Have you ever had a task that you would postpone days on end? Well, I know I had, and quite frankly more often than I would like to admit. Just a couple of days ago my girlfriend asked me to go with her shopping and I said I can’t, I’m busy working on my blog. But the truth is I wasn’t actually getting anything done, I was just sitting at my laptop and looking at what needed to be done.
This has happened to me a lot of times and what’s worse about it is that a simple task that could have taken me 1 or 2 hours to complete, ended up wasting all of my day.
Yes I know, I have a huge problem with overcoming procrastination.
In this post I’ll be sharing a couple of tips which I’ve just recently started to put in practice and which have helped in increasing my productivity online.
For me, as for other people I’m sure it’s important to make the most out of the time we spend working on our websites, social media, creating content, especially if you’re working online only part-time and still need a day job to put food on the table.
So let’s do this! Before I decide to write this post next week.:)
1. Focus on Starting not on Finishing
Think about when you’re trying to push a car. The hardest part would be to just get the wheels rolling. At first this would seem like a difficult task overall, but if you focus all your energy to get it moving, the momentum will make everything else a lot easier.
If you focus too much on finishing a project, whether it’s a blog post, or website, you can sometimes become overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done and before you know it you decide to do it another day.
Whenever I’m writing a blog post all my concentration goes into creating the first paragraph. Because once I have that written down, everything else flows easily.
What I do, is write the first paragraph in Notepad, so I’m not distracted by anything, and then once I’m happy with it I copy/paste it into my WP editor and take a 5 minute break. This is something I’ve been doing for the last month now and I can definitely notice that the time I spend on writing posts has decreased. Before this, it took me up to 2-3 days to finish a post.
Now, this strategy can be applied to whatever project or task you might have. All you need to remember is too focus on the immediate action. If you’re just starting focus on completing the first step of the process. And then the second step, and so on.
2. Avoid Information Overwhelm
With all the free information that’s available online, all the tutorials, all the ebooks, all the guides, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed and lose track of what you should do to improve your online business.
Sometimes you just got to stop reading and start taking action.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you need to stop learning, for me learning is the biggest investment you can make to improve yourself as a blogger and as an online marketer.
The key to not getting overwhelmed by information which can lead you to procrastinate or worst quit all together is to only learn what you can immediately apply to your business.
So next time you see an email telling you to read that blog post or check out an ebook or a course, ask yourself “Is this information going to help me with what I need to do right now?”. If not, then don’t read it, you won’t lose anything except valuable time which could be spent on things that apply to what your doing right now.
Trust me I’ve made this mistake, not once, but lots of times, and I can tell you that overwhelming yourself with information that does not apply to what your doing right now will only give you an excuse to avoid doing what you actually need to do.
3. Aim for Progress not Perfection
“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.” Leo Tolstoy Tweet this
One of the things that lead me to postpone tasks and procrastinate was that if I couldn’t finish a blog post or setup a site that day I wouldn’t start at all. And this points back to the first tip, focusing on starting and not on finishing.
Sometimes we say “Oh no, I won’t be able to finish this today, I better leave it for tomorrow”. And tomorrow something else might come up and the thing you wanted to take care of ends up being pushed back.
When I started commenting on other blogs I said I would leave 10 comments each day. But there where days when I was so busy that I didn’t have the time to leave 10 comments. I told my self, I’ll leave 20 comments tomorrow. And tomorrow came and sure enough I didn’t have the time to leave 20 comments, and so on I kept postponing this.
Instead of putting something off because you don’t have time to finish it, try getting at least “x” amount of work done. If I can’t leave 10 comments today, fine I’ll leave only 5, but I’m getting some work done.
If you wait until something is perfect, you will wait forever. What seems perfect for me, might not be that perfect for you.
If you’re working on a course or an ebook or maybe a simple tutorial video, stop asking yourself what if this or what if that, just put it out there, it might not be perfect for you but maybe that’s exactly what people were looking for.
4. Hold Yourself Accountable
Holding yourself accountable for your actions is another way you can avoid procrastination.
What I suggest is to find a community within your niche and partner up with other people. Set up challenges for each other that have rewards and consequences.
For example Darren Rowse from Problogger.net creates group writing projects for his readers. The winner always get’s a reward prize, and having a little competition will always provide you with that little extra motivation to get things done.
You can form a Facebook group or a Google+ community where you share your goals with the other members and report each thing you have accomplished.
If everyone in the community shares their breakthroughs it will definitely motivate you to work harder so that you have something to share with your community.
I’m sure you’ve experienced how a little competition can motivate you to finish projects faster, so I why not put yourself in that position once in a while.
Let’s do a quick recap of the 4 steps that can help you overcome procrastination.
1. Focus on starting, not on finishing.
2. Avoid information overwhelm.
3. Aim for progress, not perfection.
4. Hold yourself accountable.
If at least one of these tips has stuck with you then I’ve managed to do a good job with this post.
And if you know other strategies that have helped you overcome procrastination please share them in your comments. I’d love to hear all about it.