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How to stop procrastinating

It took me a long time to write this post because I kept putting it off (kidding).

Actually, it didn’t take me long to write this, once I decided that I wanted to. And I’m starting to see how that works in other areas of my life too.

As I’ve written about before, I’m a Toastmaster. One of the most basic things you need to do as a Toastmaster is complete a manual of speeches–  10 speeches, each focusing on a different feature (using body language, vocal variety, visual aids, etc).

I’ve been a member since October 2007 ; until April 2009, I had only given FOUR speeches. It wasn’t that I was afraid of giving speeches– it was just that I couldn’t think of a topic, or I couldn’t find time to do it. That’s what I told myself, anyway.

So in mid-May 2009, with one month left in the Toastmasters year (it ends June 30), I decided to finish my basic manual of Toastmasters speeches. If you’re counting, that means I had to do six speeches in two months. But my club only met twice a month, which meant I only had the chance to give four speeches.

So I did something that signaled how serious I was. I e-mailed the president of my club and my mentor. They told me about other clubs where I could speak. I signed up for speech opportunities before I was even quite sure WHAT I was going to speak about.

Pretty crazy, and pretty opposite of what I usually do (I’m a planner).

I’m on track to get those six speeches done by June 30. I’m giving my fourth on Friday (June 5) and then another on June 10 and another on June 24.

So what happened?

I decided to just do it. I didn’t fall back on my old excuses “I need time to prepare,” ” I don’t have a topic,” etc. I just signed up, and took the plunge.

The more I think about this, the more I realize that the key to getting stuff done is to do it. Don’t give yourself time to make excuses. More importantly, tell other people– because once they know, they’ll hold your feet to the fire.

What’s the one thing you’re procrastinating on, and why?


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