A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Making Progress Not Excuses

I am an expert procrastinator. It was a skill I picked up when I was young and then honed it to perfection at college. After all, if I can continue to make good grades by procrastinating then why should I do anything differently? I have learned that procrastination does not truly serve you in the real world.

Taking action and making progress is what brings us closer to our goals. Whether our desires are for a decluttered home or finishing a book.

The Planning Paradox

In most cases, it is not a lack of knowledge that keeps us from taking action. You don’t really need someone telling you how to declutter your life. You already know that your junk drawers are full of junk and you closet has clothes in it that are never worn. Maybe you’re like me and you are a planner. I can plan the mess out of some goals. I create thorough To-Do lists and color coded spreadsheets in Excel like nobody’s business. I take planning to a whole new level. My stumbling block comes in when there are so many things planned that I become overwhelmed even before I start.

Ready, Fire, Aim

Maybe your challenge isn’t in over planning. Maybe your challenge is jumping in without a plan and then struggling to find which direction to go. This type of person decides to declutter the whole house all at once or sets a goal of completing a project with no clue of how to get it done. Not having a plan at all can feel like you’re making progress at first, but without direction frustration will quickly set in.

Today is the Day

Claim today as your day to make some progress. If you are a planner, you already know what you need to do. Pick one thing off your list and go do it. If you are a jumper, choose three individual things you want to accomplish today and then start with one of them. In my experience, when a deadline starts getting closer that is when I am motivated to action.

Find an Accountability Partner

Everyone needs encouragement and someone to hold us accountable. Make a point to find someone that can help you with your goals. Share them with a friend or share them here. Support can often come from unexpected places.

My next big goal is finishing my book on Family Sized Minimalism. I did my survey and I have my plan in place, but most of the actual writing is still happening in my head. I am once again at the point of feeling paralyzed by planning. I loved writing The Minimalist Within. It felt great once it was done, but I had the same issues getting the ball rolling with that project as well. This time I’m considering a different route.

So I’m putting myself on a deadline. I plan to launch my Family Minimalism book on March 14th. I’ll need to have the advanced copies ready for affiliates and reviewers by March 1st. So that’s my plan and now you’re all my accountability partners. No more excuses from me–only progress.

So what about you? What’s keeping you from making progress on the goals you have?


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photo by bluntedUK

Article originally published on 02/09/2011

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  1. I am a planner! I plan everything to within an inch of its life. Being prepared for everything is how I’ve gotten myself into this mess (literally!) in the first place.

    • Faith Janes says

      As I planner, I totally know what you mean. The planner in me is what caused me to hang on to too much clutter too….planning for the “just in case” moments. Planning is good but planned action is better.

  2. I ehmm.. maybe could have written that first paragraph myself. I remember nobody wanting to work with me in college, because I left all my work until the very last day. But hey, in defence – I actually managed to get it done that last day and get pretty decent grades. hahaha.

    But you’re right… in real life, procrastination is not a good thing. The worst about it is “that little voice” in the back of your head that keeps telling you you still need to do this or that. The “voice” is a million times worse than doing the actual work, mostly.

    Best wishes from the Netherlands!

  3. I agree with Jurino. That nagging little voice telling you what you should be doing is worse than just doing it.
    I am a planner as well. I can strategize, and create action plans like crazy. And research? I love to research. But implementation? That’s a whole other ballgame.
    I was procrastinating writing my ebook. So I created a challenge on my blog. The challenge will last 8 weeks. The posts and assignments will actually be the framework of the book, so that helps me get going with it. Mine will be coming out around the same time as yours, 1st or 2nd week in March.
    If you want to connect behind the scenes and help keep each other accountable, shoot me an email!
    Being productive in stressful times

    • Faith Janes says

      That’s a good idea to break up your book like that, Bernice. That’s exciting that we’ll be launching around the same time. I’ll send you an email too.

  4. I am excited about your new book. I am in a big family and trying to live a minimalist lifestyle, so it sounds very interesting.

  5. I used to be the queen of procrastination. It was one of the things that contributed to my clutter problem! But like anything, habits can be changed, slowly and consistently.

    It’s interesting about your book. I did the same thing for myself. I set a deadline and then announced it to the world. Knowing that I’d “told” people when it would be ready made me work hard on doing the final edits and getting it out by the deadline. I’m excited about your new book Faith and can’t wait for it to come out!



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