Background of a hands writing DONE on a pink sticky note with text on top "WHY things don't get done: It doesn't need to be done"

WHY things don’t get done: It doesn’t actually need to be done

Welcome to Part Six, the last in the WHY things don’t get done series. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5)

Last week we talked about making things too complicated.

This week we’re talking about things that don’t actually need to be done.

Have you ever talked with someone and they tell you that you should do this? Or they tell you they know someone else who does what you do, and that person does it this way?

It’s not a bad idea, so you put it on your list.

But it just sits there, looming, frustrating you because it doesn’t get done.

It could be a case of productive procrastination (where you do less important things to procrastinate on the more important things). But another reason it doesn’t get done is it doesn’t actually need to be done.

Just because others do it that way doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for you.

These are usually things you think you should do because everyone does it or offers it. However, these can also be things that someone told you you need to do.

If it’s been more than a couple of months, if it was important to you, you’d have already done it (or started it).

This can also happen for things that don’t align with your business intentions or goals. This doesn’t mean it’s unethical. It means that you might be focusing on attracting new clients, and updating that one page on your website doesn’t align with that intention right now. Basically, it’s not a priority right now and can be added to your “later list.”

So, if something has been on your to-do list for a long time, review it to determine if it’s something that you think you should do or it’s just not a priority for you.

If it is a priority for you, set some time aside to start working on it so that your words match your actions.

If you prefer listening/watching, you can catch this on YouTube or in my free FB group.

Background of laptop and paper notebook with text on top "WHY things don't get done: Constantly reworking"

WHY things don’t get done: Constantly reworking

Welcome to Part 4 in the WHY things don’t get done series. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

Today we’re talking about Constantly Reworking.

This can come in several forms, and we’re going to talk about the main 2:

  1. Productive Procrastination
  2. Perfectionism

Productive Procrastination

Productive procrastination is when you avoid the important things that need to be done, but you get a bunch of other less important tasks done. So it feels really great because you made all this progress, but you didn’t get the really important thing done.

In the context of constantly reworking, it might feel like you ARE doing the most important task, but if you take a step back, you realize you’re doing this project to avoid the projects that will move your business forward.

An example of this is from several years ago when I put a lot of time and effort into reworking and tweaking my website (and some other things). Later, when I took a step back, I realized I was doing this to avoid learning the things that would have really made a difference for my business at the time.

To look out for productive procrastination, ask yourself if you’re constantly reworking something as a way to procrastinate something else.


The second form is perfectionism, where you tweak and adjust and edit something until it’s PERFECT before you declare it done and move on or release it to the world.

I’m reminded of something I heard on a podcast several years ago. He realized that he and his team spent 80% of their time completing the last 20% of a project. They spent a lot of time reworking things after they started marketing. So what would happen is they’d complete the project and get all their marketing created and then spend a lot of time tweaking things after they started marketing it.

Instead, they started promoting and marketing things when it was 80% done. That allowed them to adjust their marketing and the final program or service based on the feedback, questions, and interest (or lack thereof). It saved them time because they weren’t perfecting things that they’d change later, AND they had happier customers. Plus, they spent much less time in perfection mode.

Notice when you’re caught in constantly reworking something. Take a step back and review if it’s something that actually needs to get done, or maybe it’s done enough as it is.

We’re at the end of the first quarter, so this is a great time to take a step back to review and make adjustments for the second quarter.

Next week in the WHY things don’t get done series, we’ll discuss overcomplicating things.

If you prefer listening/watching, you can catch this on YouTube or in my free FB group.

Text on picture of quilt: What situations in your business might resemble this pattern

What situations in your business might resemble this pattern?

There’s this pattern I see in myself and some of my clients.

You’ve had an excellent idea for your business, and you want to make it happen quickly.

After all, this is something that will offer lots of value to your people, and it also promises to result in extra income.

You push the other projects and tasks you had planned for aside and start working on this new thing you’re really motivated about.

But it doesn’t take off the way you expected it to. 

You thought it would be a slam dunk! Instead, you have very few people involved and your other goals, projects, and tasks have taken a hit.

Initially, it looked like you were doing something super productive for your business, even if it was a bit of productive procrastination (head over here for the productive/unproductive procrastination definitions).

Upon reflection, it seems it might have been more of an unproductive procrastination situation.

Next week I’ll share how to avoid it. This week, let’s look at what’s really going on.

If you’ve done this, know that you’re in excellent company.

The reasons I’ve fallen into this pattern are many of the same reasons I’ve seen my clients fall into this pattern.

