The first thing to acknowledge when running your own business is that you’re working against yourself. You’re in the driver’s seat. No one is monitoring your productivity and, ultimately, you are either your biggest motivator or your biggest liability – dependant on how you handle procrastination.
Here are five simple techniques to employ when you feel that you’re entering the blackhole of procrastination and, as a consequence, aren’t performing at 100%.
- Write lists Brain dump everything that you currently do and the projects you need to tackle within the next 30 days. The reason for limiting it to one month is to avoid overwhelming yourself. Now, review each task and categorise it to ‘Daily’ (for example, social media posting), ‘Weekly’ (connecting) and ‘Monthly’ (reviewing your business plan).
- The reward system Even the most glamorous positions in the world have arduous tasks attached to them that cannot be avoided. The trick is to complete them in the most time-effective and pain-free manner. Negotiate with yourself to knock out the least desirable tasks first and reward yourself with the creative and fun initiatives later.
- Commit to switching off Sometimes, procrastination is a sign that you are burnt out and genuinely need a break. If your brain is switching off and you’re overwhelmed with anxiety, stop everything. If this means sitting in front of your favourite TV show or napping, do it without guilt. Don’t sit on the couch and lazily scribble out a proposal.
- Create a thinking environment One of the biggest causes of procrastination is environmental. If you’re in a distracting environment, you have very little chance of working at your peak. Technology can get overwhelming, especially with Facebook at our fingertips, so turn off your laptop, pull out your paper and pens (remember those?) and go to a quiet, clean room without a television and don’t forget to leave your phone behind.
- Just start Often procrastination occurs because you just don’t know where to begin. There is no rule here – start anywhere. Plunge right into the middle of your project and work your way out. Pioneer David Livingstone once said, “I’ll go anywhere as long as it’s forward.” As long as you’re working, you’re progressing – so just keep on moving.