Are you lagging behind in business due to procrastination? If YES, here are 15 practical ways to overcome procrastination and laziness as an entrepreneur.
When you are an employee, there isn’t much room for procrastination because you would usually have superiors breathing down your neck; pressurizing you about deadlines, duties, and all your work obligations, but when you are an entrepreneur, the only person that you have to answer to is yourself.
It is you who determines when you get to work, when tasks are to be completed, and when to take vacations. This absolute independence can breed procrastination because you really have no one to question your actions and decisions so it’s always convenient to push today’s job to tomorrow, and the day after until your productivity level becomes really low and your business begins to suffer.
This is one of the reasons why a lot of new businesses collapse within their first few years of business. When you don’t have a boss or someone to control you or check your actions as an entrepreneur, it is up to you to put those checks on yourself so that you can be a more productive person and fulfilled entrepreneur.
These are 15 helpful tips for you to overcome procrastination and get stuff done.
15 Practical Ways to Overcome Procrastination and Laziness as an Entrepreneur
1. Get to Know Your Most Active Periods: Are you a morning person or a night person? Some people are most active in the mornings while there are some others who find night times, when there are fewer distractions from phone calls and people around them, to be their most active periods.
You don’t have to force yourself to be very active in the morning. If you are that person who finds it really difficult to get out of bed in the morning, then it probably means that you don’t get enough sleep at night and that might mean that you sleep very late.
All these could signify that you are most active at night. Just find out what works for you and stick with it. Taking advantage of your most active period would help you get a lot of work done.
2. Delay Your Most Cherished Activity of the Day until You Get Some Work Done: For most of us, the first thing we do in the day is to grab our phones and probably check our favorite blog, social media account, mails, text messages and so on.
What if you made it a habit to delay this activity that you find to be highly irresistible until you have completed some work tasks for the day?
This would work because since you find a lot of pleasure in checking your mails or your favorite social media account, you would want to get the job over with as soon as possible so that you can get finally get to do what you enjoy. However, you need to be self-disciplined to able to follow through with this plan.
3. Write down all the Ways Procrastination Affects Your Life: Sometimes, you wouldn’t really understand the extent of a problem until you bring it to the forefront of your consciousness.
You have to completely understand how those extra 50 minutes of sleep are affecting your standard of living, health, fulfillment and happiness. So get a piece of paper and start writing all the ways that procrastination has prevented you from achieving something in the past, and all the ways that it can affect your future.
Stick that paper somewhere or write it somewhere on your phone and always read it first thing in the morning. Gradually, you would be able to teach your brain to understand that those extra minutes of sleep are not really worth it.
4. Work in a Productive Environment: There is an increasing number of people who work remotely in today’s business world. Whilst this is a great development, it has built an army of lazy people and terrible procrastinators. Working from home where your television is just few inches away, your bed is just nearby, and your friends and family can walk in at any time, may not be too good for you especially if you are one who has serious procrastination habits.
It’s always easy to say “Hey, the latest episode of Game of Thrones is showing by 12, I’ll just continue with work when I’m done seeing it” or “Oh, my children just walked in, I’ll just play with them for 30 minutes and get back to work” and then 30 minutes turns in 3 hours and you’ve still not completed that task.
Working remotely doesn’t always mean working from your bedroom; you can always find a productive environment like a co-working space, a library, or someplace where you can fully concentrate on your job without distractions.
5. Set Realistic Work Targets: Don’t set work targets that scare you- yes, it’s good to reach for the stars but when you set goals that are too hard, you’re more likely to procrastinate.
Organize your work in such a way that you would always look forward to going to work because the tasks look simple enough and are not so scary. If you’ve studied your procrastination habits carefully, you would have discovered that you tend to procrastinate more when the tasks seem complicated or difficult.
6. Develop a Flexible Schedule: All work and no play makes your procrastinating habits even worse. The human brain is wired in such a way that it requires some periods of pleasure. If you are constantly working, you would get burned out at some point and then your procrastination habits will set in.
