How to stop procrastinating is a common question that is Googled by entrepreneurs across the world.
Despite there being so much that sits on your to do list, there is a fair amount of time spent procrastinating.
This post explores procrastination, what are some of the main reasons why people procrastinate and my top 10 tips on how to stop procrastinating.
Procrastination refers to the act of putting things off.
We live in a society where having information and technology at our fingertips means that we have a higher probability of putting things off until later or the last minute.
Procrastination is a choice that we make.
We choose to do something else rather than the task that we are trying to avoid.
There are a number of key reasons why people procrastinate.
It is important to understand the why before you can look at strategies as to how to stop procrastinating.
The number one reason that people procrastinate is due to fear.
It could be fear of failure – how will they look to others if they fail.
Or how they would feel if they failed.
It could also be fear of success.
What are the consequences if they are successful?
Would it lead to more work?
Sometimes…people can just be lazy.
Entrepreneurship is hard work.
The choices we have before us, may influence our level of procrastination.
Do you choose to write the blog post….or watch Netflix?
This can be my problem sometimes.
I think that everything has to be perfect and nothing can be done until it is perfect.
As a result, sometimes, my to do list doesn’t get done as I keep focusing on one particular task until it is absolutely perfect.
And if it isn’t perfect,the frustration sets in until it is at a particular standard.
If a task makes you feel uncomfortable and puts you outside of your comfort zone – you may then make a decision to put it off or avoid it.
This happens a lot when learning new things.
Many new entrepreneurs get stuck in this space because they need to learn new things in order to start and run their business.
If they feel a level of discomfort from the task because it is unknown, it may lead to procrastination.
People have the tendency to do one of two things.
They underestimate the time that it takes to get things done – so they procrastinate.
They underestimate how quickly they can or will complete the tasks.
Lack of interest can play a role in procrastination.
If the task or activity does not stimulate you and makes you bored, then you don’t want to do it.
Which can lead to procrastination.
If we are feeling unmotivated, you could end up procrastinating.
This could be due to a number of things including:-
People lack motivation if they do not understand how the task adds value to them or the overall outcome.
There are some questions that you can ask yourself to help you recognise if you are procrastinating.
Is it How I Work?
Am I Disorganised?
Am I Lazy?
There are a number of tips and techniques that you can use to help you to stop procrastinating.
These are my top 10 tips on how to stop procrastinating.
Is there tasks on your list that you don’t really need to do?
If you find on your to do list that you have items that are not relevant to your goals – you need ask why are you doing them?
Are they things that need to get done? Or not?
By asking this question,and eliminating tasks – you will reduce the sheer amount of things that you have to do.
Work out how long it takes you to do tasks.
Especially tasks or items that you have to do often.
Once you know how long a task will take you – you can plan for it accordingly.
David Allen in his book, Getting Things Done suggested that there is a two minute rule.
Anything that you can do in two minutes or less, do straight away.
Instead of writing them down on your to-do list to do later.
Have you heard of the Einsenhower’s Urgent/Important Matrix?
This time management and productivity tool helps you decide on and prioritize tasks by how important or urgent it is.
Write out your to-do list and place it in one of the four quadrants based on a set criteria.
Learning to think differently about completing particular tasks or activities can help.
For example – understanding WHY you need to do a particular tasks and how it relates to the bigger picture will change your perspective on doing the task.
Changing the way we talk about tasks can also help – words like “have to” can have a negative impact on how you think about this activity.
Have you ever heard the story about how to eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
Same goes for complex tasks and projects.
Break down your tasks into chunks that are easy to manage.
Using techniques such as the Pomodora technique, you can become more efficient in completing tasks and activities.
The Pomodora technique, create by Francesco Cirello focuses on working for short periods of time and then giving yourself a break.
This way you can eliminate distractions,and focus on the activity and complete it efficiently, in a short space of time.
Delegating tasks is also an effective way to stop procrastinating.
If there are activities that you personally do not have to do, then outsource them.
For entrepreneurs, you could invest in hiring a VA or outsource to a site like Fiverr to do activities that are time consuming, but do not necessarily need your skills and expertise to complete.
If a lack of motivation is one of the causes of your procrastination, then work when you feel motivated.
You will get more things done when you are in the mood to work as opposed to trying to force yourself to be motivated.
Set yourself some goals.
If you complete a difficult task within a set time frame, then reward yourself.
It can be something big e.g. an expensive purchase or something little e.g. a chocolate.
Ensure that you spend time enjoying your reward, and how it makes you feel.
That feeling that you get from rewarding yourself, can help in regards to motivating yourself for the next time you need to complete that task, or a similar task.
There are heaps of apps out there to help you get organised. These include:-
Procrastination is a common problem for entrepreneurs – if you can identify and fix the problems when you are starting your own business, it will set you up for success not only in the short term but also in the longer term.