The importance of naming things and the 2 types of procrastination (they’re related, I promise)

Before I share about procrastination, let’s talk about the importance of naming things.

No, this isn’t about anthropomorphizing objects. This is about identifying what’s happening by naming it.

Most of the time, this is talked about in regards to feelings or a medical diagnosis.

Once you identify it (or name it), you’re able to better understand what’s going on, feel more in control, and ask for help (if you need it).

Especially with a medical diagnosis, naming it is very helpful. Once you identify the illness, you know where to focus your next steps.

Recognizing or naming patterns you fall into is also important.

A few years ago, I was at a family gathering, and I left feeling really annoyed with my sister. I realized I had fallen into a pattern from my teenage years and made an effort the next time I was with her to act like the adult I am and treat her like one (she’s only two years younger than me). If I hadn’t recognized the pattern/habit, I wouldn’t have changed it.

With your productivity, it’s super helpful to name how you’re most likely to procrastinate so you can recognize and change it.

Let’s name the two types of procrastination to help you with this.

The first is Unproductive Procrastination.

This is the one we generally think of when we talk about procrastination.

Unproductive Procrastination is scrolling through social media, getting lost on phone apps, watching your streaming service of choice (like Netflix or HULU), or watching TV or YouTube. Or any other unproductive things you might do instead of the important work you want to do.

The second type of procrastination is Productive Procrastination.

This one is super tricky because it makes you feel like you’re getting things done.

And you are!

BUT the important task that you needed to do DOESN’T get done because you spent so much time getting the less important things done instead.

I shared this definition with a client recently, and she said, “OMG, I do that ALL THE TIME! I didn’t even realize it!” The following week she told me that having a name for it was really helpful because now she sees when it’s happening and can change it.

Naming the patterns you fall into, especially around procrastination, can help you make changes.

I know everyone’s situation is different, so let me know if you want to chat about your situation.

AND if you have a question or topic you’d like to see in a future post, share it in the comments.

If you prefer listening/watching, you can catch this on Facebook or YouTube.

Break it down now and you’ll get it done later

I just finished an office reorganization.

I started the reorganization because I had overflowed items from my office into my guest and master bedroom.

These mainly were items that I wanted off my desk or didn’t have a home for, so I moved them out of the way and into other rooms.

I was tired of having things all over the place and moving them when guests were using the guest bedroom.

So, I decided to tackle the project of reorganizing my office, pulling those things out of the places they didn’t belong, and finding everything a new home in my office.

So, I broke it down into pieces, very, very small pieces.

This is what my to-do list for this project initially looked like:

I knew I wanted to sort items into boxes to help figure out what needed to go where. So you see the categories like pens, pencils, post-it notes, paper and binder clips, a box for small items, and a box for larger items.

And you can see I allowed myself 2 hours to sort through the things from my master bedroom and 3 hours for the guest bedroom. While I purposely guestimated more time than I needed, I was very surprised to find I drastically overestimated the time required to sort those items.

Sorting the items from the master bedroom took me 20 minutes, and the guest bedroom items took me 40 minutes.

It seemed like such a huge task to sort those items! I was sure it was going to take a while.

That’s why I broke it down, so that it didn’t feel like a huge, overwhelming project that had to be completed immediately. Instead, I could just focus on one small task at a time.

Once I sorted my closet, desk, and other randomly placed items into my boxes, my office looked like this:

As you can see, I had a rather large mess lot of items to put away again. I did wonder what I got myself into, but I took a breath and tackled one part at a time.

Putting everything away did take longer than I anticipated, but I had the project started. It felt doable because I broke it down into working a couple of hours here and an hour there.

It looked like this:

And finally this:

But what does this have to do with you?

A project is anything that takes more than 1 step to complete.

Break every project into smaller, manageable steps.

For me, sorting through items in 20-minute increments made it very doable and easy to get started. I felt like I was making progress.

Again, break your projects and goals down into smaller steps.

And, if I wasn’t the type of person that could organize my office like that, I could hire someone to help me out. There are many very talented professional organizers out there that could have come in and helped me sort through everything and ensure the project was finished and done well.

If you need help figuring out how to break a project into smaller steps, hire someone to help you with that.

A project like “cleanup/organize office” feels enormous and unmanageable, but “do this 20-minute step” is much more doable, and you can wrap your head around it.

Everyone’s situation is different, so if you want some help in this area, reach out, and let’s talk.

When was the last time…

When was the last time you told a friend they sucked and were a failure?

Never? Maybe only in jest?

When was the last time you said that to yourself?


I know I can be tough on myself for not reaching goals, getting sidetracked instead of getting something done, or any number of other reasons.

But I’d NEVER say those things to a friend.

I guess I’m not a friend of myself??

It certainly can feel like that.

It takes time to unlearn those habits.

It takes practice, but you can get better at noticing when this is happening. You can learn your patterns and make adjustments. Watch for your insights and write them down. Then to remind yourself, put them on sticky notes where you’ll see them (like on your monitor).

Next time you get sidetracked, don’t reach a goal, or any other reason you might be mean to yourself, take a step back and treat yourself the way you’d treat a good friend.

And take opportunities to celebrate your wins. That might be reaching a goal. It can also be celebrating that you did the work, showed up, and did the things, regardless of the result.

"Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings." - CD Jackson

Great ideas need…

Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings.

– CD Jackson

Ideas are so fun!

Sometimes making them real is less fun.

Landing gear is that frustrating bit where you figure out, decide, and commit to what needs to happen to let your great idea fly (or not crash land in a ball of fire).

When you get those steps laid out (create the landing gear), it feels like most of the work is done!

All that’s left is following the steps (or landing your plan).

pink highlighter checking off to-do boxes with text over the image that says "If something had to give this week, what would it be? Or, does everything that you want to get done this week have to get done? Does that result in frustration because you have important projects or tasks that don't get completed every week? After all, unexpected things come up (good and bad) and things take longer than you thought they would. Which means other things don't get done."

Does everything that you want to get done this week have to get done?

If something had to give this week, what would it be?

Or, does everything that you want to get done this week have to get done?

Does that result in frustration because you have important projects or tasks that don’t get completed every week?

After all, unexpected things come up (good and bad) and things take longer than you thought they would. Which means other things don’t get done.

But how do you prepare for things you can’t plan for?

Let me share a little about how I plan things.

I have a list of tasks to be completed each month (you can read more about it here), and I assign these tasks to a week each month.

For example, I schedule most of my social media a month at a time. So, it doesn’t HAVE to be done until the last week of the month, but if I don’t get to it for some reason, then the first week of the following month won’t have posts until I’m able to get to it.

To prevent this, I schedule creating my social media posts for the third week of the month instead of the last week. This way, if I don’t get to it for some reason, I can do it the following week with few issues.

I called it a “Controlled Failure Point.”

The idea of a controlled failure point is to have points of failure that cause minimal ripple effects. 

In my social media post example, if something needs to give on the third week of the month, that can be it, and the only repercussion is it’s a higher priority task the following week.

It might feel wrong to plan for things to go a bit off the rails, but this is how you prepare for the things you can’t plan for.

You have nothing to lose and sanity to gain.

If you’re wondering what your “Controlled Failure Point” might look like, ask a question in the comments below.