I organized the Tupperware this morning.

It started with throwing together a couple of ingredients so I could marinate chicken for tonight. But before I could do that, I needed to empty the dishwasher. Then I noticed the Tupperware shelf was messed up, so I fixed that. Then I went looking for a Ziploc bag, and wouldn’t you know it, that cupboard could use some straightening. Then, once I cleaned that cupboard, I went back to prepping dinner.

But, what do you know – if I’m getting dinner ready for tonight, I could probably make a couple of freezer meals at the same time. Oh – and – guess what, the freezer is a mess – I won’t have anywhere to put those meals once I make them, so I better take a couple of minutes to straighten that up.

Productive procrastination – it can sneak up on us!

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I promise, the number one task on my list for today was NOT cleaning and organizing the kitchen. However, I spent over an hour going farther and farther and farther down that black hole.

Let’s review A.W.E.

Now that I’ve identified the problem (AWARENESS!) what can I do to prevent it from occurring in the future?

You may recall my first blog post about this issue: Stop Procrastination with A.W.E. (Remember those all-important 3 steps of A.W.E? Awareness, Work, and Evaluate.) Then came Don’t Confuse Progress with Motion. Then we talked about the value of scheduling time to do “productive procrastination” tasks.)

The option I chose for today is accountability (WORK!). I immediately texted one of coaching colleagues and said, “I’m all over the place today! I must finish fleshing out my new TSSI Debrief program by noon. I’ll text you once I finish.”

Whether or not she received my text before noon didn’t matter. The fact that I was accountable to someone else was enough to get me (and keep me) on track.

But, this isn’t always enough! If I hadn’t recognized I was off track, this strategy wouldn’t have worked. I might have cleaned out all the cupboards. Or washed the floors. Or weeded the flower beds. Or . . . Sure, all these tasks need to be completed, but during my work hours???!!! (EVALUATION).

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To be proactive, I asked the same coach if she would be my accountability buddy. Each morning I will text her the one thing I have determined is the most important task to finish by noon. Then, once I finish the task, I will text her. If she doesn’t get a text from me by noon, she will send me a gentle reminder to keep “first things first”!

Having this kind of structure is important to daily success – staying on task to get your #1 most important task completed without distraction, without procrastination.

What are some strategies you use to keep yourself on track?  Have you used an accountability buddy in the past? Share your experience to help others in the same boat!

Remember, a coach is a terrific accountability partner. With a little outside help, you can not only identify those times you get stuck in that “productive procrastination” but take steps to prevent it.

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