The Blog.

How to get out of doing that thing you really don’t want to do

20 Oct 2011 | Happiness, Personal Productivity

“I know I should be ____, but I keep putting it off”

Fill in the blank. For a client of mine this was writing, specifically writing on her blog.

Yes we can work on procrastination, we can work on motivation, and we can work on confidence.

But hang on, what if you don’t have to?

What if, instead of motivating, cajoling, disciplining yourself to get it done, you can get the same results quicker and easier, or even better, by doing it differently?

First of all – what are the results you want to achieve? What’s the point of this thing you keep putting off? To be honest, if there isn’t enough of a point then I recommend you take great satisfaction in crossing it off your list! There’s no point wasting mental energy worrying about something that serves no purpose.

Still with me? Ok, let’s look at how we can do things differently.

1. How can you use a different format to get the same result?

Taking my client’s example, if her desired result is to give her audience valuable information and build her credibility, who’s to say has to do this in writing? Just because most blogs are written? What about podcasts and videos? Or even just pictures!

2. Consider your role – Do you have to be the one who does it? Can you delegate it or collaborate? For example, get someone else to write a guest post for your blog. Or, if you prefer talking, record it and get it transcribed.

Can you be the guide rather than the author? The person who finds the best information and points people in the right direction? The tourist information office doesn’t do tours, hotels or attractions – it serves people by signposting them to what’s available. In blogging you could reference another post and add your own commentary (like this one here), or provide a roundup of the best articles you’ve found on a particular topic.

3. Can you do it in a different style?

Instead of trying to fit in with ‘the way things have always been done’ maybe you can do something different? It won’t appeal to everyone, but it will stand out. Be distinctive rather than ‘beige’ as my friend Marianne Cantwell would put it.

Maybe instead of long and comprehensive, you write short and snappy, like Seth Godin’s Poke the Box

Maybe you’re lively, creative and a real health & safety geek. What if you could use your personality to your advantage. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would really welcome a fun and engaging approach to health and safety!

Maybe you’re a spontaneous, chaotic teacher who’s trying desperately to be a planner. How might you use your strengths rather than hide them, to engage and educate your students?

Instead of settling for a ‘should do’ or ‘must do’ that bores you to tears, find what gets you fired up and apply that to what you want to achieve.

Play to your strengths. Defy labels. Do it differently. Do it your way.

So, what’s been lurking at the bottom of your to-do list, that you keep putting off? How can you do things differently, and get the results that you want, in a way that you love?

Love to hear what you think – let’s talk about it in the comments box below!


  1. Naomi

    I need to do more delegation but fimd it difficult. That is the thing I need to do and stop putting it off.

    • Grace Marshall

      Thanks for sharing Naomi. What is it about delegation you are finding difficult? How could you make it easier?

    • Grace Marshall

      Thank you! What are you inspired to do differently?

  2. Libby Hill

    Sensible advice as usual Grace!

  3. Jen Stanbrook

    I love this post Grace. Too often we are trapped in the mindset of ‘there’s no other way’ and it’s very refreshing to hear someone saying, there is another way! As we used to say in my IT company – ‘let’s think outside the box’ !!

    • Grace Marshall

      Absolutely Jen. Once we start pointing our minds in the direction of looking for another way, we find they can be quite resourceful and creative! Thanks for stopping by to comment 🙂

  4. Judith

    Doing things differently also brings new energy with it! Great blog!

    • Grace Marshall

      Thanks Judith! You’re right, doing things differently is a great way of injecting fresh energy. 

  5. Anonymous

    Great blog, this really hits the mark! I always ask the question when this is happening because I feel generally my subconscious brain knows better than my ‘will’!

    • Grace Marshall

      Amazing how resourceful our subconscious is, especially when we point it in a helpful direction! Thanks Judith, appreciate your comment!

  6. Anonymous

    Great post. I love the thought process

    • Grace Marshall

      Thanks Lianne. Enjoy playing with the process – and let me know how you get on!

Image if author Grace Marshall

About Grace

I coach, train, write and speak on productivity. I help people adopt new ways of working and thinking about their work to replace stress, overwhelm and frustration with success, sanity and satisfaction.

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