Nearly all freelancers have been bitten by the procrastination bug at some point in their career.
If procrastination is taking its toll on your success and productivity, here are seven tried-and-tested tips to get a hold of your procrastination before it gets a hold of you! 👇
1. Plan Your Days In Advance
Time management skills are very important when you work for yourself.
If you struggle to figure out where all your time goes in a day, maybe you should plan your daily or weekly tasks in advance. Waiting until the day to decide what needs to get done usually results in a whole lot of nothing getting done.
You can even block out certain times of day if you know you design the best in the evening, or write better during the morning, for example.
2. Write Down Your Priorities
Studies have proven that physically writing down your goals increases your chances of actually finishing them. Maybe because it makes them harder to ignore.
Plus, it takes the burden off you to constantly try and remember what you need to get done today. Breaking your work up into visible reminders will keep you focused on action. Doesn't matter if it's paper or digital, use whatever works best for you but don't get too fancy with it. Keep it simple & easy to follow.
3. Write a "Not To Do" List
All those little habits and distractions that throw you off your game... write them down on a giant "Not To Do" list that you can review everyday before you start work.
Just the act of writing this list can help you discover small distractions and random things that get in the way of being productive. Once you're aware of the problem, it becomes much easier to avoid.
4. Do The Hardest Thing First
Procrastination LOVES to leave the hardest thing until last.
Problem is, the more time you spend avoiding the work... the harder the work becomes.
So don't waste any extra energy worrying about it, just get it done and thank yourself later. Finishing the hardest thing first will give you the strength to get through the rest of your work and be your happiest, most productive self.
Think of how proud you'll feel of yourself for tackling your biggest challenge head on. Imagine how easy the rest of your day will be once that big project hanging over you disappears. The sooner you start, the sooner you'll finish.
5. Build A Routine
One of the keys to success is consistency. Creating a work routine around your best hours for work is the best thing you can do to get over procrastination for good.
If you're a morning person, you could wake up early and get all your work done by lunch time so you can take afternoons free. Or if you work better at night, block out a chunk of time that you will spend at your desk every evening working on a specific project until it's complete. Knowing yourself is the key to creating a routine that works for you.
Nicole, Designer & Copywriter: I take short breaks. I like to clean, so I'll do the dishes, vacuum, then get back to work. These little refreshers break up the day and make me feel more whole by the end of the evening.
6. Bribe Yourself
When all else fails and you just can't find the strength... bribe yourself!
You are your own boss, after all. Who doesn't love to feel rewarded for good work? Plus, if you have something to look forward to, getting that work done won’t seem like such a burden after all. Next time you need an little extra boost... try giving yourself a little gift in exchange for getting stuff done.
Here are some gifts/bribes to get you started:
A delicious snack
An afternoon nap
One episode of your favorite TV show
A fantastic cup of coffee
7. Discover The Cause
Most experienced freelancers will tell you that forcing creativity doesn't work. If you're missing the energy or inspiration needed to complete a certain task, there's usually a good reason for it.
It might have something to do with how you're really feeling deep down about that particular project or client. Maybe you've been pushing yourself a bit too hard and need to reassess your work schedule. Or maybe your priorities have changed and that work no longer inspires you.
Esther, Business Owner: I definitely lose my mojo sometimes and have to dig into why I am feeling this way. Usually it’s because I’ve been working too much and not balancing it with other things I also enjoy. It can also be because I'm trying to take on too much and it’s uncomfortable or I need to adjust something I’m currently offering because it’s no longer enjoyable.
There you have it!
Seven of the most effective methods we know for dealing with procrastination in a way that doesn't leave you feeling burnt out and angry.
We hope this blog post gets you one step closer to conquering the dreaded procrastination demon. (Don't worry - it gets us all.)
You've got this! 💪
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