Why do we procrastinate? Even when it is something we really want to do? I think everyone is guilty of this sometimes, including myself, my favorite used to be ‘busy work’ you know, the things that need doing, like cleaning the house, but that could easily wait! Just like when you are employed: you go out to work, you have to get there on time, concentrate and get the work done, it’s what is expected of you, no one cares that back home you left the dishes in the sink!
When you are working from home there is no pressure to perform, that’s one of the great things about it and one of the main reasons we decided to start work this way. If you don’t do what needs doing in your own business, no one is going to hold you accountable, you keep getting away with it and keep putting things off until tomorrow, but as they say in the movies….. tomorrow never comes!
So what are the reasons behind the habit, why do we put things off? Let’s take a look at some of them and see if any off them fit:
- It’s hard to start something new, it’s much easier to stay in the rut.
- It’s easy to find other things to do….. Busy Work….. this is also very ‘socially accepted’ Everybody can see how hard you work! Nobody expects you to do more than what you are doing already!
- Fear of failure, fear of making mistakes, fear of being ridiculed.
- There is no instant gratification with this kind of work, it’s going to take time, effort & learning new skills.
- Not trusting that you can make it a success, can you do this?
- Being a perfectionist, nothing is ever going to be perfect, if you aim for perfection you will never get there.
- Not self motivated, need to be told what to do, even though you might hate it.
- Over-estimate what you can do ‘later’ heaping more & more into the future until it becomes an insurmountable job.
- Overwhelmed by all the things there are to do, not just the new business but taking care of the family and many other duties.
- Bad habits online – Checking emails or Facebook ISO doing things you know you should be doing.
- Dreaming to big and frightening yourself half to death & coming to a stand-still.
- Friends or family sabotaging your time, this makes it too hard to start, you need to set boundaries.
- The job seems to big, for the time you have available.
The list goes on, just think about it when you next catch yourself putting things off.
So what is the answer, how can you overcome procrastination and get your business started?
The most important thing is to realise what’s happening and then to decide to do something about it! Recognising what’s causing you to procrastinate is half the battle and carefully analysing it will go a long way to help fix it!
Take some time to sort out what needs doing.
- Make a list: Write down everything you can think of that needs to be done. At this stage do not edit the list, just empty your head of all the things that are there.
- Now go through the list you’ve just created and look at what your priorities should be.
- Then try and sort things in order of what has to be done first, even roughly, you can always adjust as you go along.
This list can be very overwhelming and needs to be broken down further before we can even think of starting.
When is Your Best Time?
First you need to work out what is your best time and then how much time you’ll be able to spend in one stretch. Think of a time when you’ll be least likely to be interrupted and will be able to concentrate best.
Another point to consider is what’s your personal best time, when do you feel best and ready to tackle work, not tired and dragging yourself through the day. If you can get these two times in sync, you’ve got it made!
How Long Will It Take?
Okay, let’s have another look at your list and this time try to work out how much time each task will take, as best as you can estimate at this time. Murphy’s law will interfere and upset things, but if you know this is going to happen, you’ll be prepared for it and although it might slow you down for a little while, but it won’t stop you dead in your tracks! Sort tasks by approximate time required, then when you are ready to do some work you will know which needs doing first and how long it should take to get done.
Now it’s time to plan your start: make a list for the week ahead, pick a project from your ‘most important’ list and put the one you least want to do at the top of the list, just get it out of the way, then add a few more tasks from the same list. Keep your work times in mind, don’t overload yourself, it is a sure way to fall back into your old procrastination habit again!
I think you’ll be amazed at how much you get done when you are working to a plan. What I like to do is this: just stop thinking about any of it, just concentrate on the task at hand, nothing else. Keeping yourself focused makes things go so much smoother and gives you a great sense of achievement when you’re done!