10 quick tips for beating procrastination
By Anne Bachrach
A.M. Enterprises (The Accountability Coach)
Procrastination is no joke. Putting things off until later can spell ruin for even the most successful businessperson, which is exactly why it is a problem that you should make an effort to continually deal. If you suffer from procrastination, then you undoubtedly know that it can be extremely troublesome. You no doubt want to work hard and get things done, but some people find this more difficult to do than others. If you are one of those people, then this article is for you.
Here are 10 quick and easy tips for beating procrastination. Sometimes, finding a little bit of help (like these tips) is all that you need to tip the scales back in your favor.
1. Get up and get going
If you feel the urge to procrastinate coming upon you, then sometimes the best thing to do is to get up and get moving — don’t let yourself put off what you need to do. The minute you start to deviate from what you know you need to be doing is exactly when you need to take a deep breath, and just do it. Stop letting those excuses stop you from getting going!
Changing scenery can often change your frame of mind, and you might find that going for a walk, taking a jog, or even grabbing a cup of coffee can help you to clear your mind and get you back on track. (Just don’t do it too often, as doing this every time you get the urge to procrastinate can actually become just another form of procrastination.)
2. Wake up earlier
Waking up earlier can often improve your odds of getting things accomplished. More productive people are generally out and about during the early morning hours, and you will likely find the atmosphere a lot more conducive to productivity compared with later in the day. Get up earlier to exercise, stretch, meditate and get those juices flowing so you can tackle your highest payoff activities the moment you arrive at work.
3. Clean and organize as you go
Sometimes, we get so surrounded by clutter and chaos that we end up feeling defeated before we begin. Looking around you and seeing a mess is rarely conducive to productivity, which is why it can really pay to keep things clean and tidy as your day progresses. Five or 10 minutes spent prioritizing your activities can pay big dividends as the day goes on.
4. Get away from the TV
Did you know that TV is one of the biggest causes for procrastination among entrepreneurs who often work from home? Having a lot of channels and a list of favorite shows is nice, but not if it distracts you from getting everything done that you need to do. Record your favorite shows and only allow yourself to watch them after you have your most critical activities done for the day.
5. Schedule specific blocks of time
Setting up a daily schedule can be a great way to stop procrastination before it starts. Having a plan in place will not only give you a sense of direction, but will make your day seem more achievable, as well. Performing the activities that bring you the best results first is a great way to start the day. Brian Tracy has a great analogy for this: "Eat that frog."
Think about this: What if the first thing that you did every day was to eat a live frog? It sounds gross. In fact, it would probably be the worst thing that you have to do all day. But, if you ate the frog first thing in the morning, you could say that the worst part of your day was behind you. The point is that if you do the worst things first, you will find that your day will get easier and less distracting as you go.
6. Avoid checking email first thing in the morning
As a successful business owner, this might be a difficult thing to do. But it can help you to focus on tasks with high payoff first thing in the morning. Checking email puts your brain into a sort of non-action mode. Instead of checking it first thing in the morning, pull out your prioritized action/task-list and get a few things accomplished first. Email will not only get you behind schedule, it can also negatively affect your emotional state of mind for the rest of the day.
7. Avoid social networks
This might seem like a bit of a no-brainer, but you would be amazed at the number of people who get derailed each morning by checking Facebook or Twitter before getting started. This can completely switch your brain from a productive mode to a fun mode, which does not bode very well for getting things accomplished. I’m not saying that this isn’t an important part of building your business, but it's best schedule for non-prime time.
8. Listen to the right music
Are there certain types of music that just put you in the mood to get things done? If so, then jamming out to a playlist of productive tunes can be a great way to get your mind focused on the job at hand. For me, listening to dance beats is a great way to get me pumped about starting my day. It can also be a great way to get me moving when I feel a slump coming on.
9. Don't let perfectionism derail you
Nothing is perfect. If this is a thought that upsets you or causes you to get discouraged, then you should try to remember that doing your best is all that you can do. Do all that you can, and call it good enough. Don’t let being a perfectionist keep you from checking things off of your to-do list. You can procrastinate for a long time if you are trying to make things perfect — and they may never be perfect. Don’t let this be your excuse. It doesn’t have to be flawless to be successful.
10. Refuse to settle for less
While some people may be more prone to procrastination than others, putting things off does not have to define you. Regardless of what it takes, find a way to beat your procrastination problems so that you can get on with your life and live with the confidence that comes from knowing that you have the talent and focus to do what it takes to be even more successful. Think how good you will feel when you beat the procrastination bug that plagues many people and keeps them from realizing their true potential.
In summary, procrastination will find more than one way to defeat you, but only if you let it. You are the only one who can choose to avoid the pitfalls of putting things off. Next time you feel like procrastinating, go down this list and review the steps that you can take to beat it. You will be amazed at how good you will feel, and at how much more you can get accomplished.