I believe that procrastination happens for a reason. If you can’t focus on something there’s definitely some underlying reason for it. What that may be can differ from person to person or from situation to situation, and my idea behind “beating” procrastination is to identify what that reason is. What it doesn’t mean though, is that you’re lazy or lacking in passion for what you’re doing. In fact, I find it’s the things I’m most passionate about I spend the most time avoiding. I think that probably has a lot to do with imposter syndrome, or the idea that what I eventually produce isn’t going to be good enough.
So if you find yourself repeatedly procrastinating something, ask yourself why? The reason behind it may be the fastest way to beat procrastination. Is it imposter syndrome? Do you just really hate chasing invoices, or sending pitches? Are you bored? Do you need some exercise or a nap?
Here’s a few strategies I use to beat procrastination when it rears its head.
- Write something easy and / or fun on your to do list (but something that still has to be done). When it’s complete you’ll get that sense of accomplishment which you can keep riding onto the less fun tasks
- Create a banger of a playlist that gets you dancing in your seat. For me, that’s 00’s RnB, but for you it may be piano music or a touch of heavy metal! Whatever that is, I find that when I’m distracted with some great tunes, it makes it easier to get through the things I don’t want to do
- A lot of the tasks I procrastinate are usually pretty monotonous and repetitive. These are the ones where I find myself constantly reaching for my phone or opening up a new tab to browse ASOS. On these occasions I honestly find it easier to get things done when I’m watching TV. I think this is because my brain is already half distracted with something else so I forget to wonder what’s happening on Instagram or to see if I can replace those black jeans I ripped a few months ago!
- Throw out the old to do list and start again. Start with just two things. Do those two things. Add another two things and so on and so forth. So much procrastinating can come from task overwhelm, so eliminate the overwhelm and start again. (If you don’t want to throw out the old to do list for fear of forgetting something, just put it out of sight).
- Walk away! That’s right, walk away. There is no point in sitting there, hating yourself for not being able to get anything done. Unless the deadline is dire imminent (I’m talking minutes away), leave it be. Go for a walk, head to the gym, get a coffee or treat yourself to a bit of retail therapy. Come back later with a fresh brain and fresh eyes.
- Delegate. If you’ve identified you procrastinate on things you hate, find someone that loves it to do it for you. And if those things happen to be something to do with digital marketing, let me know 😉
So these are the techniques I use for beating procrastination but I am keen to hear more! Let me know how you cope in the comments below. And remember to always take time for yourself!