How to Beat ProcrastinationBy Toby Russell
Procrastination is the enemy of marketers and freelancers because you have no time clock, no boss, and no obligation to work. You’re on your own and you’re only accountable to yourself. When the temptation to procrastinate strikes, the only line of defence is you.
Here are some ideas I’ve used before that have helped me overcome procrastination when it rears its ugly head.
Recognize Your Procrastination
A lot of times, we procrastinate without realizing it. For example, checking your email throughout the day may be a form of procrastination. Do you really need to check it every hour? I constantly organize my schedule as a form of procrastination.
These procrastination activities may be important tasks, but you’re still using them to put things off. Take a good look at all of your habits and ask yourself – Am I really just buying time? The first step is to know your enemy.
Whatever task you’ve got before you is going to bring you some kind of value. There’s a payoff, or otherwise you wouldn’t do it. When you’re procrastinating, you don’t realize that value. Your expectations of its outcome aren’t high enough to get you off the couch and get you started.
Take the task at hand and think about its results. What will happen when it’s completed? Visualize this as fully as you can, and I guarantee it will get you started.
Get up and Move
Sometimes you feel uninspired when you’re sitting in front of the computer. You may feel like you’re spinning your wheels. A change of scenery can help. Get up and walk around. Go outside for a quick five-minute walk around the block. Do something active for a few minutes and then when you return to the computer, you’ll be more likely to get down to work.
Cracking It Open
We often procrastinate when we feel that the task is difficult or we’re not good at it. It may be a simple case of it being a new job and you’re not sure how to do it. This anxiety builds up and turns into procrastination because it’s more comfortable to put it off.
But once you get started, even just taking that first step, you realize it’s just a task like any other. The anxiety is gone as soon as you begin.
One way to beat this is to just sit down and start. Work on it for five minutes and then go and make a cup of coffee. I think of it as like cracking open a can of soda. Once you’ve got it open, it’s much easier to work on it.
The Curse of Perfectionism
Sometimes perfectionism disguises itself as procrastination. You can’t get started because you think you have to do everything perfectly, and you’re not sure you can.
Perfectionism comes in handy sometimes but usually it’s a productivity killer. Tell yourself instead, ‘I’m going to do this the best I can.’ The key is to just do it and then make adjustments later if the task wasn’t done perfectly.
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