One reason is I need to learn a new skill in my business (or a new level of that skill) and I cannot figure it out on my own. And rather than finding someone to teach it to me, I come up with a brilliant way that I think might circumvent needing to learn this vital business skill, but it doesn’t work. Now I’m more frustrated because I feel like I’ve wasted a month or more of my time, and I still need to learn that skill.

Another reason is if I’m not getting the interest or engagement I want around something I’m doing. So, instead of looking at what I can adjust or add to have the interest or engagement I want, I do something completely new that I think will result in that interest or engagement. What ends up happening is people are confused about what I’m doing, I still have to promote the new thing (and often I’m doing it the same way I was promoting the other thing), and I end up with even less interest or engagement. Then I’m frustrated and annoyed and feel like I’ve taken five steps backward.

There are lots of other ways this can manifest itself.

The basic formula is:

  1. I want to avoid this thing in my business
  2. I create a distraction that feels exciting and promising
  3. It doesn’t go the way I want
  4. I feel frustrated and further behind
  5. I either repeat the formula OR do the thing I’m avoiding

What situations in your business might resemble this pattern?

Next week I’ll share how to recognize this pattern and put a stop to it.

How can I possibly prioritize?

But everything I need to do is important! How can I possibly prioritize?

How do I easily start keeping track of my to do’s when I haven’t been for a while?

I’ve read both these things over the past week in various places (or versions of them).

Let me share a story about a woman named Anne with you.

She wanted to have a successful business, be involved in organizations she believed in, and spend time with her family.

And she believed that it was super important to be super productive. How much could she get done in a day?!

She worked in her business during the day, attended various committee meetings in the evening, and spent the remaining evenings with her husband.

Anne productively drove herself right into the ground.

She started to dread going out at night to any committee meeting. And anything that needed to be done for those committees? She complained to herself all the way through it. They were cutting into her family and business time! How dare they!

But it was all so important. And they were counting on her. And she secretly felt that no one could do the job as well as she could, so it was important for her to continue – despite how frustrated she was with it all.

And it got to the point where she realized something needed to change.

So, Anne looked at everything she was doing and realized that she wanted to be doing a better job. But her heart wasn’t in it. Slowly, Anne stepped down from various committees and commitments. Keeping only the ones she was most passionate about.

Anne looked forward to the free time that would now appear in her schedule, but it never appeared. She still was super busy and everything was still important.

And she was spending more time procrastinating, and then beating herself up for procrastinating when there was so much to do! And she was so very tired.

Again, she realized something had to change – and she had a strange thought – What if instead of asking, what’s the next thing to do, she asked, what will support my productivity? And when she did that, sometimes she was surprised that the answer wasn’t the next thing on her to-do list, but getting a glass of water, going for a quick walk or meditating.

My point? Sometimes we make it so much more difficult than it has to be. We think we have to do it all and we don’t. And if we try to, we’ll end up frustrated, overworked, and oh-so-tired.

So, a quick answer to the questions we started with:

  1. But everything I need to do is important! How can I possibly prioritize?
    What on your list will bring you income? This includes tasks 2 or 3 steps away from generating income.
    What on your list has to be done in the next 24 to 48 hours?
    Tasks that meet both of those criteria are your highest priority tasks.

  2. How do I easily start keeping track of my to do’s when I haven’t been for a while?
    What are your three most important tasks to complete this week? Write those down.
    At the beginning of each day write down what your most important task is and a task to be completed after that one.
    This will keep you moving forward and making progress.
    And keep a blank piece of paper under your daily list. On that piece of paper write down things that need to be done as they pop into your head. Keep it under your daily list so you’re not looking at a long list of things to do.

These are quick ways to start to get a handle on everything we have to do.

You can watch the Live Stream I did on this topic here.

Looking away by looking toward something else

The last two weeks we’ve looked at “looking away” here and here.

This week the theme continues!

Looking away sometimes looks like looking toward something else.

For example, you want to call that person you met networking earlier this week to set up a coffee meeting next week.

But then you remember these other things that have to be done before next week and you get to work.

Suddenly, it’s too late to make a phone call (I call this productive procrastination).

Did things get done that needed to get done?


Did the phone call happen?


Sometimes we distract ourselves with tasks – with those important to-do’s that simply must get done.

And when we take a step back, take a higher level view, we realize that the phone call probably would have taken under 5 minutes to make (maybe 10 if you prepped for it) and we certainly could have squeezed that time in (after all, how much time did you spend looking at unimportant emails or checking Facebook?).

While this example includes procrastination, looking away by looking toward something else doesn’t always appear that way.

It might be more subtle – reading or jumping into a conversation instead of taking some time to yourself to contemplate or changing the subject when a difficult topic comes up.

What do you find yourself looking towards when you might actually be looking away? Share in the comments below.