Bad Habits Die Hard

I recently caught myself falling back into a bad habit that I thought I had broken.

Can you relate? Do you have bad habits you think you’re done with, only to have them creep back into your life?

The bad habit I struggled with was getting myself so busy that I didn’t have time to be creative.

Here’s what that looks like:

It looks like you continue to add things to your to-do list, so that no matter how many things you check off the list, it just keeps getting longer and longer.

You know, you get what you think about, not what you want. When you’re focused on how busy you are, you will just get busier and busier.  That’s the bad habit I’m working on, and I guess you have it, too.

I already know that you are a high-achieving person, or else you wouldn’t be on this list.  So you’re probably thinking, how can being busy and checking things off my to-do list be a bad thing?

Being busy is a bad habit when you use it to procrastinate.

If you’re starting a new business and still working a “day job,” it is really easy to book your to-do list with predictable, repetitive tasks that keep you in your comfort zone.

It’s also totally socially acceptable to not make productive life changes because you’re “too busy.”

But is that the real reason?  Or are you just in the (bad) habit of doing things for everyone else, meeting other people’s needs before your own, and putting your dreams on hold.

New businesses thrive on creativity. You need to be available to get inspired.  You could get a brainstorm about someone to contact or exactly what to write on your next social media post or a social event to attend.  But you can’t get inspired to do any of those things if you’ve let yourself be governed by an impossible to-do list.

The habit of getting too busy is a coping strategy that you can easily fall into when you are unsure of what to do next.  You might have the feeling that it’s better to be doing something, even if it isn’t something you really want to do, rather than face the uncertainty of trying to figure out what to do next for your business.

Neither you nor your business thrive when you do things that are busy but not productive.

The key is productive action. Not just action to stay busy.

That’s the bad habit I noticed myself falling back on.

I have a deadline coming up. I’m a little uncertain of the next steps for my project.  Suddenly, I found myself adding things to my to-do list that really didn’t need to be done.  The more confused I got about my project, the more imperative it became that I bake banana bread, finish the laundry, train the new puppy, run to the grocery store and scour the sink.

I was booking up my to-do list to avoid being still. I was afraid that if I started to think about the project, I wouldn’t get any ideas. By staying busy, I had an excuse for the failure that I hadn’t even experienced yet.

Of course, by preemptively rationalizing the failure, I was subconsciously setting myself up for it.

I thought I was over this, but apparently I have more work to do.  When I started my first business, I was the queen of procrastination!  I got myself super busy and the truth is most of what I was busy doing didn’t have anything to do with starting my business.

I let my back get up against the wall, and then I had no choice but to figure out a plan to get things going, which meant only doing the things that were going to move me forward.

If you find yourself falling into the same trap of staying busy just for the sake of doing something, even if it’s not productive, stop.

What you need is a step-by-step approach to the project your working on, which is starting your business.

The uncertainty is what’s keeping you from being productive, but a program of specific tasks will add things to your to-do list that will move the needle and keep you from feeling like you have to overbook yourself to make up for not doing the things you know you really should be doing.

When you have a blueprint, you can be more creative and available to great ideas. You gain the confidence to know exactly what to do so that you don’t waste a lot of time with unnecessary things.

If you’re in this boat, I urge you to reply to this email.  I have specifically created my 1:1 coaching plan to give you a blueprint so that your to-do list is filled only with the things that will get your business off the ground.  Let me help you break the busy habit and do what you really want!!

About the author

Dr. Judy Morley has been described as a “human potential specialist.” Her years of experience in different arenas varies from being an advertising executive to a college professor to an executive to an entrepreneur and franchise owner.  Each of these positions has given her great insight into helping people find their authentic style of leadership.