Short Term Stalling

Some of the most common forms of short-term stalling include:

  • Opening up Facebook, Instagram or your social media of choice and getting a bit lost in there.
  • Going to the bathroom every two minutes or so.
  • Allowing yourself to take that phone call, or chit chat with a neighbor or maybe even starting up a conversation in the middle of a task.
  • Knocking out 5 other small tasks while you are supposed to be working on one.
  • Cleaning your house.
  • Insert your favorite stalling tactic here...

Stalling contributes to the Parkinson’s Law. Have you heard of it? It’s the old adage that says, “Work expands to fill the time available for it’s completion.” If you give a task a bit too much time to be accomplished you will likely find yourself stalling. This is why so many brilliant people do their best/most efficient work right before the deadline. Because they no longer have time to stall. So, how do we respond?

Quit that task forever.

Whether you are automating by using a system like Dubsado, Honeybook or 17hats or you are hiring a virtual assistant or an in-person assistant it may be time for you to take a few tasks off of your plate. Common tasks to let go of via an automation system are: lead follow-up, on-boarding, invoicing, forms, contracts, client surveys, scheduling appointments, e-mails, etc. Common tasks that a virtual assistant would take on would be e-mail monitoring, bookkeeping, scheduling appointments, blogging, responding to social media comments, pursuing new clients and more. The key is to identify the tasks that don’t need your particular expertise, ask yourself if you could spend more time doing both what you love and what brings in income and then eliminate those tasks wherever possible.

Quit it for right now.

As soon as you recognize that you are stalling, ask yourself if there’s anything else on that day’s to-do list that would feel easier to do right then. Re-direct, knock off the other tasks on your list and then come back to it at a different time. What we often do instead is waste a large chunk of time stalling when we could just be working on something that felt a lot easier and still be making moves on our list. Also, the average attention span is only 90-minutes, if you have found yourself stalling after working for a large chunk of time, I suggest getting up, taking a walk and stretching your legs, start a new focus session when you return.

Eliminate Distractions

Put yourself in the position to not be distracted. So, determine your stalling methods and knock them out before they can become a problem. Use something like the Self Control App to lock you out of social media sites, turn off your phone, get out of the distracting environment you are in, etc.

Change something.

Make a change. Often, all we need to re-focus is just a little shift. Change the music you’re listening to, change seats, go to a new location, write out on paper instead of doing the work on the computer for a minute. Make a small shift to keep your mind engaged and moving forward.

Use Productivity Tools.

The key here is in recognizing the stalling. Once you start to notice the stalling occur you can respond to that. Use common productivity tools to keep that workflow moving forward as soon as you notice the stalling begin. Don’t worry, there’s an entire module all about productivity coming up!


  1. Take note of when you are stalling.
    Go back to that hourly timesheet, give it some more time and take note of when you are stalling and what tasks you are stalling on. I’ll link it below for you again:

  2. Make at least one adjustment.
    If you are stalling regularly on the same task, maybe it’s time to give that task up. If you are stalling regularly at the same time of day, maybe that’s not a good productivity window for you, maybe you should do something for your personal life during that window instead?