Procrastination is defined as “the action of delaying or postponing important tasks.”
Procrastination is a trap, or you can say a killer to your productivity. Every business person/entrepreneur is meant to fall into this trap, unintentionally and hurt their business performance. What is worse is that it can also affect your health? Procrastinating for a long time can lead to demotivation and disillusionment.
The best way to get rid of procrastination is by scheduling your task according to urgency and importance. Always complete the complicated and undesirable projects first. Stick to the schedule and refrain from jumping from one task to another. At the start, it may find you confusing and exhausting. But, trust me, you will be overwhelmed by the results. Make sure to reward yourself along the way (e.g., “once I complete this task, I will give myself a break to go exercise”) and set those milestones ahead of time, so that you’re keeping yourself on track.
What are some tips for entrepreneurs wanting to say goodbye to procrastination?
The main reason why people procrastinate is that they find a task too challenging or too upsetting. That is why breaking down large tasks into smaller ones can help stop procrastination because this will help us see tasks as more doable and more manageable.
If you want to grow your business continuously, it is necessary to find ways to fight and overcome this phenomenon. Here are practical and simple tips from entrepreneurs to get going and achieve your goals.
Stream of Consciousness Journaling
Spend 10 minutes (or less) each morning to journal one page of free-flowing thought (stream of consciousness). This is to help vacate any noisy mind activity that could get in the way of your proper focus for the day. Craig, Founder of Essence & Spark
Stick to a schedule
Let’s say you have a side project you want to work on. If you can consistently work on that project from 5 pm-7 pm nightly, you automatically build a habit that removes the mental friction underlying procrastination. You stop procrastination before it starts. This is probably the most important step to take, no matter how mundane it sounds. The more consistent you can be here, the more effective you’ll find yourself, and the more you will be able to accomplish. The more leeway you give yourself (I can start in a few minutes… I can always do it an hour later today…), the less powerful the effect, as you’re still using mental effort. The point here is to get this as automatic as you can. You don’t want to have to think about it at all. If you’re not thinking about it, you’re not procrastinating, says Craig.
Start where you are
If you need to get something done and you just aren’t feeling it (writer’s block or the equivalent in your chosen profession), the best thing to do is just… start. If you’re an artist, casually swipe a brushstroke or three in Photoshop. If you’re a writer, write a nonsense sentence, then another..then another… You’ll find yourself getting into the process faster than you would expect and do before you know it. Don’t wait for inspiration or for a fully formed idea; just start doing it, whatever it is, says Craig.
Keep building your habits
Once you’ve gotten into a routine, started building the habits, you’ll start feeling pretty good about yourself – what used to be three hours of sitting on a couch followed by 15 minutes of furious typing will turn into getting the work done and then going out for dinner and a movie, relaxed and happy. Don’t get complacent! If you start slipping out of the habit you’ve built, giving yourself a day off here, a week off there….the habit gets destroyed much faster than it’s built, and then you’re back to square one, with the small advantage of knowing what you need to do to get back to peak form (build the habit again). Robert Soares, Founder, Provided.io
Self – Care is number 1 on the list
To stay productive, self-care is the missing piece of the puzzle. Too many times, self-care is neglected because it feels selfish or too much work. Self-care is a multifaceted process of engaging in strategies for greater wellbeing. When you are running on empty, self-care provides the means to increase your reservoir as it helps cope with stress/anxiety, decrease health problems, increase productivity, energy, and the cognitive ability that one needs to be most productive throughout the day. Self-care makes you become more resilient on a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual level. It is not a luxury. It is a lifestyle everyone should adopt in order to live their best life and stay productive. Take time to nurture yourself by exercising, alone time, frequent breaks, walks in nature, meditation, yoga, and other self-care practices. One way to start self-care is to identify one small step you can take right now to begin caring for yourself to be more productive. Dipal Shah, Medical Intuitive, Teacher, Author & Speaker, Ananda 4 Life, LLC
Learn to manage your time
Procrastination is closely tied to time management (or a lack of it). The better you manage your time, the less likely you are to procrastinate; you will have time for everything that you need to do. It is as simple as that. Best time management practices include:
Eliminating distractions that keep you from doing meaningful work.
- Having a solid priority list.
- Being selfish with your time.
