How to get more done and beat procrastination

I have to chuckle at the title of this post because I never thought in a million years I’d be offering tips on how to beat procrastination. When I was younger, I was literally the queen of procrastination.

Growing up, we lived down a long country lane. Each morning I walked about a half mile up that lane to catch the school bus with the rest of the neighborhood kids.


(I couldn’t find a photo of our lane but it looked a lot like this one.)

I remember rolling out of bed 15 minutes before I needed to leave the house. Of course, it took me longer than 15 minutes to get ready. So instead of walking up the lane, I had to sprint. I can still recall the panic I felt when I saw that bus in the distance approaching our stop and I still had a quarter mile left to run! It was a great workout regimen, but certainly a poor way to start my day.

Unfortunately, my dashes to the bus stop weren’t isolated incidents of procrastination. I would get to school and hope my teachers didn’t ask for the homework until the end of class, so I could work on it during the class period. And in college, I was the one pulling all-nighters writing papers and, yes, even running to class each morning to make it on time.

Fortunately, there is one life event that will force even the worst procrastinator to clean up her act – kids. Those two little crumb snatchers made my “just-in-time” lifestyle impossible. I basically had to change or die – or at least suffer a series of embarrassing, public meltdowns. 😉

So I found some great resources to help me with my problem. I actually wrote about them in detail in Chapter 4 of my e-book. If you haven’t read it, it is totally free. Find out how to get your copy here.

One of the biggest game changers that got my procrastination under control was this guy:


Courtesy photo

I learned to “Eat That Frog!”

Brian Tracy wrote a bestselling book called, “Eat that Frog.” His book title is based on Mark Twain’s famous quote, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

The idea is that, each morning, we should first complete the task that we are most likely to procrastinate on – often the most difficult, time-consuming and most important one on our to-do list. As a result of forcing ourselves to “eat that frog” right away, the rest of our day goes much more smoothly. I can say with experience that applying this principle on a daily basis has led me out of the depths of procrastination and helped me be more successful with finishing projects and managing my time.

It has also given me a greater sense of fulfillment, accomplishment and empowerment plus lower stress and anxiety.

So how do I make sure I’m “eating my frogs” each morning? I personally like to start by creating a schedule of the next day’s priorities on the evening prior. This allows my brain to subconsciously prepare for the following day’s activities while I’m sleeping so that, when I wake up, I’m prepared to get right to work – no excuses allowed.

When creating my schedule of priorities, I number them in order of importance. No. 1 must be accomplished, then No. 2, so on and so forth. No.1 would be my biggest, ugliest frog and then the next ugliest … you get the picture. Of course, the key to making this system work is disciplining myself to not deviate or skip around the numbers. They must be completed in order. This keeps me from wasting my most productive time, resources and energy on unimportant or less important tasks.

By learning how to get more done and working hard to fight procrastination, I set myself up for success in both my personal and professional life. This has become a key building block for me in creating the organized life I crave.

Do you struggle with procrastination? Do you have any stories or tips to share with others like me on the journey?

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14 Responses

  1. Theda says:

    Hey Susan, I so get what you’re saying when you referred to craving an organized life. I crave that! I will get Brian Tracy’s book and yours, as well. Thanks for the post.

  2. Gena says:

    how do I get your ebook? thanks

    • Susan says:

      Gena, all you need to do is sign up to receive my blog posts via email (look for the signup box on the top right corner on my website homepage). After that, you’ll get a confirmation with a link to the book. That’s it! Please let me know if you have trouble and I’ll send you a pdf copy directly.

  3. Shawna says:

    Even though being a mom has “curbed” my procrastination, I am still battling it. To be fair to myself, a good portion of the time, it’s because “other” things interfere with my agenda…kids’ sports/activities, family things, etc. I try to keep some sort of schedule, but it never seems to work. Anyway, my problem is the discipline part mixed with no energy at the end of my workday to accomplish much or anything for that matter… then I try to get everything done on the weekend and end up exhausted come Monday morning, the start of my work week… I’ve tried to find solutions, but I can’t seem to find any…I just don’t know what to do. Any pointers/suggessions?

    • Susan says:

      Oh, Shawna. I can totally relate. I think you have a common problem. I struggle with these same issues. One thing I have noticed is that if I can be consistent for an entire week eating my frogs whenever possible, then when the schedule gets derailed (which it often does), I’ve built enough margin into my day – by not avoiding important tasks – that I’m not left with such a huge load of unfinished business and stress. Does that make sense?

      • Shawna says:

        It does make sense. With that said, this is what I am running into: I am a single mom of 3. I work outside of the home Mon thru Fri, 8am- 4pm. After I get off work, my evening schedule revolves around my younger two’s basketball practice and games. Also, helping my youngetst with her homework because she has learning disabilities; and in addition, my eldest has a part time job that I have to take and pick him up(no one else will help with that)… SIGH…. I’ve often tried to get up earlier to accomplish things, but with picking up my sons from either basketball or work at 10 pm or so, then I don’t get enough sleep. I’m really not trying to sound like a whiney person here… I just thought that I could bounce it off you and you might have some suggestions…

        • Susan says:

          You don’t sound whiny at all, Shawna. You just sound like you have a ton on your plate! I wouldn’t be so hard on yourself. You’re doing a great job raising those kidlets. We are in the time of our lives right now when the little ones demand a lot of our time.

  4. I was just talking about procrastination with a colleague! I love the “eat the frog” analogy, and I do think that it’s useful to knock out the most painful, arduous tasks first.

    I’ve also found that sometimes it helps to to knock out a few small, easier tasks, too, just to make me feel successful! (Confidence booster.) 🙂

    • Susan says:

      I’m with you, Robin. Sometimes the little tasks help get my train rolling. But, then again, I have a nasty habit of using little tasks to deter me from the big, important ones. You know, stay busy piddling around so you never have to deal with the not-so-fun stuff … that’s my problem.

  5. Cindy says:

    Oh, Susan. I have so many frogs to eat right now. So, so many frogs.

    And I’ve always loved that quote. 😀 xo

  6. Angie W says:

    Love your post today. Thank you for the awesome tip.

  7. teresa says:

    I guess reading your post was my procrastination, but I like the title! Now you’ve inspired me to get to work!

  1. October 21, 2015

    […] am a serial procrastinator. As a result, I am often left with a mountain of work I have to squeeze into a small amount of time […]

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