First things first: Anyone who claims that they never procrastinate is lying.
Some entrepreneurs are gifted at time-management and others are super efficient but no one—and I mean no one—leads a procrastination-free life. So if you find yourself dragging your feet over boring or difficult tasks, that simply makes you human. Promise.
However, if your tendency to postpone until the last minute has started to negatively affect your business, it’s time to take action. You may never eradicate procrastination entirely, but you can definitely dial it back!
Here are 6 straight-shooting tips to help you be more focused, efficient, and productive.
Banish procrastination by planning ahead
It’s far easier to justify delaying a task if you have no idea how it fits into the big picture.
When you know what needs to be done tomorrow, next week, next month, even next year, you see how your work is a chain reaction, a cascade of activity that’s fueled by things happening in sequence.
Plan ahead so you can see that leaving that niggling little task undone today will impact your flow of work down the line.
Avoid procrastination by using a calendar
Along the same lines, chronic procrastinators should definitely learn to befriend their calendars!
Planning ahead gives you a long view, but planning a week at a time helps you stay on-task in the moment. Block time off for the tasks you must get done—including recurring tasks and appointments—so you know exactly what’s on deck each day.
If you’re new to this type of planning, give yourself an adjustment period: Most of us estimate that projects will take far less time than they really do! Once you’ve got a feel for your working rhythms, adjust your calendar accordingly.
Minimize procrastination by batching your work
Switching between workloads may help individual days feel varied and engaging, but it can also cause natural procrastinators to hit roadblocks.
If you start your day with marketing tasks, but then have to start recording a podcast by mid-afternoon, your brain may resist changing gears and grind to a halt.
If this happens to you, try doing all your writing on Monday, podcast recording on Tuesday, marketing strategy on Wednesday, and so on. Grouping types of work can help you stay in the flow.
Wipe out procrastination with focus techniques
If you’re someone who has an easier time focusing when you’ve got loads of structure and rules, investigate and tinker with some time-management tools and methodologies.
Here are 3 popular ones that are ideal for procrastinators:
- Getting Things Done: This five-step process was developed by productivity expert David Allen. His site has great guiding materials to get you started.
- Pomodoro: A technique that focuses on bursts of productivity, usually 25 minutes spent working followed by a short break.
- Timeboxing: With this method, you assign a fixed period of time for each task’s completion. Once you hit that time limit, you stop working and move on to something else.
Reduce procrastination by rewarding yourself
Do you find yourself putting off certain tasks because they’re thankless or repetitive?
For some of us, it’s easier to buckle down and work when a project has a distinct and rewarding end, something that helps us feel accomplished.
Recurring work and tiny projects often lack that satisfying hard-stop at the end. So motivate yourself with non-word rewards!
Plan outings, pampering sessions, amazing bottles or wine or other incentives for finishing a project or even small tasks.
Eliminate procrastination with a partner
Tried everything and STILL unable to kick your procrastination habit?
Try getting an accountability partner or coach and checking in daily. Nothing motivates a reluctant entrepreneur like knowing she’ll have to fess up to slacking off! If you can find another solopreneur or business owner who needs similar support, even better. You’ll both help each other!
Again, procrastination is normal and natural. Every once in awhile, we need to blow off work and go get smoothies. But when procrastination starts to interfere with building our empires, we need to rein it in.
I hope my tips will help you find the perfect way to manage your inner procrastinator!
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