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My name is Lindsay Vastola, and I am a self-admitted procrastinator. Anyone else? I go through times of unmatched productivity and accomplishment, tackling the most daunting goals. Then there are times where I can't seem to muster-up the energy and focus to get back on track (sort of sounds like many of our clients when it comes to diet and exercise, doesn't it?). After reading several books, listening to motivational speakers, and working with coaches and cohorts, I've learned that it was important for me to avoid procrastinating is to take all the tips and tricks I've learned from others and find my own methods.

The most negative side-effect of procrastination is not simply that we are not accomplishing our goals; rather it is the mindset that procrastination perpetuates. We create a cycle of negative self-talk and a vicious cycle of inaction. As fitness professionals, I believe we should strive to master getting out of this cycle for ourselves as this is the same toxic mindset that our clients face when battling weight and diet issues. We can share our own tools and tactics that work for us with our clients to help overcome their challenges.

Here are three of the tactics that I have found most effective to avoid procrastination. Focusing on the tasks that have a direct impact on our career, our business and on our clients is what will make us productive at the end of the day, and not just busy.

Tactic #1: Replace your To-Do list with a Productivity Calendar
While we think to-do lists help us maintain our focus, they often end up overwhelming and frustrating us because they never seem to be completed. I have created a "Productivity Calendar" system where I use a large desk calendar to map out my most significant "action items" over the course of the upcoming days, weeks, months, etc. I designate my action items on specific days committed to completing that action item before the day's-end. I don't commit to more than about 3 or 4 meaningful action items that will have a direct impact on my business, goals or clients. I also aim to be realistic in what I commit to accomplishing in one day considering my schedule of clients, meetings and other commitments.

Tactic #2: Recognize your time-suckers
When taking on a task or commitment, ask yourself, "Does this have a direct impact on my goals, my business, my clients ... If the answer is no, delegate it if you can or get rid of it altogether. Time is our most precious asset -- make sure that the 168 hours in your week are purposeful.

Tactic #3: Accept that you may do your best work when you're under the gun
Ever tell yourself that you work better under pressure? (Remember turning out your best college papers the night before they were due?) If you know you work well under the gun, accept it; don't spend precious energy being frustrated by it. Just plan accordingly and plan out some of your key preparation ahead of time so you still feel like you are taking positive action steps toward the ultimate goal.

These are just a few of my most effective strategies; try them out, tweak them or use them to inspire your own system of being most productive. The sense of accomplishment is like no other, it triggers us to accomplish more and find greater success.

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