It’s not the change you’re procrastinating…it’s the decision

I talked for months about changing my office to make it a more focused place before I found the key that propelled me into action. Guess what that was?

I had to decide which wall in my living room I wanted to paint.

Sounds crazy, I know. Here’s how it played out.

I had bookshelves in my office. They were my view when I sat behind the desk. I’d look up from writing and see JK Rowling, Terry Pratchett, and JRR Tolkein all staring back at me. Like I need the pressure. Not helpful, dear role models. 

Books can be really loud possessions.

And then there was the desk. The desk had been my husband’s and it was…well, enormous. It begged me to make piles and make sure it got covered in papers and books and stuff. Even when the surface was clear, there was so much of it that I couldn’t even imagine how to rearrange the room because all I could see was DESK.

how do I rearrange this room?

I spent months “thinking” or “considering” how to change my office. I was “too busy” to spend a lot of time on it. I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on furniture. I didn’t want to start moving things around and make a mess until I had a plan. I should go look on Pinterest for even more ideas…

Round and round on the carousel-of-inaction I went. It felt busy in my head, but nothing was happening.

Then one day, I snapped.

I realized I was never going to decide how to change my office until that desk was out of there and I could see a blank space. So I started walking backwards through the steps I’d need to do to make that happen to find a place to start:

  • To move the desk I had to move the bookcases.
  • To move the bookcases I had to empty the bookshelves.
  • I wanted the books to go into the living room.
  • To put the books in the living room I had to move the living room bookshelves around.
  • I also wanted to paint one of the walls in the living room. I would have to move the bookshelves away from whichever wall I painted, and I only wanted to do that once.
  • So I had to decide which wall and what color in order to get started.

Once I got to that point, it was easy to get moving. We already had paint in a color I loved. So all I had to do was get my family in that room and ask “this wall or that one?” We picked the wall, and within a couple of weeks I had a reorganized living room AND office.

changing it up is a good thing

What’s really holding you back is the decision you haven’t yet made. (click to tweet this)

The decision might be something simple and concrete, like mine was about the living room wall.

The decision might be that it’s OK to take just a tiny step and do nothing more. Kel talked about this (on the Dao of Doing) when she was stalled on her octopus mural. She had to decide that it was OK if one day, her only action would be to get on her hands and knees in the garage and find the paint she needed. Until she made that decision, she kept waiting for “enough” time.

The decision might be about what you really want or need. It’s easier to go through your books once you’ve decided that you’ll only keep the ones you love AND will read again. Until you’ve made that decision, you keep getting hung up on your love for books and what they meant once upon a time.

The decision might even be that this thing isn’t something you want to do anymore.

Once you realize that it’s not the project or change you’re delaying but a decision, you can stop beating yourself up over procrastinating, and start looking for the decision you need to make to get into motion.

Take Action

Think of a project or change you’ve been putting off. What decision haven’t you made yet? 

Even just identifying the decision to be made will get you closer to where you want to be! Let’s help each other out–share what you figured out in the comments.


Tracy Richardson

I'm a writer, jewelry artist, web designer, and homeschooling mother of two. My mission? To help people create spaces for their stories and truths.

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6 Responses to It’s not the change you’re procrastinating…it’s the decision

  1. Once again, you have nailed it!

    “The decision might be about what you really want or need. It’s easier to go through your books once you’ve decided that you’ll only keep the ones you love AND will read again. Until you’ve made that decision, you keep getting hung up on your love for books and what they meant once upon a time.”

    Ever since I did my big clean/declutter/move in the spare bedrooms last month, I have been debating whether to get rid of a certain author’s books that I have collected over the years. I love his writing and I’ve read all the books, but I really really doubt that I am ever going to read them again. I’ve had some over ten years and not reread once, whereas I’ve read the complete Outlander series three times in those ten years. Something tells me I can get rid of those books safely, which will make room for those few left stacked on top of the bookcase!

    Thank you, Tracy!

    • Tracy Richardson says:

      You’re welcome! Books are a big struggle for me too…and to complicate matters, we HAVE the space and both my husband and I like the look of a library! But that doesn’t mean I have to keep them all. So I really needed some rule of thumb to help me get over the debate!

      I’ve been playing with this “revelation” for the past month or so, and I keep finding it to be true, whether it’s about something I believe (I can choose NOT to anymore, it turns out!) or about my stuff.

    • Nin-Carol says:

      But, but, but, I’ve only recently started to reread books. For years I insisted there were too many new books I wanted to read to reread old favorites. But now, sometimes, I need the comfort and familiarity. So if I’d gotten rid of them all before, where would I be now?

      Now that I’ve shared my whine, the true of the matter is that I’m doing the same thing you are. I am getting rid of books I know I won’t reread – and even a few that I haven’t read for the first time. I have a pretty good idea which ones I might reread and which ones I never will.

      That being said, I’m stalled in rereading the Outlander series because I just don’t know if I can read the Stephen Bonnet stuff again…

      • Kel Wilson says:

        One of the things I did was to look up some books at my library. Many, many, MANY books I was holding on to are super easy to pick up at almost any library. Now, if you like having a wall of books or a library then by all means keep the books. But if your keeping them to read one day, maybe you can by just borrowing it from the library?

        One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my decluttering this year is to TRUST. Trust that if you want something again it will be easy to have again. Trust that you can find it, that it will cross your path again. Lots of not letting go is is not trusting the future.

        Just throwing that out there. 😉
        With Love,

      • Tracy Richardson says:

        You know what the best part of rereading books is? You can SKIP the stuff you didn’t like the first time around. Like, Stephen Bonnet. (I’m with you on that.)


  2. Nin-Carol says:

    I had to come back and tell you what I had to decide about. Thursday evening I was in a mood and nothing suited me. I couldn’t even figure out what I wanted to do. So, while I was trying to figure that out, I got out a small quilt top that only needed borders and it would be ready to quilt. I’ve been auditioning fabric for that for months, literally. So, inspired by your post, I just added the first one, which I had decided on, and then just went to my stash and pulled out something else which would work. Next morning I layered it while talking to my son on the phone and tomorrow I plan to start quilting it.

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