This week, we’re continuing to look at the ways that entrepreneurs frequently sabotage their businesses. One of those ways is procrastinating too much. We all procrastinate at some point or another, but if left unchecked, procrastination can really hamper the development of your business. This week, we’re sharing some advice on how to stop procrastinating and get down to business.
Understand Your Resistances
Procrastination isn’t just about poor time management. There’s often an underlying psychological reason why we put off certain tasks. Spend a little time with your feelings to unpack and process why you’re delaying that task. Maybe you’re delaying your website launch because you’re afraid of putting yourself out there. Or, you are putting off looking at your numbers because you’re worried that the business is not doing well. Take some time to understand why the task seems so daunting.
Be Kind to Yourself
When we procrastinate, we might also trigger other negative feelings about ourselves. We might feel embarrassed or ashamed that we didn’t do the task we were supposed to do. Judging yourself like this can create a vicious cycle where you feel bad about procrastinating and end up delaying the task further. Instead, when you notice you are procrastinating, practice checking in with yourself and practice a moment of self-care.
Make a To-Do List
As entrepreneurs, there are so many things we need to get done every day. It can be overwhelming to hold all those tasks in your head. Getting your tasks out of your head and onto a to-do list can help you visualize what needs to be done and help you organize them from highest to lowest priority. You can also start to see which items are easy to get done and which ones take more time and attention. Make sure each day’s to-do list is reasonable for a day’s work.
Break It Down
It helps to break larger tasks down into smaller components. Consider creating a project plan where you outline each of the smaller components, give them deadlines, and identify what resources you need. There are plenty of online tools for creating project plans, such as Trello, Asana, and Basecamp. You can even sketch it out by hand on a piece of paper and cross off the items as you complete them. Whatever you choose should be a system that you can commit to using to track your progress.
Schedule Time Blocks
It can be hard to complete a bigger project in your business when there you have a bunch of day-to-day operational tasks that need to be done. The pressure of multi-tasking between your daily tasks and a bigger project can also lead to procrastination. So, consider blocking off time in your calendar to specifically work on your bigger projects. That way, you can focus your full attention on the project and move it forward faster.
It can be tempting to spend a few minutes browsing the Internet, checking social media, or responding to email or texts – only to find yourself getting sucked in for hours. Consider removing those distractions when you are working on important tasks in your business. This might mean turning off your phone or putting it in another room, or finding a software tool to block websites and apps on your computer while you work.
Change Your Environment
Sometimes, it’s just hard to get to work on your projects in your normal work space. You might just need a change of scenery. Get up and go to another room in your home or office, or get out to a co-working space, coffee shop, or even outside. Sometimes, simply relocating to another space can help you shift your mindset out of procrastination mode.
Find an Accountability Partner
Telling others what you are trying to accomplish can help you stop procrastinating and get to work. Consider asking a family member, friend, or colleague to be your accountability partner. Your accountability partner is someone who is willing to call or text you to check in, make sure you are meeting your deadlines and commitments, and give you encouragement to keep moving your project forward.
Think about setting up a personal reward system. This could be something as simple as allowing yourself to eat a cookie only after writing a blog post. Or, maybe you tell yourself you can only go to the dinner you scheduled with your friends next week if you complete your business plan. Attaching a reward to a project can motivate you to move through your resistance and get those tasks done. In addition, giving yourself rewards can help you reinforce healthy work habits.