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How to Stop Putting Things Off

How to Stop Putting Things Off

Do you ever know what you want to do, or should do, but can’t quite get yourself to do it? You want to start a blog, a business, or my get your financial house in order. Then the moment you open your laptop to get to serious about your task, you find yourself binge watching your favorite series of Netflix instead.

Your dreams are stuck in first gear.

Why in the world does this happen? And more importantly, how can you stop putting things off?

Rebecca, a student Best Money Class Ever, started her own law firm doing small business law. She wrote in to Ask Carly to find out.

Ask Carly is a way for us to stay connected and support one another on our journey to gaining financial independence. You don’t need to figure this money stuff out on your own. You can submit your questions about life and money here.

She wrote:

Hey Carly,

I started my own firm in Dallas. I’m going to start getting into content creation and posting articles, but I find that I keep procrastinating on it and shoving it off. I notice that you are regular with your posting and I wondered if you had any tips? 

First off, congrats to Rebecca for starting her firm, she’s already made it to second gear. Many people plan on opening their own business “one day,” but never quite get around to it.

First, let’s clarify what procrastination isn’t.

The Washington Post explains that procrastination is not a time-management issue, but instead it’s an emotion management issue.

There is always enough time in the day for your priorities. When we put things off it isn’t a lack of time. We fear failure, rejection, and our anxiety about the task grows into a monster versus the ant that it is.

To avoid the pain of possibly failing when we do something new, we waste time watching random videos on YouTube, or doing another task that has some value like reorganizing your office, but that isn’t as important to you.

Here’s Four Tips on How to Stop Putting Things Off

1. Clarify What You Want to Do

Often the task that you want to do, isn’t even clearly defined.  

There is so much power to writing things down. As a sophomore in college, I wrote down that I wanted to have $100k saved after graduation, and by writing that down, it made my task crystal clear. I wanted to save and invest as much as possible at a young age.

2. Start Small

One of the biggest reasons people put things off is they don’t know where to start. Remember, every business owner, blogger, or guru was once an amateur. Or as the philosopher Lao Tzu states, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Rachel Ray worked at a pub, Oprah was an anchor on a local news station, and Michael Jordan first played on his Junior Varsity high school basketball team.   

Stop putting things off and go for the JV team before trying to get into the NBA.

3. Learn as You Go

When you put things off it is easy to spend time “researching.” In reality you’re spending more time thinking than doing. Peter Marshall said, “Small deeds done, are better than great deeds planned.”

Stop thinking and thinking and just do whatever task it is that you are putting off. Just do it. The best way to learn is to do. When starting something new it is almost guaranteed that you’ll make mistakes, but that is how you learn. Think about toddlers who accidentally touch the burner on the stove, they learn, real fast “this is hot,” and they will not do that in the future.

4. Tell your friends

Use social pressure to your advantage. Tell your friends what you are doing (not thinking about doing), and the next time you see them, give them your update.  Committing verbally is especially important for solopreneurs to have accountability with their business.

In summary, Rebecca can clarify how often she’ll write blog posts and start small. Instead of doing weekly posts, she can start off by writing monthly, and with each new post she’ll improve. Use these four tips on how to stop putting things off in your life.

best money class ever carly michelle

Hi! I'm Carly

I’m a Finance grad and creator of Best Money Class Ever, a 4-week live virtual personal finance class. I paid off $35,000 of debt and saved a nest egg of over $100,000 by age 26 (earning only around the median household income!).

If I can pay off debt and build savings at a young age, anyone can with a little education and solid plan.

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