5 Reasons You Aren’t Getting Things Done

Are there items on your “to-do” list that you just can't seem to get to? Despite having a good system, are you NOT “getting things done”?

There are 5 reasons you may be having trouble reaching “to do list zero” – and none of these reasons have anything to do with your time management system.

This week's video explains these 5 obstacles to getting things done, and how to overcome each of them.

Do any of these 5 obstacles ring true for you? If so, how did you (or how are you going to) overcome the problem?

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.

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  • I get discouraged and start to panic when (1) family responsibilities pile up and demand attention (2) I give those attention which (3) gets me behind. Playing catch-up requires late hours and a positive attitude which is characterized by a heart that is thankful.

    Hey, I am not throwing boxes and bricks in the middle of the night anymore!! I can be grateful for the long hours and the pressure…it’s better than the pressure of no money.

  • Man…you give great insight into producing greater results in life and business. Thanks. I consider you one of my business mentors.

  • Due to label filters in Nozbe I’m getting things done quite efficiently. 🙂

  • Thanks Ray, as always: great insights.

    One that bothers me and may be a mix of some of the reasons you mentioned is that certain (vital) tasks bore me such as admin, taxes, etc … and at any one time I have exciting projects that I thoroughly enjoy doing.

    So the former constantly get put off in favor of the latter. Then I hustle to get the boring stuff done before I do serious damage. It is a kind of pressure I bring onto myself but one that seems to outweigh getting the boring stuff done in a timnely manner.

  • Ohmygosh! So good, Ray! Thank you!!! As you listed each one, I thought, hm, yes, I can see where I can fine tune that area. And then you stated number five and… ah yes! this is where I need to grow the most!! Thank you for your encouragement and grace in the “I give you permission to goof it up.” I need to hear that.

    Richest blessings,

  • Kim

    Hi, Ray! Thanks so much for your encouragement! I’m developing eCourses to go along with my blog, and I’ve been stuck for a couple of weeks on producing the next lesson. EVERYTHING was getting in the way of making videos good enough to use. I listen to your podcasts and watch every smidgeon of video you put out, and each one encourages me to move forward. Yesterday, I devoted the entire day to videoing the next lesson for my course – the one that had hung me up for two weeks – the one for which I’d deleted several videos. Yesterday morning, I committed to using whatever came from yesterday’s time alotment. Today, Lesson Three will come alive! And, yes, there will be errors. That only shows we’re human, right? Nothing is perfect, and nothing will get done if we always avoid a little imperfection along the way. Thanks again!

  • Thank you Ray! I’ve been getting a lot of good from these videos and along with the podcast, your teaching has become one of my top sources of learning. Delegation is a constant challenge for me and everyday is one in which I am challenged with a task list that grows and grows. Even though I do get important items accomplished, I am always way too far behind. I’m going to be 60 years old this year and I know how critical it is for our business to pass on many of the tasks that I do to ensure that our business can continue. You recently said on a podcast that if you keep doing all of the work you are a “business operator” and not a “business owner”. That really hit home for me. Thanks for the good info and teaching!

  • Ray: Courage. Courage. I’m a perfectionist. I think I’m a recovering perfectionist but it’s a struggle. Like Stephen Pressfield’s, “resistance,” the fear never sleeps and there’s always something else to do or a reason NOT to do what I know needs to be done. I’ m 66, had two great careers, working on a retirement career as a professional speaker but stumbling along, mostly because of courage. Also, the fact that we’re doing fine financially without it.
    Thanks for the reminder! Forward!

  • Wow! This is super valuable! Thank you for making this video 🙂

  • Steve Gardner

    Excellent concise analysis and encouraging suggestions for solutions. Thank you!

  • Hi Ray,
    Well, that was the best start to my day all week! Please never, ever edit out the mistakes, those were the “warm and fuzzy” parts that made me smile right along with you, by golly 🙂 And yes, I’m guilty as charged on a couple of those points, thanks for the gentle reminder today. As always, you rock! – Ann

  • Hi Ray,
    Great video! Loved your energy and authenticity. You provided great and simple examples we could all relate to, and decide where & how we can take improved action.

