Cathy White, Negosentro | Putting things off until the last minute or avoiding doing work you don’t want to do is well-known as procrastination. Everyone procrastinates about something, whether it’s having a difficult talk with a friend or employee, balancing the books or doing taxes for a business, or seeing a doctor about a health problem. When procrastination becomes a habit and impacts productivity, however, it’s time to make some changes.
Reasons for procrastination
There are almost as many reasons for procrastination as there are people who make a habit of it. The reasons for this unproductive habit fall into several broad categories, however.
Fear of failure is often cited as the most prevalent reason for procrastination. Related to that is the fear that the result of work performed won’t be perfect. The visualized impact of an imperfect result of a sales call, a marketing campaign or a financial change on the business and on you as the owner or manager as well is a strong incentive to put off taking action.
Some people resent feeling as though they need to do something at a particular time or in a particular manner. If you grew up under the influence of an authoritarian parent or other adult, you’re likely reveling in your ability to determine when to you’ll do something, even if that choice ultimately hurts your business.
Finally, some people simply enjoy the rush of adrenaline working up against a tight deadline provides. You may not be worried at all about failure or perfection, but instead like the thrill of meeting a seemingly impossible deadline rather than working routinely and predictably on the task each day.
How to stop procrastinating
Hundreds of books have been written on ways you can stop procrastinating, but most experts agree on some basic steps that can help. Making a list is the first step toward breaking the habit of procrastination. Writing down the things that you’re avoiding doing can help you focus on what needs to be done.
If there is something on the list that can be done immediately, go ahead and do it. This will help give you the encouragement you need to continue working on items that you’ve avoided for so long. Commit to working on at least one, if not two or three, items on the list each day until they are completed.
Finally, give yourself permission to be imperfect. You won’t do everything exactly right the first time or possibly even the twenty-first time, but you’ll have done something. If you try something that fails, analyze what went wrong and try again. You’ll be joining the rest of the human race in working, imperfectly, toward your goals.
How to become more productive
Even after you’ve started breaking the habit of procrastination, you may not know how to be more productive. As you take a look at people who inspire you, you’ll see there are several steps you can take to improve what you accomplish each day for your business.
Just as making a list is helpful in avoiding procrastination, it plays a key role in helping you become more productive. Taking just 15 minutes at the end of the day to plan the next day’s tasks can help you get a good start on your goals. Emergencies and unexpected diversions will arise, but a list will help you get back on track as soon as possible.
Avoiding distractions is another important way to become more productive. Setting a schedule and sticking to it will bring impressive results. Staying away from the internet, social media and similar distractions can also help you accomplish more tasks in less time.
Give yourself time to rest and refresh for short periods throughout the workday. It’s tempting to try to do as much as possible in the shortest time, but producing quality work for a certain amount of time and then taking a break can bring better results.
Procrastination and impaired productivity are enemies of the self-employed entrepreneur, but some of these simple steps can help you overcome these enemies. When you follow these steps regularly, you’ll see increased productivity and success is sure to follow.