As an entrepreneur, a lot is demanding your attention, but you must practice the habit of identifying what needs your time and energy, what you need to say ‘no’ to, what can be delegated, and what is simply a distraction. Paul, founder of Intrinsic Executive Search
Find a time blocking tool that works for you
Something that I’ve found essential for productivity (and not procrastinating) is using the Pomodoro method for time-blocking my workdays that are more content/computer-driven. The Pomodoro method involves a series of blocks (called “Pomodoros”) that combine a period of work with a “break.” For example, when I’m working through my task list, I’ll work on a project for 25 minutes, and then will take a 5-minute break. I’ll repeat this pattern 3 more times (a grand total of two hours), and then I’ll take a longer break – roughly 20-30 minutes. Then, I’ll return to the pomodoros when I’m ready to return to work. This method really breaks up the monotony of workdays and allows you the “breaks” to fit in things like movement, mindful eating, and giving your eyes a rest from the screen! I just set a quick alarm on my phone or computer for each time period so I know when it’s time to take my break.
Time blocking methods help reduce the overwhelm many entrepreneurs experiences when trying to work through seemingly endless task lists and projects, and it keeps you focused on a given task for a reasonable period of time. I make sure to get up and move, stretch, and hydrate every time a break hits. On longer breaks, I’ll eat my meals away from my computer, make some calls, or walk my dog and get some steps in. Dr. Laura DeCesaris, Founder of Health & Performance Strategist
Manage and protect at all costs your own calendar
The most valuable asset any of us have is our time. As an entrepreneur that is my blessing but could be my curse. I have control over my own calendar; from choosing my own hours to working remotely from mountain tops or sandy beaches. On the flip side, it may prove more likely that work will dominate my life, and the lines between personal and professional can all but disappear without proper management. This can pose all types of challenges from burnout to procrastination. The approach of diligently managing your calendar empowers you to take control of productivity and work/life balance. It makes sense that we block off time for meetings, planning, and strategy… However, we should not overlook the time management of our personal lives. Ultimately, it has been my experience that when my personal life is also scheduled, I feel fulfilled and more dialed in to my work leading to greater productivity and less procrastination. Perhaps the most rewarding benefit is that we have the opportunity to schedule time for self-care every day! An entrepreneur’s life is everything but predictable, that said it is easier not to procrastinate when you have a definitive start and stop times – even if you don’t stick to them they provide structure to your day. David Goldberg Founder and CEO of Curos Health
Figure out your three tiny steps
Break your important task into three small steps. Make it a game. Reward yourself every time you accomplish one of them. Doing this will remind you that this is something you want to do. It’s in the service of your vision. It works great because small steps are still steps. When you get yourself to move, you make it easier to take, and your sense of accomplishment will motivate you going forward, says Izolda
Get some rest
Sometimes, you’ve worked too hard for too long. Go for a walk. Clear your head. Take a 20-minute power nap. Set a timer for 20 minutes. But before you lay your head down, ask your subconscious to work the problem for you. When you wake up, you’ll have a clearer perspective and more energy to get going and do what you want to do. Izolda Trakhtenberg, an entrepreneur and an author.
Take days off
Everyone needs time to rest and reset; entrepreneurs are no different. While it can be tempting to give in to hustle culture, overwork will inevitably take its toll–mentally and physically. While it may sound counterintuitive, taking a day or two off each week and schedule breaks and lunches throughout the working day will lead to better work and less procrastination. Jordan, COO of Resumoo
Get real with yourself
Procrastination most often comes from a sense of overwhelm and anxiety. Starting and running a business requires a lot of work, especially at first, but if you’re struggling to keep up–or get started–you may be trying to do too much too soon, says Jordan.
Follow your energy cycle
Everyone has their unique way of working. Whether you’re a night owl or you simply hate Mondays, stop fighting your nature and flow with it instead. Not a morning person? Limit your meetings to after lunch and give yourself a morning grace period. Little alterations can make a huge change in mood and attitude. Doing the work that takes the most energy when you have the most energy will stave off procrastination before it begins, says Jordan.
Organize your task according to priority
Organize your day in a way that prioritizes all the most daunting tasks first. The key to staying on task is to ensure you complete your assignments efficiently and promptly. Often, we find ourselves putting off tasks we view as difficult, complicated, or tedious by worrying or over planning. This puts us at a disadvantage when we lookup. We’ve managed to distract ourselves from the most pertinent responsibilities. If you take a step back and realize how much time you have put into stressing, you understand that the task could have been completed instead of stressing about it being incomplete. If you resolve to put the most challenging tasks at the forefront of your day, you will increase your productivity by knocking out the more stress-inducing assignments ahead of time. Kevin Miller Entrepreneur & Angel Investor
Anyone can adopt these skills. If a consistent effort is made, the results you achieve in your life will astound you.