Updated: May 30, 2020
The thing about work, and life in general, is that there will always be something that you need to do. Finish one task, errand or project; and a new one pops over the horizon.
Every day is a constant, personal battle between productivity and procrastination. And if you’re a freelancer or an entrepreneur who works at their own time, the temptation to procrastinate can be overwhelming at times.
Fortunately, over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks on how to effectively stop and overcome procrastination.
And that is what I’m sharing with you today. I hope these tips can help you as much as it helped me, to get things done and accomplish more every day.
DO YOU WORK BETTER UNDER PRESSURE?
One of the most common excuse why people procrastinate is because they believe that they work better under pressure. I can’t blame them because I am like that myself.
However, instead of waiting until the very last minute to do my task, or cram the night before the deadline to finish a project, I’ve learned that all I needed to stay productive was to put artificial pressure on myself.
What does this mean?
Let’s say I need to submit a proposal to a client by Friday. What I’ll do is break down the big task into smaller tasks and put deadlines on each one.
So instead of just writing “submit proposal to client” on my Friday calendar, I’ll also write something like this on my schedule:
- Write draft proposal on Monday
- Calculate project costs on Tuesday
- Finish rough proposal on Wednesday
- Review, edit and finalize proposal on Thursday
By doing this, I get to “work better” because I am under pressure but avoid feeling the unnecessary stress of missing the real deadline.
DO YOU NEED INSPIRATION OR BE IN THE RIGHT MOOD BEFORE YOU CAN START WORKING?
Another common excuse, specially for people who are involved in creative work. Personally, I know how much a struggle this is because I sometimes procrastinate and put off writing a blog post here for exactly this reason.
But since early this year, whenever I find myself “lacking inspiration” or “not really in the mood” to write, I simply close my eyes and say to myself a quote from the famous painter, Pablo Picasso: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
What I’ll do is
force give myself thirty minutes (yes, I set a timer) to work and come up with an article.
If the timer goes off and I still have nothing, I guiltlessly stop and work on the blog post some other time, typically later in the day.
However, do you know what happens 80% of the time before the timer goes off? I would have found inspiration and will already be “in the zone” that I eventually ignore the time, continue writing and finish the post.
Try this technique whenever you feel uninspired or demotivated to do an important task. You’ll discover how much truth there is in Picasso’s quote.
This ends the first part of this article.
Continue reading: The Things I Do To Stop And Overcome Procrastination Part 2