Cut the Excuses Already

Today I am swamped. Completely and totally overwhelmed with the workload I have waiting on my to-do list. I actually have deadlines (looming & rare) that are stressing me out. On top of that I have too many creative juices flowing leaving me distracted & unproductive.

I am a major procrastinator. It shows in all of my last minute hand-drawn birthday cards and my chicken scratch to-do lists furiously scribbled out in an attempt to accomplish everything 5 minutes before it needed to be done. I haven’t always been this way. I used to be somewhat punctual & ahead of schedule. I was often encouraged to “let loose” & “go with the flow”. I took that way too seriously & now often find myself at least 15 minutes late to everything (much to husband’s dismay). My dad used to rush us out of the house on a regular basis and it drove me crazy that no matter where we were going we were ALWAYS late. I always swore to myself that I would never be that way when I was older. I would be punctual, ready, and whenever I could, I’d be early. Instead, I’ve taken after my mom and I wait until the last possible second to get dressed, start a project or leave the house.

As a business owner & creative I can often attribute my lateness to “clients”, “ideas” or “a song I had to write THEN.” These excuses have lead me into a bad habit of shoddy last-minute work & mastering the excuse. Relate?

Excuses. They drive me crazy, yet I am sometimes the worst offender. Rather than fess up to the fact that I stayed up late watching the Kardashians or just laid in bed for 3 hours being lazy and scrolling on IG, I come up with a million excuses as to why I didn’t do what I was supposed to do, when I was supposed to do it. I wouldn’t necessarily call it lying, because truth be told, sometimes we just need to relax, let loose & rest- life wouldn’t be bearable without it. But there’s also a thing called priorities that need to be set straight and in their place.

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Instead of worrying about what dress Kim K wore to the Met Gala, I need to be worried about if my client’s content calendar is set for the week. Instead of thinking about how my feed is constantly looking, I need to be watching the clock and leaving my house on time to get to a meeting.

Excuses stem from a lack of preparation and consideration. They stem from selfishness and the inability to prioritize your time and the truth. The truth was, you weren’t just running late because traffic was bad, you were running late because you didn’t give yourself enough time to deal with the traffic that you knew was going to be present. I have worked with people who are constantly shelling out excuses. It’s annoying as heck. You eventually notice the pattern and see right through it. They never accomplish anything productive. They are often not considerate of your time and they often struggle to value your worth.

Looking at those people, I would never want to be them, yet I find myself becoming them. So what do we do to stop the bad habit of making excuses? How can we boost our productivity?

1. Identify the source of your most common excuses. Pay attention to the FIRST thing you say when you’re explaining why you’re late or why something isn’t done. What excuse do you give? What were you doing that caused you not to do what you needed to?

2. Eliminate, decrease or re-assign the problem/excuse. Netflix causing you to not accomplish your work? Cut it out for a month, pay attention to how much your productivity increases. (That means delete the app or cancel the service so that there is ZERO temptation). Constantly running late? Set a timer that alerts you to leave ten minutes earlier than you need to. Be intentional about getting there early so that you will be there on time. (This is a bad one for me.) Are your kids making it impossible for you to get the stuff done that you desperately need to do? Reassign your Starbucks budget for two weeks to pay a babysitter and get your crap done.

3. Focus on telling the truth when you are late or you do mess up. People see right through excuses, so cut them out. If you don’t get something done or you are late, tell the person WHY. It will help keep you accountable to your goals & it will “ping” that feeling in your gut the next time you need to do something. (Telling the truth is not always comfortable).

Next time you go to tell your life or business coach or boss or teacher or whatever you’ve got, that you didn’t do your work because your sister’s cat died and she needed to talk and then your child spilled all of his food & that’s why you didn’t do your work… split it up over a couple of days and start doing it as soon as you get it, so you get it done. When you procrastinate and wait until the last day, you probably won’t get your work done. So stop waiting. Stop procrastinating and stop giving BS excuses for why you can’t do something.

So yes, I started this blog post with an excuse that I could very well use if I wanted to, as to why I didn’t get something done, but instead, I’m going to hit post & go tackle my to do list. How can you change your productivity & cut out excuses?

Until next time,

Xo- Ry