One of the biggest challenges to being self-employed and owning your own business is getting over time management procrastination. It is just so easy when you’re the boss to let things slide until it is an emergency and you must absolutely get the task done. That was me recently and my annual accounts…….. The longer I left it, the more stressed and overwhelmed I felt and the cycle of procrastination and overwhelm was well and truly in force.
Here are a few tips to get out of this habit and start being productive today, not tomorrow.
Challenge yourself to something achievable but challenging. Sometimes we procrastinate because the task seems too large to manage. For example, you have an information product to create and just don’t know where to start. Rather than putting create information product on your task list, break the project up into several smaller steps. The first one could be, outline information product or choose title for information product. These smaller, more attainable goals are easier to accomplish and don’t feel as if they are looming over your head. If I think about my accounts it was just a case of not knowing where to start but they are 90% complete now.
Reward yourself (with a day off). Work hard; play hard is the cliché, right? Well take advantage of it. Make a to-do list at the beginning of the week and promise yourself a day off, where you do something fun, when the list is complete.
Involve Other People. It is easier to commit to a reward if you involve other people. For example, if you make an appointment for a massage on Friday, well you had better have your task list done by Thursday night or you’re going to have to cancel on your masseuse and she’ll never book you an appointment again for cancelling at the last minute. You’re making yourself accountable.
Identify distractions. Find out what you procrastinate with. Do you watch television? Run errands? Surf the net? Determine what distracts you. Spend a day or two working, or procrastinating, like you usually do and simply take note of what you do other than work.
Eliminate distractions. Once you know what you’re using to procrastinate then it’s time to get tough. Eliminate the distractions. For example, if you find that you often let household chores deter you from being productive, schedule a time for household chores. Give yourself thirty minutes at lunchtime to get a chore list completed and then go back to work. I tend to have what I call “Mad 30 minutes” when I do absolute miracles
Use tools to help you. Time tracking tools, both online and off, are great for helping you stay on task. You can for example use something as simple as an egg timer or an alarm clock. Set it for thirty-five minutes. Work for thirty-five minutes and when the timer dings, give yourself ten minutes or so to stretch, walk around the block, put away the clean dishes or something other than work and then go back and set the timer again.
Get creative with these tools and ideas and use them to help you stay on task and stop procrastinating. In all of this, the bit that scares me is that for my clients work I never procrastinate so why do I do it in my own business? If you are wondering what the reward was for me when my accounts were finished – it was actually a really simple reward. The reward of not having to transfer it to the following days To Do List!
Please share with me in the comments section what you either procrastinate over or how you stop yourself procrastinating.