the list, doing it first and having a system gets the task completed quickly.

  5. Janet Barclay on March 4, 2024 at 10:41 am

    This is a great system! I’ve created recurring tasks for most of the steps involved in getting my taxes done. I still need to add the rest, but at least I no longer get the “Oh oh, I need to get this stuff to my accountant in the next week or so!”

    • Julie Stobbe on March 8, 2024 at 6:39 am

      That is a great system to help get a project started. When it is automated then the project starts you working instead of you having to motivate yourself to start the project. Taxes again. Struggling this year to continue with that project.

  6. Sabrina Quairoli on March 4, 2024 at 12:47 pm

    I find that these days if I don’t write it down, it will linger, and I can’t relax and go to sleep. So, I will even email myself to remind myself what to do in the morning. =)

    • Julie Stobbe on March 8, 2024 at 6:44 am

      I have that same problem. If I leave thoughts of what to do for the next day on my mind at night I have a restless sleep too. I will text myself a note. With any system checking your list, tect or email is the keys to making “write it down” a successful tool.

  7. Julie Bestry on March 5, 2024 at 1:46 am

    I’m in agreement about setting goals, writing them down, and especially scheduling time. Someday isn’t a day on the calendar, we all say. But I find that if it’s a goal I’m already procrastinating on, I need to add one more layer — accountability. Whether I need to borrow from the ADHD community and have a body double (as I do at my Tuesday afternoon co-writing sessions) or just talk the steps through with my accountability partner to make sure I’ve actually written down the essentials and not just a random snippet! The system you describe is the backbone of truly getting things done rather than just thinking about doing them!

    • Julie Stobbe on March 8, 2024 at 6:48 am

      That next layer of accountibility is a great motivator to carry through with your plan. When I was learning to do videos /selfies I had a goal to make 1 a day for 30 days, less then 1 minute in length and no editing and then send it to an accountibility partner. If it didn’t arrive in their in box they would follow up with me.

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