Managing Self Monday Morning Practice

Monday Morning Practice: Weeding out procrastination

Written by Allison Wolf

I am procrastinating over four cardboard boxes. Have been all weekend.

There are two cardboard boxes sitting on the floor of my guest bathroom, and two on the floor of the master bathroom too. They have been sitting there since Wednesday.

I have to step over them, push past them, gaze at them each time I enter these rooms. But I haven’t tackled them. They just feel like too much to deal with.

I moved house last week and after days of sorting through a seemingly endless pile of possessions these four boxes are all that remains. After weeks of diligent productivity I find I cannot muster the energy to cross the finish line with these boxes.

My head almost hurts at the thought of sorting through all the things in those boxes and finding appropriate homes for them.

Do I really have to?

Procrastination is like weeds in the garden. You can control it but can never entirely eliminate it. (From Dr. Piers Steel’s book The Procrastination Equation.) To help myself uproot these weeds I have unearthed a practice from my coaching toolkit:

Practice for taking action on something you have been procrastinating about

The purpose of this practice is for you to immediately deal with something you are procrastinating on AND to observe what obstacles internal/external come up and what you can do to overcome them.

Pick a specific thing that you are procrastinating on – and make a commitment to complete it. Develop a simple plan:

  1. I will take this first step…. (Today at 8:30 am, unpacking one box.)
  2. I will spend this amount of time on this….. (Twenty minutes at a time.)
  3. I will complete this task by….. (I will have the boxes sorted through, items put away, and boxes collapsed in the recycling bin by Thursday this week.)

Watch yourself in action:

  • What choices are you making? (Not to do it.)
  • What are you telling yourself? (It’s too hard! I will get to it later.)
  • What are your most common obstacles and what can you do about them? (Putting it off. Thinking I need to do them all at once. Instead, I will commit to a limited time for the project each day, and will work through it in chunks.)

What are you procrastinating about? Try putting this practice into action to get at least one weed pulled from the garden this week.

Now, I will sign off here. I have a cardboard box to attend to.

About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.

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