Do you ever find yourself procrastinating? Its human nature.
Many people would define procrastination as laziness – you simply keep putting things off because you have other things to do. But if you look at what you normally procrastinate on, it really isn’t laziness at all.
Instead, its more about fear – fear of not understanding, fear of not being able to be perfect, fear of being completely overwhelmed.
And while this fear is what drives us forward, it can also hold us back.
Here are 7 of my favorite tricks I use when I find myself procrastinating over something big.
1. Start your ideas immediately
When you get an idea, what do you do with it?
Most people get an idea, and start thinking about it.
Then they wonder if it’s a good idea.
And they wonder some more.
And eventually the idea no longer has merit.
And they move in another direction.
If you get an idea, take action. Now. Write it down. Do some research. Formulate it as complete as possible. Print it out and look at it. Take action to put even just a piece into your business.
Just by moving it from the idea mode to the action mode, the likelihood your idea will help you jumps tenfold.
2. Chunk it out
Some ideas take hours, days, even months to see through to fruition. With that much of a to-do list, its easy to put it on the back burner. But if you chunk it out – divide it into small chunks of time you can easily take action on – you’re more likely to see it through.
When I have a new project, I specifically mark off time to work on it. It may be a half hour per day, or one afternoon per week. But if I know I have time to exclusively work on that project, my excitement level increases. And so does the likelihood of getting it into place within my business.
3. Commit through words
If you hold something in, you are more likely to put it aside. But when you tell someone about it, you are held accountable.
This is why advisory teams work so well. If you get together and talk on a regular basis with other like-minded business owners, you can provide your thoughts and ask for opinions. They will also provide resources and guidance, and ask the status at your next meeting.
4. Define your goal
Have you ever made “pipe dream” goals? Those are the goals you say over and over again with little chance of seeing them through to completion. These are goals like “I’m going to clean the garage” or “I’m going to create new marketing materials”. Its easy to procrastinate when your goal is monumental and you have no true deadline in place for completion.
Instead, clearly define what you want to do. “I will have a new brochure outlined by Friday” is much more motivating than planning on updating your marketing materials.
5. Do it first
What do you do first thing in the morning? Do you check messages and email? Do you get caught up in the nothingness of social media?
Your first moments of your day are the most productive. You walk in with a clear, fresh mind, ready to jump in for a new and exciting day.
This is the time you should dedicate to your new projects. This is the time you can provide the utmost attention to detail without losing yourself in the details of your daily problems.
Change your hours. If you work 9 to 5, bump your customer hours up to 10 to 5 and use the first hour for your new projects. Just because you’re in the office doesn’t mean you have to answer the phone or clear out messages. Give your time to your most beneficial tasks first.
6. Less is more
How many things are on your plate right now? Do you have 15 projects waiting for you? Do you have more client orders than you can keep up with? Are you completely overwhelmed?
Start by clearing off your plate. If you have that much client work, hire an assistant. If you have that many projects, prioritize them and choose the most important first.
Many people procrastinate because they simply can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Bring that tunnel into view, and always be able to see what’s on the other side.
7. Commit to an activity
Never ask yourself if you feel like doing something – chances are you won’t. Do you really feel like getting up on a dark, cold winter morning to work out? I know for me the answer is a big NO.
Yet I commit to it because I know I feel better when I do it. So I no longer ask myself if I feel like it; I just do it.
With any project you have on your plate, if you commit to doing the tasks without questioning how you feel about it, you are much more likely to do it.
Calendar it. Plan it. Do it.
That’s really all there is to it.