As a small business owner, you’re obviously never short of things to do. But, in spite of the mountain of tasks most entrepreneurs are faced with on a daily basis, many find themselves falling into the procrastination trap over time.
Procrastination is a particularly tricky opponent, one that lives in largely in your head and feeds on fear and overwhelm. In this piece, we’ll break down 4 quick tips to break free from procrastination and get back to cranking through your to-do list with a song in your heart, rather than a feeling of nameless dread and paralysis.
- Just do something
This isn’t a magic bullet for tackling procrastination, but it goes a long way towards breaking out of the initial downward spiral. When you find yourself deliberately putting things off or practicing avoidance strategies, pick the simplest possible part of the problem and commit to taking just one action on it.
The hardest step to take with tackling procrastination is the first one. In this context, it doesn’t really matter what you do to get the engine running again – all that matters is that you do something, no matter how small.
- Park your perfectionism
As a natural follow-on to our first point, consciously strive to avoid getting blocked by your own perfectionism. Tackling any project inevitably involves failure and less than satisfactory results at various stages – that’s a necessary part of the process. Learn to live with it.
By all means use your naturally high standards to give you the drive to see projects to completion, just don’t let those standards block you from actually putting in the hard, messy yards to get there.
- Don’t openly invite procrastination
The browser-based nature of much of modern work makes this one admittedly tricky at times, but don’t actively put yourself in situations where procrastination is a serious temptation.
If, for example, this means installing some simple blocking software on your main work computer to remove social distractions, go ahead and do it. If it means squirrelling yourself away from noise and interruptions to fully concentrate on a key project, bite the bullet and make it happen.
- Manage your self-talk
Left unchecked, it’s all too easy to drift into patterns of incredibly negative self-talk without even realising it. This is the fuel that procrastination feeds on. One simple way to kick yourself out of this is to consider the following old saying: If you talked to your friends the way you talk to yourself, you’d have no friends at all.
The next time you find yourself sliding into procrastination, ask yourself: how am I talking to myself? You may be shocked at the results.
Acceptance and forgiveness are the key here. Simply note the negative emotions without beating yourself up further about them, and recommit to the task at hand.
Procrastination is a particularly tricky beast to deal with and one that can easily worm its way into your life – particularly when you’re going through a crunch period in your business. Use our four key tips above to help keep this monster at bay and get on with the tasks at hand!