  • Kay Powell

    Thank you, Ray! Defining the problem helps define the solution. I appreciate you!!!

  • Thank you Ray. I needed this today to help me move forward on growing my consulting business, teaching entrepreneurs how to get in front of prospects, searching online, who are looking for their products or services, and it has!

  • Ray, thank you for the insightful video. I definitely “saw” myself. Sometimes, my To Do List is too long and I’m working on that one. I’ve also given myself permission to move 1-2 items to the next day, if they’re not Urgent.

    Then, I can relish the satisfaction I feel from all the other things I DID accomplish that particular day. Adopting this attitude shift has resulted in More energy rather than less. Thanks again!

  • I find that some things I procrastinate on, the things I enjoy most always get done first. I find sales difficult, so that is probably the last thing I will do. And you are correct, it is finding the courage to push through it. It’s realizing that even if you mess up, it’s okay. And most usually, once I’ve done it I’ve learned it wasn’t so bad after all. Thank you for your insight, it is so helpful to hear confirmation.

  • Jodie

    Thanks Ray, all of the above, starting with #5 and working backwards! Appreciate your insight into the actual question I woke up with today and permission to just go forward”

  • Ian

    Great i actually spend a lot of time learning and it draining what i need most so i am kinda going to have to be more scares to get it done. See Michael Hyatt.com on his blog this is your life has some great stuff on time management. Together with your tips and get it done.

  • Mary

    Enjoyed your tips and encouragement. Thank you!

  • Thanks, Ray.
    You gave me the permission I needed to outsource and leave the part(s) I don’t like to someone who is excellent at them. I probably didn’t like them because I’m lousy at them and know it somewhere deep inside. The log jam has been unstuck and I’ve gotten a lot accomplished today ~ stuff I’ve been messing with for several weeks. All done! Now I am free to focus on the things I love to do and am good at doing!

    I have so many lists and organizational tools there’s no way I couldn’t know what to do next.
    I’m a good learner, have pretty good technical skills and access to people who can do what I can’t.
    I even know WHY I want to do the things I’m not getting to…though sometimes I don’t feel as emotionally connected to it as I want.
    BUT I still allow myself to get overwhelmed and anxious — I don’t even know about what (Failure? success? who knows? and ultimately, who cares?!) to the point that I fritter away a lot of time doing really unimportant stuff instead of what I know matters. It makes me so mad at myself. 🙁 Of course, that doesn’t really help either . SIGH.
    Thanks for the permission to goof up. I’ll try to remember I have it!

  • Charles

    Perceptive, accurate, encouraging. Thanks.

    Add to “lack of courage”, the lack of courage to choose between various alternative presentations on a subject; perhaps that is perfectionism? I over-research and then get petrified about how to start and what to leave out.

  • One of THE BEST videos I’ve watched in a long time! So encouraging! Thank you for sharing, Kevin Puls!

  • I am able to create all I offer even when it’s not perfect. To me taking steps to imperfect action always moves me forward. That said the hardest thing I ever did was write and launch my memoir Frock Off: Living Undisguised and you are correct in that once I sourced the flow editor I was well on my way. THANK goodness I did that … because it is the basis of everything to do! Today as I move forward accomplishing whether perfect or imperfect I am moving. Knowing my WHY has made all that possible! Thanks for the great reminder.

  • All of the above have been sticking points, however slowly overcome each by simply understanding it’s a journey and each step matters whether it’s a slip, stumble, fall or even a victory. Just be willing to take steps.

    Irony is, as Ray has shares about faith. All may share is when being focused, visually believing, even when stuck the universe has an uncanny way of reaching down and helping you. It’s hard to put into words however opportunity sought reveals itself as the journey continues.

    Truly believe, when they self be true to ultimate rights of goodness for all with purpose that an invisible helping hand is there to guide one through the darkest hours and slowly lead oneself to accomplishing their dreams.

    Being stuck is universal, it’s a natural defense mechanism from having to think, no excuse, no matter how daunting. Just take those small steps and watch the mystery of desired results slowly take hold.

  • Ray,

    Thanks. It helps to have someone voice these reasons even though we subconsciously ignore them.

