Do you have trouble starting? Have so many ideas, but overthink what you should do with them and end up doing nothing? Do you second guess yourself or the response you may get to a post you want to write? Distracted by Facebook? Paralysis by analysis? Fear not, I’m here with some tips to make procrastination a thing of the past.
Find the cause
Only by knowing why you procrastinate can you try to remedy the problem. I procrastinate when I am trying to make sure everything is perfect or when I am scared something will bomb and I will fail. At these times I must remember progress is better than perfection (and more attainable). If you wait for perfection you could be waiting forever, just take the first step and get it done. There are no mistakes, just some things that didn’t work out and you can learn from these. Ask yourself why is didn’t work and what you can do to ensure it does next time.
Keep why you started in mind
It can be easy to go off tangent and start going down the wrong road. Keep focused by holding the reasons why you started your blog or a certain project close.
Set daily goals
Being specific and having daily goals can help you stay motivated and on task. Daily goals also help you split up a large and possibly daunting task.
You will need a friend or helpful other half to help you with this. With your goal in mind, set an end date (when you will have achieved the goal), then set weekly catch ups with your chosen person between now and your goal date. Knowing that you have to check in with this person and update them on your progress should be enough to ignite the productivity within.
Form a goal group
This idea is an extension of the above idea, however, this time you join a group of like-minded people (maybe 4 or 5) and you all hold each other accountable with regular update meetings. The group members can also act as a sounding board.
Get rid of all distractions
Try to reduce the ‘noise’ when you are working; the notifications, the tv, phone buzzing away, can all be very distracting and provide you with many reasons why you don’t just get on with the task in hand.
Put your feelings to the side.
Some tasks we have to do are just plain boring and if we wait until we feel like doing those tasks they probably won’t get done. So remind yourself that how you feel about task X doesn’t matter, getting it completed does. Don’t wait for the day when you will feel like it, just get it done.
Just grab a pen and write
If you have a post in mind but can’t think how to approach it, just grab a pen and start writing what you are feeling. Get all your thoughts out and onto paper. Often from these words, your ideas can become more concrete and you can find your way.
When the words start just keep going, don’t worry about editing just let the words come out for as long as they want to.
Catch ideas and act on them immediately
Have you ever had an idea which you didn’t act on, then days or even weeks later someone else publishes your post; the post you meant to write but didn’t commit fully to the idea. You didn’t write it down and start working on it. I recently read a book by Elizabeth Gilbert called Big Magic who sees ideas as having their own lives. If they come to you and you are not open and receptive, they will move on to find someone else who will take them on. So cherish the good ideas when they arrive, give them space in your mind and at least write them down, before the idea flies off in search of a new home.
Concentrate on one task at a time
As I explained in my time-saving post last week, deep and narrow is the way to get things done. Multitasking is not being more productive, it’s splitting your mind in multiple directions for reduced benefit all round.
Reduce the time-suck activities
It would be easy to procrastinate all day, the internet makes this perfectly possible and probably quite enjoyable too. You can check your stats, then worry that they aren’t high enough, go and read someone’s post about increasing traffic, then decide their sidebar is well laid out and decide you need to do X, Y and Z on yours too. This could continue ad infinitum unless you break the cycle. Give each aspect of your work a specific time and leave dealing with it until that time.
Use technology to help you stay on track
There are many apps/programmes on the market that can help you stay focused and limit distractions. Mac Freedom will turn off the internet for a particular amount of time (great if you want to brainstorm and put pen to paper). Rescue Time tracks your activities, so you can see if you are still spending too much time on Facebook or in your email!
Will it help my business?
When you run your own business time is money and you need to keep this in mind. So when you are doing the boring tasks that you dislike, think does it help my business? If you do not see a return on the time invested in this task then stop doing it. We must make sure our work and efforts are rewarded or even that we are building towards a return on the time invested (bearing in mind some things take time to grow and allow us to reap a reward).
If you feel stale and uninspired then take a break. Learn to know yourselves enough that you can identify when you need to take a break and recharge, even if it is only for a quick walk to breathe in some fresh air.
Keep at it
Providing your heart is still in it, then keep going and have the strength to work through the tough times. It will be so worth it in the end.
Do you procrastinate too much? Would you say it is the pursuit of perfection or the fear of failure which stops you from acting?
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image credit: sunset girl