Hello everyone. My name is Lydia + I used to be a chronic procrastinator.
Come on, admit it.
You’ve struggled too (or you wouldn’t be reading this blog post, cheeky!).
I used to constantly put things off for later. This ridiculous addiction can make us feel guilty every…single…day…
It’s kind of crazy really – because I naturally LOVE making lists + giving myself things to do.
Ticking off completed tasks is quite possibly the best feeling ever – am I right?
So WHY did I find it so hard to just get it done?
This 5 step (simple + effective) guide will help you find your way out of this frustrating habit:
- IDENTIFY THE ENEMY
Answer the question (very honestly): Why are you lingering? In other words, which specific type of tasks do you usually delay?
For example, when ‘file the tax return’ is on my to-do list, I’m more likely to voluntarily spend an afternoon at the dentist before that even gets thought about.
Instead of thinking ‘man, I’ll feel great when this is done‘, I will jump on instagram + fall deeeeeeeeep in to the scroll hole.
Then I come back to the real world and realise I just got sucked in to dog memes for 45 minutes rather than doing my bloody tax return. Dammit!
If you feel yourself unable to start an important task – first of all, put your pesky little phone face down away from you.
Get up and move for 10 minutes.
Have a walk outside.
Take a real r.e.f.r.e.s.h of the old brain.
Top Tip: Order your tasks and ALWAYS start with the ones you want to do least. I promise you, getting these out of the way will clear your headspace for the rest of the day!
You’ll feel accomplished + happy to finish the ‘nicer’ tasks you are more positive about.
2. DETERMINE INTERIM OBJECTIVES:
OK – this is is the one I struggled with most.
I would always look at the major end goal and think SH*T, to complete this I need to do 500,000 small tasks + that is never going to happen.
Too big a goal can scare you + lead to the world’s worst procrastination.
SO SPLIT THAT BABY UP!
You know the quote ‘Greatness is a lot of small things done well, every day‘? – this is also true for tasks.
You’re guaranteed major mind-fog if you can’t focus on 1 specific part of the task due to feeling overwhelmed with all the rest.
Be kinder to yourself + spend time on each little task + you’ll be incredibly proud of the finished product.
I promise you that!
3. FOLLOW ‘YOUR’ BEST SCHEDULE
The time and location we choose to work as a freelancer has a BIG impact on how much we procrastinate.
We all have those times of day (which look different for everyone!) where we switch off + just want to do anything other than our task list.
So, to find YOUR perfect schedule, check out section 3 on this blog post which dives deep in to this topic. (Staying Motivated As A Freelancer)
Happy scheduling, honey!!
4. INSTALL A DEADLINE
Setting deadlines urges you to complete a task on time. FACT. (It may not be an actual ‘fact’ but it should be. It has helped me so so SO much!).
It doesn’t matter whether you are employed, a freelancer, a business owner… We ALL need to be setting ourselves deadlines.
For example – in a morning I am very happy to check my emails + start responding right away, it feels great to catch up… BUT, after around 20 minutes I tend to lose focus on the task and once again get stuck down the damn scroll hole (instagram really is the procrastination devil).
So now, I set my timer.
I have 25 minutes to blast out as many email replies as I can, whilst not being able to pick up my phone.
Somehow in our crazy little heads, it really does help to set ourselves these boundaries!
Even though nobody would ever know if we did any different. We like to make ourselves proud!
So, give it a go.
Set timers for your smaller tasks + set yourself a deadline to have the bigger task finished by.
Even tell one of your accountability buddies to give you a kick up the ass if you’ve not completed it in your set time.
This always works for me.
5. APPOINT A REWARD
What award do you give yourself when completing a dreaded task?
For example, when I finally finish that dreaded task return, I reward myself.
This could be an hour at my favourite yoga class I never feel I have the time for, a chocolate bar (Fruit + Nut Dairy Milk, is there anything more perfect?), or even just to sit down + watch a good chick-flick with a good cuppa’tea.
And absolutely do not skimp on praise, girlfriend.
Who’s great? You’re great! Who completed the worst task of all time? YOU DID!
It’s awesome to dream of success and great achievements, but let’s face it… dreams will remain dreams until you get down to work.
Take action – in small but sure steps – and procrastination will lose it’s magical power.
You Got This, Boo !