    Another reason people (particularly me) aren’t getting things done is because we believe the solution won’t give us a quick result.

    So, we probably need to accept that some solutions work over time. Maybe the result we want to achieve requires us to do something consistently in order to make it work. For example, exercising for one day will not help you lose 50 pounds. But consistent dieting and exercise over 6 months probably will.

    It’s hard, I know. But we’ve got to remember: not every result comes as quickly as a search on the Internet. Some things take time to do in order to see results way way, in the future.

  • Abigail Hatch

    Loved the video. Thank you so much!
    I’m working on my doctoral dissertation and definitely experienced reason #3 this week. After watching the video I sat down with my project journal and brainstormed a little to get clearer and more specific on my next step. So helpful!
    I’m saving the list for future reference! 🙂 Thanks again.

  • Thanks Ray. I have been working on massage training program for a long time and have had to convert from live teaching to on-line teaching. It is the courage to not be “perfect” the first time that holds me back. After trying for over 20 years to sort information, try new things out, and write about the successes and failures, I think I have lost my WHY. When you don’t know “why” you are doing something anymore, nothing gets done.
    I’m going to work on this today and reorganize my priorities.

  • matt

    You’re lighting it up with these videos, Ray. Another big value bomb with these 5 reasons – like how you made it so easy to remember so each of us can think through these 5 whenever procrastination hits.

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  • Great video!! Unfortunately I see myself in every single one of your reasons 🙁
    As I am a budding entrepreneur and a newbie copywriter, I figured I would be lacking in some areas.
    Thanks for the words of encouragement and permission to make mistakes!!

    God bless!

  • Thank you so much for the words of wisdom…. I actually want to create videos but need to find someone willing. I own an aromatherapy company and want to get the word out on how so many people can truly benefit from healing products made with essential oils and I want to simply have fun putting out these videos that can help people feel healthier. I know I got to get to it sooner or later. Thanks for the great advice!

  • Thanks for this insightful video. As a sales performance company, we often see our clients struggling with assigning tasks and putting the responsibility on us. Certainly, a founder or entrepreneur knows his/her business best, but receiving an outside view can be very fruitful and deliver a fresh perspective. Truly professional outsourced companies take their time to fully understand the clients’ businesses and their buyers’ needs. It’s difficult but crucial to delegate tasks and focus on what you are best at.

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  • Great tips thank you..

  • Leteisha Tate

    Thanks so much Ray for this video. It’s encouraging to know that I’m not alone in this. I’ve had many of these issues mainly because being a new entrepreneur/Godpreneur I didn’t want to be following trends just because I didn’t want lose my integrity and character for Christ just chasing things and money with all the things that are out there. So I’ve had to get still to listen for His guidance and instruction. I want my work to be pleasing to God because He is the reason for my entrepreneur /Godpreneur journey. I’ve learned to overcome a few of the fears by just doing them anyway and I’ve grown tremendously since my start at the beginning of the year. I’m so excited about what your doing and to be connected to such a soldier for Christ and a Christian mentor in business. Listening to your podcasts and reading your blog posts have definitely given me a lot more clarity for where I want to go in my coaching business. I look forward to joining your programs for guidance and meeting you along this journey. May you be continuously blessed and favored in your life and work for the Lord.

  • Pamela Kenagy

    I just listened to your podcast about why I may not be getting things done. Bingo! Probably a bunch of all the stated 5 reasons…but mainly the last one…fear! BUT, I took a big step and signed up for your Copy Writing Virtual Summit… and I am going to put it on my CALENDAR to DO IT!!!! And then do it again!!! (no, this is not a paid advertisement 😉 …) Thank you! I’ll be 70 next month and figure I can’t realistically procrastinate my writing for too many more years… so it’s now or never – and I’m Excited, Enthusiastic, and praying for Courage to Continue!

  • Being brand new at a “wantahave” new business (copywriting) I’m sure I haven’t yet encountered the specific obstacles that I will eventually have to deal with. But from my prior experiences, I know that I am not confident about my technology skills and have to learn the skills I will need. I realize I tend to delay making a decision if I am unsure about what to do. I will also need to get more comfortable with outsourcing the things I don’t enjoy or that I am not good at.