One of the biggest challenges to being self-employed and owning your own business is learning to stop procrastinating and just get your stuff done. It’s just so easy when you’re the boss to let things slide until they’re urgent, and you’re under pressure and frazzled.
These simple tips can help you stop procrastinating and start being productive today, not tomorrow.
Challenge yourself with something achievable
Sometimes we procrastinate because the task seems too large to manage. Maybe you have an information product to create and just don’t know where to start. Rather than putting “create information product” on your to-do 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 you don’t feel as if you’re tackling an insurmountable task.
Reward yourself (with a day off)
When we work hard, we deserve to play hard. It’s actually good for long-term productivity to take regular breaks. 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.
It’s easier to commit to this reward if you involve other people. For example, if you make an appointment for a massage on Friday, you’d better have your task list done by Thursday night or you’re going to have to cancel on your masseuse. You make yourself accountable, even though you have no boss to answer to.
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.
Then eliminate those distractions. Once you know what you’re using to procrastinate then it’s time to get tough. 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.
Consider doing as Jurgen Wolff suggests in his book Creativity Now: Get inspired, create ideas and make them happen, and make a not-to-do list. Mine includes watching TV and internet surfing during the day, watching any TV I didn’t actively plan to watch (which eliminates trash and fluff and effectively limits me to films, documentaries and series I love), plus email and social media checking during work hours (I check in batches after the creative work is done).
Use tools to help you
Time-tracking tools, both online and off, are great for helping you stay on task.
You can use something as simple as an egg timer. 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.
Knowing that you are going to work intensely for a limited time can help you be incredibly productive. I find that by working in quick ‘sprints’ like this, I often achieve more in a few 35 minute sessions than I would trying to work solidly all day.
Get creative with these tools and ideas and use them to help you stay on task and stop procrastinating. And sign up to get your free printable workbook and other goodies to help you run your online biz.