A Day in the Life of a Professional Procrastinator
6:00am – Wake up to the alarm.
Oh, it’s so early! I feel pretty tired this morning, I think I’ll just rest for a little while…
7:30am – Wake up again, this time to the light streaming in the window. On the third try, the covers get pulled back and the stumble to the kitchen for breakfast begins.
I think I’ll check my email why I wait for the kettle to boil.
11:00am – Still responding to these emails that came in.
What was I meant to work on today? I think I’ll just check Facebook really quick. I need to update my page…
12:00pm – Closing Facebook.
Where did the time go? I really need to call those new clients that tried a session yesterday morning. But first, I better stop to have lunch. I’ll call them after lunch.
Doesn’t the bathroom need cleaning?
And the house vacuumed. Better take care of those dirty dishes too. Also, need to return those video tapes.
4:30pm – First bootcamp session is at 5:00pm. Time for a quick bite before heading off.
I never did call those new clients…
9:00pm Arrive home from bootcamp and PT sessions.
I’m pretty beat. I think I’ll watch an episode of Game of Thrones before I head to bed.
Does this story sound familiar? It reminds me of someone I know quite well. Me.
You could argue that our Professional Procrastinator (PP) got a lot done in their day. Our PP trained some clients, cleaned the house and managed to clear out their emails.
But all of that was stuff that would have gotten done anyway. PP used them as a way to feel busy while avoiding the important work that was going to grow their business. In this case it was to call the two clients who might become paying clients.
Even from a non-salesy perspective, calling people the day after they did a workout with you for the first time is just being caring. Yet PP put it off.
Why? Let’s look at one possible reason:
Fear of success
From reading trainer emails and comments over the past few years I know a lot of you share a fear of mine.
That is fear of your own success.
I could write a whole article on this but that would blow this article out to thousands of words. I just wanted you to acknowledge that sometimes you procrastinate as a way to avoid doing the important work that is going to lead to you being successful.
This might sound completely nuts but there are studies that show that our brain does actually fight us in this. What if success leads to:
- not enough time for our family and friends?
- a lack of privacy as we gain more attention and fame?
- a feeling of being out of our depth?
By being aware of it can help you put down the Facebook or Instagram crack pipe and instead pick up the phone and make those calls.
Start with your most important task
Over the last 8 or so years I’ve worked out a few methods that help me get things done like writing books, blog posts, exercising, meditating, cooking, reading and socialising. All while digging into a TV series or two (at the moment it’s Shetland and Travellers) and keeping my part-time gig as a Professional Procrastinator.
For each day of the week pick one task from your task list and make that your Most Important Task for that day. Some people recommend doing this the night before so you can hit the ground running the next day but I also find it’s fine to just do it first thing in the morning.
Your Most Important Task is the first thing you do that day. If it’s planning out your workouts for the next month, that means that after you get up and complete your usual morning ritual you sit down and start planning those workouts.
You don’t check Facebook. You don’t check your emails. You don’t turn on the TV. You don’t vacuum the house.
You just do that Most Important Task.
Then, when it’s done, you can do those other things if you so desire. But at least you have completed one of your tasks from your list which puts you one step closer to finishing the project you’re working on.
Crazy people who run marathon’s use the same technique. No matter how fit you are, running a marathon is a mental game of just putting one foot in front of the other. If you can do that you’ll make it to the finish line.
Alternative approach: Every twenty minutes counts
OK, now I realise that many of you do not have the luxury of long uninterrupted periods of time in your morning. As someone who at this point as a 4 month old baby I get it.
You have kids to take to school and look after. Or maybe you are working full time while hustling away your bootcamp biz on the side. Whatever it is, mornings are out and afternoons probably are too.
So for you I want you to take another approach. This is the system I used while travelling and my routines were all messed up. Now returning to work with a baby 10m from my office, I’m using it again.
That approach is to make every spare 20 minutes count.
Instead of setting one Most Important Task for the day, you are going to create a list of important tasks you want to get done at the start of each week. Then you’re going to grab one task or part of one task.
In this method it’s really important that your tasks are well defined. You are only going to have maybe 20-30 minutes to complete them so you don’t want to waste time having to think about how to do them or how much to do.
Here are some examples of well defined tasks:
- Email Erin Taylor her new bootcamper welcome email.
- Plan 1 workout for next week on paper. Do this three times this week.
- Go to awesomeequipment.com and order 5 new medballs. 2x 10lb and 3x 15lb.
- Call Terry Monroe at the shoe shop on 0421 9876 5432 to organise a time to meet to discuss a deal for my campers. Monday or Wednesday for lunch is best.
All of these tasks tell me exactly what I need to do and how I’m going to do it. You will want to put aside some time each week to update and replenish this list.
Do this and even among the chaos of life you will find yourself making progress on these goals that are so important for you.
Tip: Remind yourself WHY you are doing this
Before leading into the next section, I want to share a little tip that I’ve picked up along the way.
There is going to be times when you feel completely overwhelmed or completely out of your comfort zone.
At these times you may just feel like giving up. Or shutting the door and watching the entire series of Battlestar Galactica.
In these moments I try to pause.
I pause and remember why I am doing this in the first place. This is super important it’s worth writing down your reasons why so you can read them at times like this.
Doing this always brings me back to where I am and gives me the energy and focus to keep going.
Unless of course I can’t think of a good why. If that happens it’s probably time to review the projects I’m working on.
Don’t be all about work
This is something I struggle with too. I think all entrepreneurs and small business owners do.
Without the 9 to 5 boundaries of a workplace, our work kind of bleeds into all aspects of our lives.
This is not a bad thing but it is important to have some of those weekly and daily important tasks be related to our personal lives.
It could be as simple as getting your workout in or as big as planning a special holiday for your family.
As simple as getting outside for a walk or as big as planning to run an ultra-marathon.
Whatever it is, personal growth will benefit all areas of your life, so make sure you include tasks that keep your growing as a person.
Go forth and conquer
It’s not always easy being a trainer, but we don’t do it because it’s easy do we?
We get out there and train clients in freezing cold and during sweltering summers because we love helping people.
The techniques above are not always easy to implement, in fact they’re often inconvenient and uncomfortable, but they will help you in your ultimate goal to help and serve your clients. Keep that in mind next time you feel your inner professional procrastinator coming out.
Kyle Wood created Bootcamp Ideas in 2010 when he was hunting around on the internet for workout ideas. He ran a successful bootcamp in Victoria, Australia and spends his spare time managing this site, adventuring (or lazying) with his wife and find new ways to make bootcamps even better.