Want to avoid procrastination? Here are 6 tips that have helped me in the last month as I’ve struggled with procrastination.
Disclaimer: This blog is a result of a month’s worth of procrastination for writing a blog on a completely different topic. See Tip 6.
1. Break your tasks into smaller steps
Aaah… procrastination… “the action of delaying or postponing something” (according to Google’s dictionary function).
There’s probably not one person out there who can honestly say they never procrastinate – and if I’m wrong and that’s you, I NEED to know your secret!
Procrastination is quite possibly a silent killer of many small businesses. Speaking from personal experience over the last eight or so months, it’s very easy to get caught up doing the ‘fun’ tasks, which are a great way of justifying not doing some of the more important, but much less fun tasks.
My first tip to help you on your quest to complete some of those less fun tasks is to break them down into smaller steps. They will seem significantly less daunting, and you never know… some of those smaller steps might actually be fun. Then, once you’ve completed those steps, you’ve got the ball rolling, and you’ve at least started the job it is that you’ve been avoiding for what may literally be months.
2. “Eat the Frog”
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.
And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
~ Mark Twain
Find the absolutely worst task (generally, the one you’re most likely to procrastinate with) on your ‘To Do’ list and do it first!
Why? You’ll no longer have as much of a reason to procrastinate and since you’ve cleared the blockage, you’ll be able to get on with everything else.
3. Give yourself a short time frame to tick some tasks off your list and go for it!
Tip number three… come on down….
This one is a personal favourite… give yourself a short time frame to complete some tasks and hit them!
For example: pick five tasks on your ‘To Do’ list, lock yourself in your office (or wherever you work), set a timer for a tight, but reasonable time frame and BANG… OUT… THE… TASKS!!!!
Mission success = you’ve just crossed five tasks off your ‘To Do’ List! BOOM!
4. Find motivation
What would make completing that task you’ve been avoiding seem even sweeter?
Set yourself a deadline and a ‘PRIZE’ for meeting that deadline… you’ll be surprised at how quickly you actually get that task completed!
5. Remove distractions
- How easy is it to get distracted by everything going on around you?
- How much more difficult is that when you’re working from home?
Hello, washing pile!
Oh hi, VERY cute dog!
Hello, Facebook #scrolllife!
One of the fastest ways to stop procrastinating is to remove those distractions.
It could be locking yourself in your office, finding a temporary workspace away from where you normally work, using an online tool to keep you off social media or even hiring a cleaner. You’ve got to remove those things (even temporarily) that are keeping you from working on your business tasks!
6. It doesn’t have to be perfect
Does the task you’re currently avoiding seem worse because of the expectations you have put on yourself about doing it?
It doesn’t always have to be perfect!
Ok, the disclaimer: sometimes it does have to be perfect. But two key points to note:
- Your version of perfect, may be very different to someone else’s version of perfect… so how do you actually measure that anyway?
- If you wait for it to be perfect, you may not actually EVER get it done! And if we’ve learnt anything from Natalie Tolhopf this year, it’s that imperfect action is what will create momentum and get things CRANKING!
Of course, another valid option would be asking for help. Whether that is to a Virtual Assistant like the team at Admin Army or finding an Accountability Coach like AJ Pipe to keep you on track, there is plenty of assistance out there to help you tick those tasks off your ‘To Do’ list.