Is Procrastination Ruining Your Life?

Cartoon of procrastination ruining your life

7 Ways to Stop Procrastinating (and Get Back to Marketing Your Business)

You’ve got two blog posts to finish, a brochure to write, and you really need to get onto that sales letter you’ve been meaning to send out for weeks.

Cartoon of a person procrastinating

But the next thing you know, you’ve paired all your socks, you’ve alphabetised your bookcase, and you’ve just begun to learn how to bake your own bread.

Uh oh, you’re procrastinating.

Procrastination is one of those things we all have to deal with at some stage, but it can be particularly damaging to a small business that’s just starting up a blog for your website. Inactivity can be lethal to a new website.

The good news is, there are many ways to stop procrastination from ruining your life (and you business!)

Here are some methods you can try:

1. Get rid of distractions

There are so many distractions these days, no wonder it’s so easy to procrastinate. Disconnect for a bit. Turn off your phone. Put your iPad away. If you don’t need the internet for research, turn off your wi-fi for an hour so that the internet can’t get its claws into you.

If you really want to disconnect, turn your computer off, get a sheet of paper and hand-write your project. You can always type it up later.

2. Break your projects up into smaller, easier chunks

Maybe you’re setting yourself too much work at once. Stop procrastinating by breaking your project up into easily achievable goals, so you’re not so overwhelmed by the task ahead of you.

If you can’t get yourself to write that article, don’t! Commit to writing just the introduction. If that comes easily to you, set yourself the goal of writing the first paragraph. And then the next. And the next!

You can stop any time you want between each small task, but if you find the work is starting to flow out of you, keep going!

3. Write a list

Cartoon of a funny checklist

There’s something very satisfying about crossing a task off your list.

Some people love writing lists and some people hate it. But sometimes, to get the ball rolling, all it takes is a list that lays out everything you need to get done.

If you start every morning by writing a list, you may find it helps you to keep on-track for the rest of the day.

And bonus points, just by writing your list, you get to tick your first task off of that list straight away! Congrats!

4. Get the easy stuff done first

If you’re having trouble getting started on a project, or you have a long list of tasks for the day and don’t know where to start. Start with the quickest and easiest thing on your list.

You may just need to do one thing to get the ball rolling.

Cartoon of person giving herself a deadline before writing

5. Give yourself a deadline

Set a deadline. Even better, get a friend, family member or your partner to set a deadline for you. Once the time is up, you have to present your finished work to them.

By setting a time-limit and making yourself accountable to someone if you don’t finish, you may be able to bully yourself into action.

Sometimes all it takes is a little pressure.

So get someone you trust to light a fire under you!

6. Avoid Perfectionism

Procrastination often arises from fear. Fear of disappointing yourself or others, fear that the finished result won’t be as good as you hoped. Fear that it won’t be perfect.

Despite what many people may think, perfectionism is not a desirable quality. It’s a bad habit that you’ll need to learn to break if you want to achieve your best.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have high standards and produce excellent quality work. But when you’re wasting hours and hours fiddling with the littlest details on a project trying to get it just right; or when you can’t even start a project due to perfectionism paralysis, what’s the point?

You could learn and improve a lot more by producing 20 good pieces of writing than you could ever gain from one single perfect piece (and let’s be honest, it’ll never seem perfect).

So let go of perfectionism and accept that good enough really is good enough.

7. Take a Break

If all else fails, take a break. Procrastination may just be your subconscious telling you that you’ve been working too hard and need to take a breather. Maybe go for a walk. Fresh air will clear your mind.

But make sure whatever you do has a clear cutoff point. Set a timer. Don’t allow your break to turn into another form of procrastination.

If procrastination is ruining your life, there are many ways to try to break out of it. But delaying work can often be a sign of exhaustion, uncertainty or boredom, so perhaps you should focus on the cause rather than treating the symptom.

Perhaps you need to take some time off or break up your boring old routine. The most important thing is to try not to feel too guilty when procrastination gets a hold of you.

Trust me, we’ve all be there.

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