As I sit here staring at my to-do list, I notice that I have been procrastinating for the past half hour. Between social media, email pings and that catchy tune to the song playing in the background, it is so easy to lose focus and become distracted.
As an entrepreneur, procrastination can suck the life out of you and your business if you let it become a habit. As a business owner, it can be difficult as there are so many tedious and time consuming tasks which need to be completed, particularly in the first few years of your start up. To beat the habit of procrastination, it’s all about getting your mind and habits trained to get things done today instead of putting them off for tomorrow which inevitably never seems to come.
I have trained my brain to catch myself when I procrastinate. Here are my 5 top tips to eliminate the unproductivity caused by procrastination.
- Write a to-do list:
A “to-do list” gives you direction for the day. It helps with your time management and typically minimises procrastination. It is important to keep your to-do list achievable. There is nothing more de-motivating than having a list filled with items which you know you won’t have time to achieve. It is about the quality of your actionable items over the quantity of them. Be strategic in what you spend your time on.
- Do what you dread first thing in the morning:
Once I have prioritized my to-do list, I complete the most important and toughest task first. The longer you have the hardest task or the task which you don’t want to do on your to-do list the more you will procrastinate throughout the day. It’s important to set achievable goals to complete the tasks which you don’t enjoy doing.
- Allocate time in the day to get some exercise & eat healthy:
Healthy life = healthy mind. Food is your brains fuel to work. Although an easy and sometimes cheaper option, carbs and fatty foods are a poor choice as it gives you a spike of energy before providing a massive low leaving you lethargic and lose focus. Eating a healthy lunch, with low GI foods, allows your energy levels to be maintained for the rest of the day, providing you with a clear mind and motivation to do what you need to do.As difficult as it can be, you have to take time away from your desk. This provides clarity and kicks up your energy levels. Go for a 10min walk after lunch. Grab some fresh air and come back to your desk refreshed and ready to work.
- Make time to have a conversation with someone in the office:
As a start-up business, this may be difficult if you are working from the home office. This is where a coworking space becomes so valuable. It is important for you to get a different perspective on what it is that you’re working on. Having an easy 10min conversation whilst grabbing a coffee or a bite to eat, can spark something in your mind which takes you in a direction which you battled to achieve.
- Limit the time you check your phone – particularly your social channels
For some of you, social media is your job, this doesn’t mean checking your own personal social feeds is a good idea during the work day. This is a procrastination tool of note and can be incredibly distracting for your day. I try to limit checking my phone to once an hour. I have my phone on silent all day, so when a message comes through I do not here it. I have my phone calls set to vibration so if it rings and it’s a business call, I don’t miss the call. Being in such a connect world, it is difficult to switch off and break the habit of checking your phone but you and your business will thank you for it later.
There are many blogs out there which talk to the scientific tactics to stop procrastination. These 5 steps have helped me break the habit of being a procrastinator which procrastinates and my business thanks me for being more focused and productive.
If you are in or near the Sutherland Shire come and say hello at Inspire Cowork, we’d love to meet you. Contact us today.