Procrastination. That annoying little voice that whispers: “don’t worry, you can do it later, it’s not that important… it can wait”. You want to get on with things but somehow you just can’t get your act together.
But you want to set up a business or start a new project – how do you get the whispering voice of procrastination to shut up so you can get on with setting the world alight?
How To Beat Procrastination:
1) Understand the nature of the beast. If you’re not that fussed about doing something, then try to work out why. Is it because the task is too hard, it’ll take too long, it’s boring or you’re simply not in the mood? Do you really need to do the task, or is it something you think you should do but it’s not actually that important? Once you understand the reason behind your procrastination you’ll find it easier to work around.
2) Break it down. Perhaps you’re faffing about because the job is too big to finish in one go? If this is the case then sit down, outline the task and break it down into smaller chunks. If you hit a tree with an axe five times each day then one day the tree will fall down.
3) Is your head in the right place? Personally, I need a quiet space to get on with ‘proper’ work otherwise I can’t concentrate and my mind leaks all over the Internet. Make sure your environment isn’t to blame.
4) Get rid of external distractions. You won’t get anything done if Twitter or email notifications keep popping up and distracting you. Turn them off and get on with the task at hand.
5) Man up and just start. This is usually the answer to be honest. Allocate 45 minutes to the task (or whatever you decide) and just put your head down because you’ll never finish unless you start. You might not want to do your marketing or write that report, but if that’s what you have to do to earn a living then you need to stop being a baby and just get on with it.
6) Don’t beat yourself up over it. It could be that the job isn’t that time-specific and you’ve been working quite hard lately, so just take the day off and do the task when you do feel like working. If you’re not in the mood to do something and, if your profession allows it, then work according to your own body clock and preferences. If this starts to get out of hand then refer to point five however!
7) Get someone else to do it. That’s what Virtual Assistants, copywriters, book-keepers, researchers, proofreaders, web developers and a hundred other outsourcers are for!