6 Tips To Beat Procrastination
So why do I have a photo of Bradley Cooper for a post about how to beat procrastination? Well, if you saw the movie Limitless then you know how awesome the main character is for being super productive, I know in the movie he takes some sort of drug which is like drinking a coffee from kripton (Superman’s planet), but it would be cool to be as productive as that movie.
Procrastination may just be the worst enemy that you or any other potential entrepreneur has ever faced, but luckily, there is a secret weapon that allows you to beat procrastination. You aren’t alone; hundreds of people have come before you and fought the beast, triumphing over their own natural tendencies. Let’s face it – no one wants to work. Work can be boring, tedious, and difficult. The thing to remember is that people who beat procrastination and do the work they need to do usually find a reward waiting for them at the end of the day. Whether your goal is to start an online business, improve your skill level in a certain talent, or just be more efficient, these six tips will help you beat procrastination and live a better life.
“Ideas are easy. Discipline is difficult.” – Susan of the Living Rich on Less Podcast, Episode 4
1. Just do it.
As the owner of the Living Rich on Less blog states, it’s easy to want to do something. Carrying through with it, on the other hand, is much more difficult. The task might sit and stare us in the face for a long time and we still don’t get started until the very last minute. There is one simple, relatively easy way to beat procrastination…
Just do it. Get started on the task, whatever it is. Stop thinking about it.. Time will pass much more quickly than you might think once you get started, and you’ll get it done before you know it. The longer we wait before starting a project that we hate, the more we begin to dread it, and the longer it will eventually take us to do. Even if you are working on something that you are passionate about, there will inevitably be tasks that you dislike.
You can’t just avoid these tasks, and if someone else can’t take them off your plate, the only alternative is to handle it yourself. Forbes put out this article that addresses an important point: procrastination doesn’t help. Even if you put off a task to work on something else, you are less efficient because there is more going on in your mind. Just dive in, finish one step at a time, and you’ll do higher quality work overall.
2. Outsource a specific task that slows down your day.
Procrastination is often because of one specific task that you dread. Is there a way to not do it? If you can outsource a part of your work that you absolutely, completely despise doing, then do so; there are multiple agencies out there that specialize in connecting remote workers to those who need specific tasks done. You could even hire a virtual assistant to handle the task on a regular basis.
Michael Hyatt address the topic of virtual assistants in his post here. Another resource might be Tim Ferris’ book The 4-Hour Workweek. Both address the topic. If you hire someone from the Phillipines or another region of the world for a specific task, the cost can be as low as $300 per month. Now ask yourself: how much is your time worth?
If by outsourcing, you become more efficient, you could make that $300 back two or three times over. If this is the case, then what are you waiting for? There is no reason to keep putting something off because you hate the task. Pay someone else to do it for you.
3. Start with the small things first.
Procrastination occurs often because we feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks left to us in any given day. By placing the easiest do tasks at the top of your to-do list, you can mark off a large number of them in a relatively short time. The sight of several tasks marked off can give you the motivated and boost you need to carry through the rest of the day and finish off the list.
To beat procrastination, you have to stay in the right frame of mind. Any time you feel like you’ll never get finished, move to an easier task. The simple act of completing something can give you the psychological push needed to wade through the rest of the chores left to you.
4. Take a walk, go for a run, get a shower.
On the topic of staying in the right frame of mind, you should procrastinate sometimes. Seems counter intuitive, you say? The human mind is wired to focus for only a specific periods of time. If you try to push yourself to stay hyper focused for too long, it becomes more and more difficult, and you begin to see diminishing returns. There is nothing wrong with working hard, but if you find yourself drifting and you realize the last break you took was for coffee four hours ago, get up.
Something as simple as a walk down the hallway or around your cubicle can be all you need to get the blood flowing to your brain and make you feel refreshed. It can be easy to slip out of the ‘work’ mindset, and if this happens, go do something physical until that feeling passes. Take a shower, go for a run; by letting your mind drift and wander for a bit, you’ll be able to better focus on the task at hand when you return.
Beating procrastination is all mental. By working to develop the right frame of mind at all times, you’ll find it increasingly easier to focus on work, even if you don’t want to.
5. Do it first thing in the morning.
If you can, tackle the hardest, most aggravating tasks as soon as you wake up. There are several reasons to this. First, the morning hours are still and quiet – you can work with no distractions and will have no excuses for not getting anything done. There will be no one to barge into your office and distract you from the task at hand.
Second, by clearing your plate of that big chore first thing, it doesn’t sit and stew in the back of your mind until you come to it. It’s like a plate of food pushed to the back of the fridge; by the time you get to it, it might be stale and covered in all kinds of mold you don’t want touch. Don’t let it sit in the fridge. Throw it out. Get the task done first thing in the morning.
By accomplishing it first thing, you will have the rest of the day to handle more minor, easier tasks that don’t take nearly as much concentration or mental power to complete. Managing your time is the best way to succeed in life. (http://rebelgrowth.com/how-to-increase-your-productivity-as-a-solo-entrepreneur/)
6. Find out why you procrastinate.
To beat procrastination, you must first know what causes you to procrastinate. Does someone walking in to your office cause you to veer away from work and pull up Facebook as soon as they leave? Is email the culprit, summoning you to check it every five minutes even in the midst of other work? Once you have discovered the cause, you can take preventative steps to make sure it doesn’t happen.
If people walk in often, lock the door. Make them knock and before answering, tell yourself you will return to the task as soon as they leave. If email is a problem, set aside specific blocks of time during the day in which to check and respond to email. Avoid it at all other times. Blockers exist that can stop internet access within certain time periods, so if Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit is stopping you from getting the work done, install one and use it.
It can be a simple matter to beat procrastination, but it does take work and dedicated. You have to want to be productive and succeed. It won’t just fall in your lap. These six tips are a great start, and there are tons of resources available to help you. Check out these articles by Zen Habits and Life Hacker for more procrastination-defeating ideas.
How do you beat procrastination?
Share some tips in the comments from your own experience to help other entrepreneurs and reads to improve their lives!