My 3-step procrastination rescue ritual

Do you need a procrastination rescue ritual?

What I’d like to be doing…

We’re getting ready to pack up our home and move halfway across the country in a little over 2 weeks, and I have to say… this move is nothing like what I expected it to be.

I expected it to be fun, and it is. It’s fun preparing, daydreaming, and catching up with friends (even if it is to say goodbye).

I expected it to be stressful, and it is. All the packing, decluttering, cleaning, preparing…

To be honest, I’m finding myself a little overwhelmed at times, especially when you add in the anxiety I feel when I realize that I’m going to a completely new place, far away from the family and friends I made in this completely new place.

It’s like a part of me is going “What the hell are you doing, Laura? You already moved away from your family and friends once, why would you do it again?” Because my heart calls me to, and that’s just the end of discussion.

But the speed of it all has taken me by surprise. One moment we had “plenty of time” until the move, the next I’m freaking out because there are 2 weeks left and I just don’t feel ready and there is still so much stuff to do.

This has led to a lot of busy procrastination. I haven’t given myself a lot of self-care time, so my body is taking it itself.

Here’s what my busy procrastination looks like:

  • Pretending to work while playing computer games or watching TV shows, thus making the work take hours because I keep getting sucked into the game or TV show (Gilmore Girls, anyone?)
  • Starting to work on something, then remembering something else that’s more urgent, dropping that midway to hop onto something else… only to finally return to the first task a couple hours later, exhausted, and just call it a day
  • Cleaning up things that don’t really need to be cleaned up (like the tabs on my browser) to avoid cleaning up things that do (like going through my filing cabinet to declutter and organize it)
  • Eating a big meal before my scheduled workout thus becoming “too full to do anything” and skipping it (yeah, I’m totally going to be able to help my husband carry our furniture!)
  • Getting a surge of energy at night, realizing all of the things I haven’t done for the day, and asking myself why I didn’t do them when I had the chance, then waking up the next morning having forgotten all about it

This kept happening and I kept brushing it off, until one day I realized I had to do something about it to avoid some serious hustling and exhaustion (and self-blame) right before the move.

Since I know that self-imposed schedules don’t do squat for me (my brain/body is great at cheating its way out of things, see several examples above), I combined my usual “time block” system (I’m going to write more about that in an upcoming post) with a… rescue ritual!

My rescue ritual

What’s a rescue ritual, anyway?

Put simply, a rescue ritual is a way to pull yourself out of whatever black hole you have fallen into. I created this rescue ritual to keep me away from this busy procrastination, but it can be used with any kind of shitty feeling bad mojo.

There are certain thoughts and actions I recognize when I start straying from doing what needs to be done. Once I see what’s going on, I start the rescue ritual:

1. Check in

The first thing I do is ask myself “What do you need?” Oftentimes I’ve overexerted myself and I just need a break. So I’ll go bust out my guitar for a silly song or watch something that makes me laugh. Or I’ll take a relaxing bath or do something a little less demanding for a while.

Listen to your body and be creative in the solutions you offer it.

Time: ranging from 1 minute (if I realize that I need centering or motivation) to 10-15 minutes or more, depending on how much time I have available.

2. Center yourself

If there’s nothing I need, or if taking a break hasn’t helped, I meditate for a bit. It always helps me center myself and refocus on what’s really important.

Even a couple of minutes of quiet mindfulness can work wonders on a busy, rebellious, procrastinating mind.

Time: ranging from 2-3 minutes to 10-15 minutes or more depending on how much time I can spare and how quickly I manage to center myself.

3. Re-motivate

I wholeheartedly second that Zig Ziglar quote, and would like to add “…and whenever you need it most.”

I remind myself of my goals, tasks, and dreams every day to keep myself motivated. But it doesn’t help me much if I forget them a few hours later when I’m ready to throw in the towel and have forgotten all about my precious motivation. That’s why I re-motivate myself as part of my rescue ritual whenever I go down the rabbit hole of procrastination.

This doesn’t have to take long – a simple visualization exercise will do. It’s all about remembering what I want my life to look like and why I want it to be that way.

Time: ranging from 2-3 minutes to 5-10 minutes, depending on how quickly I get my spirits back up.

Your rescue ritual

There you go! That’s my quick procrastination rescue ritual. What do you want yours to be?

Think about what your typical actions and thoughts are that will let you know you need to initiate the rescue ritual. Then create a series of quick actions that can set you back on track, and commit to giving it a try! It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time, you can always think of ways to improve it later down the road.

After applying it for a while, you’ll have an intuitive, reliable way to snap yourself right out of procrastination.

What’s your new rescue ritual? Share it in the comments!



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  1. This is great Laura! I never really thought of my process as a ritual before but now that you frame it like this, it makes sense! I had a particular bad case of procrastination last week because I’ve found myself with a light schedule for a couple of weeks! Recentering and having a break works wonders indeed. I will definitely be adding re-motivate to the ritual! Didn’t even think to try that! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I think my ritual is similar to yours. When I realize I’m in a hole, I stop, breathe and sort out why I’m procrastinating (usually it’s out of some sort of fear or I haven’t been sleeping/eating well and my energy’s off). Then I have 3 signs near my desk that serve as a kick in the butt – one reads “feeling lazy?”, the second is “feeling scared?”, and the last is “feeling not good enough?”. Each one has a motivational quote and a goal that I want to accomplish but can’t if I don’t work through feeling lazy, scared, and unworthy. A few minutes of focusing on one of those usually gets me going again.

  3. Love this! I completely agree with meditation – it’s always a part of my rescue ritual! It’s amazing how meditation can refocus you on what matters most…it cures my my mushy “TV brain” when I’ve been procrastinating too long! My own personal rescue ritual is centered around the thought that “Every moment is a new opportunity”. I find myself feeling super guilty when I procrastinate, and sometimes it’s easy to say “Oh, I’ll start over and ‘be good’ tomorrow.” No! Every moment is a new beginning or a time to start over and get on track. Even if I only work on a project for 30 minutes (rather than the hour I had planned), that’s better than nothing. And I end up feeling A LOT better that I was able to get back on schedule. Thanks for sharing!!


  4. Very interesting story. I also want to add more my opinion that is, I also have time must decide to live at other place there are many things I need to do if I choose that and I feel many things with uncomfortable. But when we discuss about most important things we need to change something and it is necessary with our. So we choose change where we live to another place. When everything done, all of things make we feel procrastination or feel of uncomfortable only exist with short time. Right now I feel comfortable with place I am living. So I learned from that include 2 things to follow: most important reason to change and feeling uncomfortable that make procrastination only exist short time when we decide do it immediately.

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