Procrastination. Most every business owner out there has done battle with this beast at one time or another in the pursuit of success. More often than not, we come out on top in the end.
But the problem is, procrastination is hardier than your average monster, and it has a bad habit of showing up again the next day, ready for another tussle.
While it’s pretty tough to vanquish this friend for good, here are some simple techniques you can use make the most of your time, more often:
1. Make a To-Do List
Before you leave the office each evening, make a list of the things you’re going to achieve the next day. Be as detailed as you can and break bigger tasks into smaller chunks so you get to cross items off regularly.
2. Stick to It
Unless there are extenuating circumstances, stick to your list. If that means staying a little longer than planned, so be it. If it means clocking off a half hour early, all the better.
3. Put Your Neck on the Block
Set firm deadlines and advertise them to your clients and customers. Sure, it’s easier to say: “It’s going to take me a week or two.” But then you can be pretty sure it’s going to take you two weeks.
4. Find What Works for You
Whether it’s pomodoros or deep-flow marathons, everyone has their own rhythm. Understanding yours can do wonders for your productivity. Always struggle to stay focused around 3pm? Go for a brisk walk or grab a coffee instead. You’ll come back fresher and avoid self-esteem damaging periods where you just can’t seem to keep on task.
5. Overcome the Inertia
When it comes to productivity, it’s starting a task that’s the hardest part. If you can overcome that little hump, more often than not productivity will come.
It’s important to accept you aren’t going to be perfect. Everyone procrastinates at one time or another. And I mean everyone.
Don’t beat yourself up if you have a rough couple of hours, or even a rough day. It’s far better to take a step back and see what went wrong. Were you too tired to concentrate properly? Did you put off a piece of work you find intimidating?
By understanding what’s going wrong, you’re halfway there to putting it right.
And remember, procrastination is a lot like water—a little bit never did anyone any harm, but a lot can kill you (or at least, your business).