Business Productivity

Five tips to beat procrastination

- April 17, 2010 2 MIN READ

Is procrastination stifling your creativity, causing you stress, or tethering all your wonderful dreams? Here are five tips to help you beat procrastination, once and for all.

1. Make one teeny, tiny, little start

Sometimes a simple task can explode into something big and scary simply because you haven’t made a start. So, just take a really small first step, whether it’s making one quick phone call, writing one paragraph of a long proposal or reading one page of a very large document.

The point of this exercise is that by starting, you’ll realise that your project is not so big and scary after all, and you’ll probably end up finishing the task much faster than you’d anticipated.

2. Banish perfectionism

Have you ever said to yourself, “I won’t follow that dream just yet because I’m not good enough”? And then, do you proceed to never actually get good enough to reach your goal?

Don’t worry – you’re not alone! Procrastination afflicts most of us because it feasts on perfectionism.

To limit perfectionism, try the following:

  • Expect and accept that your first attempt may not be great. (But guess what? It probably will be great because you removed your high expectations).
  • Tell yourself that doing something, anything, is far better than doing nothing at all.

Want more articles like this? Check out the time management tips section.

3. Start at the end

I was asked to write a series of business tag lines a few months ago. I love writing tag lines, but I found it hard to get started due to the complexity of the project.

So I started with the end first. I wrote an email to my client that went something like this: “Thank you for contacting me to write your tag lines. Even though your industry is completely foreign to me, I enjoyed the process of researching and writing and I’m very happy with the end result.”

I believed every word I wrote! As soon as I finished writing the email, I launched into the research and the writing, and the first draft was finished by the next day.

4. Make a list

I love lists. They’re not for everyone, but they usually work for me. If I write something down on a list then I really want to put a line through it.

5. Give yourself an earlier deadline

In reality, we all fluff around on tasks far more than we need to. If we’re told to complete something in a week, then we complete it in a week. If we’re told to complete the same task in a day, it’ll get done in a day. We just stretch the task out to fit the length of the deadline.

To get things moving and beat procrastination, create your own earlier deadline, and make yourself accountable to someone to meet that deadline – you’ll find an excellent guide to making this principle work for you in this article.

If your task doesn’t have a deadline, then it’s time to set one!

Procrastination can debilitate your business, but if you can beat procrastination your business will truly blossom.

How do you beat procrastination in your business? Leave a comment today – it doesn’t have to be perfect, and you can start with just one teeny, tiny, word. What are you waiting for?