I am a procrastinator.

I am also a worrier.

This odd intersection of me putting off what I should be doing today, until tomorrow and stressing about what will happen if I don’t end up doing it tomorrow, puts me in a suspended state.

How to Trick a Procrastinator Into Action

In an effort to avoid stress and the feelings that come along with it, I learned how to trick myself into not procrastinating as much. This is when my form of preparation kicks into full effect. I like lists and writing down my plans. Keeping all of my worrying thoughts out of my head by writing them on paper or in the Notes app on my phone, makes what I have to do clear and more tangible.

Before I start any work day, I sit at my desk and write in my notebook the date and a numbered list of what needs to be or what could be done that day. (Notice I didn’t say “should.”) For me, seeing tasks on paper takes away the looming feeling that I have so much to do, which can sometimes immobilize me into doing nothing at all. It also puts in perspective what needs to be done.

Planning for the End of the Year

As the year winds down, I am in the perfect position to knock out some of my bigger to-dos, while also looking forward to what I hope to accomplish in the upcoming year. November and December can be busy months for all of us. It’s the holiday season, which brings family and friend obligations. Depending on your profession, there is plenty to do for the year-end.

Your upbringing or culture may also dictate what “needs” to be done. I was raised to believe that you shouldn’t enter a new year without a clean home. I try to have all outstanding bills paid by the end of the year. Believing that the way you begin a new year will set the tone for the next 12 months. Whatever year-end means to you, being prepared and carving out time to prepare is key.

Finding Time to Accomplish All Those Plans

No matter what the project or event is, I find that giving myself ample time allows me to prepare best. That means, although I may not start weeks ahead of schedule, I utilize every minute of my 24 hours each day.

I wake up and rise at least an hour earlier. Whether it’s at home before I start the bulkiest part of my day, or arriving at the office early in order to knock out important assignments, I find that early mornings are a great way to jumpstart the day. Also, consider using your normal downtime to sketch out a plan for upcoming projects and ideas you may have. Take advantage of your 30-minute train or bus commute. Set aside one to two hours each evening during the week. A few years ago I discovered the way to maximize the hours in your week is not to save everything until the weekend.

Planning for a Good Season

I love for things to happen organically, but I understand the importance of steering yourself towards where you want to be and how you want to live. Summer is my favorite season, but I am starting to enjoy what the winter’s hibernation brings. I hate cold winters, but instead of moping about it, I make the best of it by preparing my home with scented candles and plenty of fire wood for my fireplace. I tackle new recipes and take up projects like knitting a scarf or creating a vision board. This year I will get great use out of my record player and will play around with making seasonal cocktails.

Instead of hoping it will be a good winter season, I am crafting one for myself. If you remove the thoughts and panic around what you should do and replace it with actions toward where and who you want to be, you might be surprised at how your life can and will evolve.