How to Stop Procrastinating
The not so secret solution for how to stop procrastinating in business.
Before we get started, we need to agree on what we mean by procrastination and what it looks like in the real world. In its most basic form it's an ongoing challenge between instant gratification and future rewards (goals/dreams). Often there's a fear-based element or a lack of confidence hiding behind the symptoms that need addressing - I'll talk more about this later and how I can help you extract this root cause and start living the life you deserve.
Example 1: Instant Gratification
Our amazing entrepreneur wants her new business ready to rock by the end of this year. She's planned to write content for the grand opening = future goal.
There's a bottle of wine in the fridge, her other half is on the sofa watching that Netflix series everyone is talking about = instant gratification.
Netflix and chill wins.
Procrastination 1, future rewards 0.
Example 2: ProcrastiWorking
Today our amazing entrepreneur starts working on the content for her new business, but half an hour later she's tinkering with the website. Once she's happy with the changes made, she moves on to scrolling through Facebook, commenting on posts and sending messages.
Remembering that she should be working on content she goes back to the content plan and decides that it needs more research. Or could she even find a copywriter to do it for her...?
Five o'clock rolls up and she hasn't written a single word - but she's done a lot of work.
Procrastiworking 1, future rewards 0.
5 Proven Methods To Stop Procrastinating
1. Set Deadlines with Rewards & Punishment
If you're great at working under pressure, set deadlines. Reward yourself if you hit the deadline or punish yourself for missing it.
Give yourself motivating rewards for hitting your deadline. The bigger the achievement the bigger the reward. But don't overlook the value of more regular small rewards for little tasks. This should be a small reward but big enough to give your brain a buzz. The more you stimulate that dopamine hit in exchange for achievement - the better your habits will become.
Each time you do this it leaves you free to do whatever you want outside working hours.
This takes some serious self honesty. Meaning that if the deadline has passed and the work hasn't been done, the "punishment" must be carried out. Here's my favourite example of a punishment:
Donate to a cause you hate
This is simple. If the thing doesn't get done, you donate money to an organisation that you absolutely hate. Imagine how you'll feel when you get a letter from them thanking you for the money...
Procrastination rules the day until the deadline gets closer and the fear of having to <insert really nasty punishment of choice here> looms large.
2. Find yourself an Accountability Partner
Set up an online meeting via Zoom or Facebook. You do your work and your accountability partner does hers. You both have your cameras on so you can see each other getting stuff done. Set the timer and start grafting.
You'll feel like a complete douche bag if you arrange to meet up and get shit done, then don't show. Your Accountability partner now has the right to call you out in your favourite online forum
3. Remove the temptation
This is a radical but effective step to beating procrastination.
You got a Netflix contract? Cancel it. Watching too much TV, give it away, cut the plug off. Put it somewhere inconvenient so it becomes a huge pain to set it up.
Get rid of all the distractions on your phone. All OF THEM.
4. Break Down Your Work Into Smaller Tasks
Take the task you have and break it into small bite sized chunks - ten minutes each tops. Give yourself a small reward for each completed chunk.
Let's say you have a report to write. Break it down into a task that will take around 10 minutes to complete. Every time you complete a section, give yourself a small reward.
Doesn't matter what it is, that's up to you. But your brain will start to think "Oh, yeah, I like this, I can do this. I want more of this feeling."
What if these ideas don't work for you?
I'm a firm believer that everyone who procrastinates has a reason for doing so. I call this the root cause. The female entrepreneur who lost to Netflix & Chill above had her own root cause, and we worked together to resolve it. Effectively and permanently.
Everyone's reason is different. Perhaps you grew up in a household where one of your parents was always working and never home and your subconscious is telling you not to achieve your goals because it'll only lead to a less time with your partner... or maybe you suffered abuse and you don't believe that you deserve to succeed. This is the sort of "root cause" that can make kicking procrastination into touch very difficult indeed - but I'm glad to tell you that because the root is in the unconscious mind, it's very straightforward to resolve using Hypnotherapy.
If you believe that you may have a root cause that's getting in the way of you achieving your goals, then drop me a line or book a free consultation.