Did the words “stay at home” or “shelter in place” tell you somewhere deep inside that it was time for a break? While taking a couple of days to regroup when our lives are completely thrown off is to be expected, but putting things off because we lose our sense of urgency could be detrimental to our companies.
Picture this: You need to send out a quote for remodeling services to a potential customer. You promise to have it there by Friday, but it’s only Monday so no rush right? Thursday comes around and you force yourself to finally get it done, only to have one distraction after another consume your day. So there you are 9 pm at night scrambling to get it done. Sound familiar? You finally get the bid in, the customer signs on and then as the job starts rolling. However, the joy is short lived when you realize that you forgot about some key materials or you underestimated the cost of labor.
There’s a difference between procrastinating and prioritizing. Great entrepreneurs know how to put the most important tasks first. There’s also a difference between procrastinating and being overloaded with tasks; that’s another problem called delegation (or lack of it), and that’s a topic for a later article.
If you need a little motivation getting things done that you are procrastinating, here are five quick tips. Even if you aren’t a procrastinator, these tips may boost your productivity.
Check your willpower.
Think of your willpower like a tank of gas that you use up every day. By the end of the day, it’s gone. If you leave tasks that you procrastinate until the end of the day when you have no willpower left, chances are they won’t get done. Instead, re-arrange your schedule so that the tasks you are procrastinating on get done on a full tank of willpower, usually in the morning.
Set an internal deadline.
You might respond well to external deadlines when everyone is watching or there are consequences for missing them. If so, then make your internal deadlines external ones by announcing them to the world. Having friends ask you about the deadline will incent you to keep your promise.
Treat your success.
If you completed the task you have been procrastinating, then stop and reward yourself. Your reward should be personal, something you enjoy. Perhaps it’s a spa day, a movie during the week, a long lunch with friends, or just a leisurely walk.
Hopefully you will want more rewards, so you can set a new one for the next tasks you complete.
Break it down.
Sometimes procrastination is the result of feeling like the project is just too big. If you have a large project looming ahead, break it down into smaller pieces that you feel are more manageable.
Find your power hour.
Everyone has a time of day where they perform the best. For early risers, it’s the crack of dawn. For late night owls, it’s past sunset. Find the time of day where you have the most energy and motivation, and plan your difficult tasks accordingly. My personal “power hour” is first thing in the morning. So I make it a priority to be at my desk by 7 am to start powering through the items that take the most brain power or that I just simply dread doing.
Almost everyone procrastinates on their least favorite tasks. Let these tips help you boost your productivity and reduce your procrastination.
What is your biggest struggle when it comes to procrastination? Comment below.