Procrastination, Part III – Determining that Most Essential Task

Questions to Ask to Avoid Procrastination

In the first blog on procrastination, I identified three possible reasons why people might choose not to do the most essential task in favor of a less essential task. (

The first reason was:

Sometimes we don’t clearly see which is the most essential task.

Everyday, we make choices about what to work on.  There are a number of ways to find the most essential task. Underlying all of them will be learning to be more conscious and purposeful about what you are choosing to do.

ChoosingIdentifying the most essential task is a challenge for many people. There is a concept called Pareto’s principle that says 80% of your results are generated by 20% of the actions you take. The key is to determine which of your actions are part of those 20% that will make the biggest difference in your day. (See for my blog on Pareto’s principle.)

Once way to approach this is, before you begin that next task, ask yourself certain questions in order to consciously choose what to work on next. You might ask:

• What impact will this have on the rest of my day?
• Is this really important to me; or is it more important to someone else? (This will help you see if you are getting drawn into someone else’s agenda.)
• Am I doing (or avoiding) this task because of how I feel about it. (You’d be amazed how often we choose to do or not do things because we want to or don’t want to, rather than what task is in fact the most essential.)
• Who can I talk to who will help me to determine the most essential task at this time?

Other questions that you ask yourself? How do you determine which task is most essential? What gets in the way of your making that determination? Comment below.


Sacramento attorneys:  Have you bought your copy of Coaching for Attorneys: Improving Productivity and Achieving Balance yet?!  And perhaps more importantly, have you been reading it?  I am going to offer a Sacramento group coaching book study on the accountability and time management chapters of the book.  It will consist of six book study coaching discussions on these chapters.  This will be a great way for you to start reading that book with other attorneys and also a great way to start to really learn and internalize the material!  There is a huge difference between reading a book yourself and studying it with others.  And the coaching element will help you really start applying it to your practice!  Email me – – to learn more about it!

About the Author

Picture of Cami McLaren

Cami McLaren

is the owner of McLaren Coaching. She has been coaching professionals and leaders since early 2008. She runs Transformative Coaching Essentials, a coach training program that produces first rate Professional Coaches and "Coach-Style Leaders." She coaches individually and works with organizations to improve communication, time management, productivity and ultimately bring greater results.

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