One of the biggest challenges to being self-employed and owning your own business is getting over time management procrastination. It’s just so easy when you’re the boss to let things slide until it’s an emergency and you must absolutely get the task done.
Here are 5 tips to get out of this habit and start being productive today, not tomorrow.
#1. Set Goals that are Achievable but Challenging
Sometimes we procrastinate because the task seems too large to manage. For example, you have an information product to create and just don’t know where to start. Rather than putting “create information product” on your task list, break the project up into several smaller steps that you can complete one at a time. The first step could be “Outline information product” or “Choose title for information product.” These smaller, more attainable goals are easier to accomplish and don’t feel as if they’re looming over your head.
#2. Reward Yourself
Work hard, play hard is the cliché, right? Well take advantage of it. Make a to-do list at the beginning of the week and promise yourself a day off and do something fun when the list is complete.
It’s easier to commit to this reward if you involve other people. For example, if you make an appointment for a massage on Friday, well you had better have your task list done by Thursday night or you’re going to have to cancel on your masseuse and she’ll never book you an appointment again for cancelling at the last minute. You’re making yourself accountable.
#3. Determine What Your Distractions Are
First, figure out what you do to procrastinate. Do you watch television? Run errands? Surf the net? Determine what distracts you. Spend a day or two working, or procrastinating, like you usually do and simply take note of what you do other than work.
#4. Eliminate the Distractions
Once you know what you’re using to procrastinate then it’s time to get tough. For example, if you find that you often let household chores deter you from being productive, schedule a time for household chores. Give yourself thirty minutes at lunchtime to get a chore list completed and then go back to work.
#5. Use Tools to Help You
How many times have you arrived at the end of the day and thought, “What did I do all day”? Time-tracking tools, both online and off, are great for helping you get a clear picture of how you’re spending your time. For example, I use Paymo to keep track of my time. Include absolutely everything you’re doing during your work hours. Once you’ve kept track of your time for several days, you begin to see what time wasters are filling up your day.
If you’re procrastinating because you keep getting distracted, you can use something low-tech like an alarm clock or egg timer, or there are several free online and phone app timers you can use, like Online-Stopwatch (pictured). Set it for thirty minutes and focus on only one task. Work for thirty minutes and when time is up, give yourself ten minutes or so to stretch, walk around the block, put away the clean dishes or something other than work and then go back and set the timer again to continue working on that project or a new one.
Get creative with these tools and ideas and use them to help you stay on task and stop procrastinating.
Your turn! What techniques do you use to keep focused and avoid procrastination?
Administrative and Marketing Consultant