If you’ve ever struggled with procrastination then you know firsthand the effect it has on your business and your life. The goals and plans are all there but, somehow, something always seems to get in the way. After trying a million quick fixes, you’ve probably now given up because you’re feeling stuck. In this post, learn how to actually overcome procrastination so you can beat it once and for all and finally get down to business.
“In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt
How To Overcome Procrastination
What is the root cause of procrastination?
In its simplest form, procrastination prevents you from carrying out specific tasks that will help to propel both you and your business forward. But what causes us to put tasks and appointments off?
I believe the main reason so many of us procrastinate is due to the pain/pleasure principle. The pain we experience by doing nothing is much less (at least in our eyes) than the pleasure we’ll get from taking action.
I’ve told this story before but I’d like to share it here. A few years ago I bought the perfect pair of jeans. Due to my height, it can be hard to find a pair of jeans that hug me just right and make my butt look bomb.
Anyway, one day a hole appeared in the waistband. It was a pretty noticeable one and it bothered me. Though this bugged me a lot, the annoyance of having to go into town, find a seamstress who handled jeans and wait until they were done just seemed like too much work, so I did nothing.
Every day I told myself that this was the day I’d do it but never did.
The pleasure of getting my jeans mended was vastly overshadowed by the pain I thought I’d experience getting it done.
How do I stop procrastinating and get things done?
Here are a few tried and proven anti-procrastination strategies to help you beat it for good:
1 Build your competence
At times we take on projects or goals that can seem daunting or might truly be difficult to achieve. Instead of shrinking away from these goals and telling yourself you’ll get to it later, why not try improving your knowledge instead?
Let’s say you’ve set a goal to create a lead magnet (subscriber opt-in) for your website but have no clue where to begin. Why not start off by doing some research?
Identify if there are any courses (both paid and free) that can help you understand exactly what to do. Instead of focusing on how scary it all seems, or the fact that you just can’t do it, spend your time focusing on learning how to create that lead magnet.
By doing this, you’ll be less likely to procrastinate and two steps closer to accomplishing the task.
Related: How to follow through on every one of your goals this year
2 Prioritize one task per day
In our day-to-day lives, it might be difficult to prioritize just one thing.
This can seem even more impossible when our to-do list goes on forever. To overcome your need to put things off until later, you have to create a system to make things easier on yourself.
Our brains are not necessarily designed to always be multitasking and when we do this we often times find that we quickly overwhelmed. This happened to me the other day.
Each day in my planner, I had about 10 things on my to-do list. No matter how hard I tried I could never quite tick everything off. Soon I started really overwhelmed and found myself pushing things back 2 to 3 days at a time.
That’s when I decided that enough was enough. Each week as I wrote my “ta-dah” list (I’ll be writing an entire post about this soon), I only put 3 to 4 things for each day.
When I was done, I’d go through each item and circle the one thing that was my priority task that day. I’d also write down the reward for accomplishing that task.
Once that task was completed, I was free to tackle everything else on my list. So ask yourself “if I were only able to accomplish one worthwhile task today, what would it be?” and why.
Doing this will help you to understand the most important task and do it first.
3 Stop making excuses
A big reason so many continue procrastination, in what feels like an endless loop, is because we make excuses for everything. We make excuses for why we haven’t posted in a while and we make excuses for not emailing our clients.
Excuses fuel procrastination and the funny thing is that many of us have been making excuses for so long that we start believing them.
The thing is that you are in control of your thoughts and actions, and you control so much more than you think. It’s high time we stopped blaming everyone and everything got our inaction and just act.
Have you ever heard of the 5-second rule? It’s one of my favourite tools to use with my clients. Basically, it takes all of 5 seconds to talk yourself out of doing something. So the fix is to act (or to start moving) within 5 seconds.
Imagine that you have a client follow-up or some email pitches you’ve been putting off for days. The next time you think about doing these tasks, instead of making excuses, start counting down “5,4,3,2” and before you get to “1”, start typing that email or open up your laptop.
Once your brain realizes you’ve started acting it will quickly catch up. Before you realize it you’ve hit send and the email is off.
Procrastination is, hands down, our favourite form of self-sabotage. Click To Tweet
4 Get an accountability partner
A large portion of my work involves being an accountability partner for my clients. Often times, when we try to do everything by ourselves the road becomes dark and lonely.
Especially as an online entrepreneur, it can be difficult doing everything by yourself. The need to procrastinate kicks in because there’s no one to hold you accountable and no one to light a fire under your butt when you’ve lost steam.
I can’t tell you how many times having my own coach has helped to propel me forward (and yes, even coaches have their own coaches). I have to consistently work on my own personal growth so that I can, in turn, show up for my clients.
An accountability partner is someone you can lean on for advice when you get stuck and will ensure you meet your client meetings and deadlines. Plus, one of the top goals of my program is to help you get results in the shortest timeframe possible.
Related: Shift to a growth mindset and take your business to the next level
5 Eliminate all distractions
We live in a noisy world, and as online entrepreneurs, we are smack dab in the middle of it all. Everything seems to demand our attention. Facebook posts need to be scheduled, Instagram captions need writing and it can all feel like too much.
If you’re constantly doing too many things all the time, it will be hard to focus and you will want to procrastinate. This is why we need to eliminate distractions.
Block out some time throughout the day (maybe an hour or three) where you log out of social media. Put your phone down and get to work.
If social media is an active part of your business, try hiring a virtual assistant. Doing this will not only help you to get more tasks completed, but you will also be able to focus on the things that truly matter in your business.
Make your tasks non-negotiable
Though procrastination might be tough to handle, it is not impossible to overcome it. All it takes is some dedication and making the tasks you have absolutely non-negotiable.
Getting your business up and running by completing that mastermind becomes non-negotiable. Becoming certified in what you do so you can offer the best service to your clients becomes a priority regardless of what you think or how you feel.
How do you beat procrastination?