One of the biggest challenges to being self-employed and owning your own business is getting over time management procrastination. It’s just so easy when you’re the boss to let things slide until it’s an emergency and you must absolutely get the task done. Here are a few tips to get out of this habit and start being productive today, and stop waiting for tomorrow:
- Challenge yourself to something achievable (but still challenging). Sometimes we procrastinate because the task seems too large to manage. For example, you have an information product to create and just don’t know where to start.
Rather than putting “create information product” on your task list, break the project up into several smaller steps.
The first one could be, “Outline information product” or “Choose title for information product.” These smaller, more attainable goals are easier to accomplish and don’t feel as if they’re looming over your head.
- Reward yourself (with a day off). Work hard, play hard is the cliché, right? Well take advantage of it. Make a to-do list at the beginning of the week and promise yourself a day off, where you do something fun (for yourself and with your family) when the list is complete. It’s easier to commit to this reward if you involve other people. For example, if you make an appointment for a massage on Friday, well you had better have your task list done by Thursday night or you’re going to have to cancel on your massage therapist. You’re simply making yourself accountable.
- Identify distractions. Find out what you procrastinate with. Do you watch television? Run errands? Surf the net? Determine what distracts you. Spend a day or two working, or procrastinating, like you usually do and simply take note of what you do other than work.
- Eliminate distractions. Once you know what you’re using to procrastinate then it’s time to get a bit tough on yourself. Eliminate the distractions. For example, if you find that you often let household chores deter you from being productive, schedule a time for household chores. This is something I have needed to do – I am easily pulled in to tidying the house. Give yourself thirty minutes to an hour, early in the morning or at lunchtime to get a chore list completed and then go back to work.
- Use tools to help you. Time-tracking tools, both online and off, are great for helping you stay on task. You can, for example, use something as simple as an egg timer. Set it for thirty-five minutes. Work for thirty-five minutes and when the timer dings, give yourself ten minutes or so to stretch, walk around the block, put away the clean dishes or something other than work. Then go back and set the timer again.
Get as creative as you can with these tools and ideas, and use them to help you stay on task and stop procrastinating!