Come up with a flexible work schedule that is infused with some fun activities in between work. You can work for an hour, take a 15 minute break where you get to do something fun maybe on your computer or around you, and then work for another 2 hours after which you get to take a 30 minute break to do something that is not work related.
This type of flexible schedule makes work less cumbersome and more pleasurable for you and once something seems like fun, you would less likely to procrastinate.
7. Be Organized: Physical clutter can quickly turn into mental clutter. When you are disorganized, there is a higher chance that you would want to procrastinate because most times you wouldn’t even know where to start your tasks from.
It is always helpful to organize your workspace and schedules first and last thing at work so that it’s always easy to figure out what needs to be done, and where to start from. Being organized puts you in the right mood for work, and helps you to hit the ground running so that there are fewer chances of procrastination.
8. Get Rid of Your Obstacles: Take a moment to think about some of those things that may be getting in the way of work, and causing you to procrastinate.
Could it be the incessant calls from your friends or customers? Could it be the emails you have to stop your work to attend to? You have to figure out some of those things that could be standing as obstacles between you and work and then get rid of them because some of them lead to procrastination.
When you answer calls during work, it might just be a friend on the other end asking you to join them for coffee at a café just around the corner- who’s there to stop you? So of course, you would just tell yourself “I’ll go for just two hours” and then you end up spending the whole day out with your friends when you should be working.
But if your phone was turned off instead, you would have completed most of your tasks for the day before you got that tempting invite, and honoring the invitation wouldn’t get in the way of your business at all.
9. Don’t Think, Just Do It: Thinking too much about tasks and over-analyzing them creates fear that breeds procrastination. When you continue to think about tasks before you do them, it makes the task look harder than it really is until when you eventually start doing them, and then you realize that it wasn’t as difficult as you had thought it would be.
It’s best to just jump right into tasks and avoid over-analyzing them thereby creating unnecessary fear and apprehension that leads to procrastination.
10. Don’t Try to Be a Perfectionist: If you always try to churn out perfect jobs at all times, you would end up procrastinating a whole lot because it’s mostly always impossible to be perfect and trying to be perfect just creates unnecessary stress that leads to procrastination.
11. Keep Your Eyes on The Prize: Always keep the benefits that you stand to derive from completing tasks in time in your mind. If you keep in mind that after completing all the tasks you need to complete, at the end of the month you would be able to afford that beautiful car that you’ve been dreaming about, then it would serve as motivation for you to avoid procrastination so that you can focus on achieving results.
12. Use Positive Self-Talk: Self-talk can be a way to remind your unconscious about the things that are most important to you, and it can also be a way to conquer fear and anxiety that leads to procrastination.
Repeating a short phrase like “I refuse to procrastinate today because I am a go-getter” to yourself several times in a day, can be an effective way to reprogram your mind to stop procrastinating and go for things that you want to achieve.
13. Recognize Excuses: What are those excuses that you keep giving yourself for avoiding work?
- I have a slight headache…………….
- I’m too hungry to work today………………
- The internet is slow today………………
- I’m waiting for the right mood…………….
We all have excuses that we give ourselves for avoiding work. It is important to recognize them as excuses because when you are aware of them, you would be quick to dismiss them as soon as they come to your mind before your mind is able to use them as a tool for procrastination.
14. Reward Yourself: Don’t take results for granted- celebrate them no matter how small you think they are. The human brain is wired to thrive on pleasurable feelings and experiences- if something feels good to you, your brain would always want to support you to keep doing that thing.
This is why people find it hard to get rid of their addictions because their brains don’t want to let go of an activity that it finds to be pleasurable. Similarly when you attach rewards to every task you complete, no matter how little, you would feel less urge to procrastinate.
15. Learn to Forgive Yourself: You must understand that procrastination is a psychological thing- it is a habit that you have developed overtime and it has become a part of you. In the process of trying to fight your procrastination habits, there would be times when you would slip up but when you do, forgiving yourself can help to improve future results.
Learn to forgive yourself and move on quickly when you slip up – focus on the future and understand that there is no quick-fix for fighting procrastination; you need to unlearn the habit slowly, and develop a new one.