Procrastination – how to get out of your own way so you can move forward in business

Do you struggle to take action in your business? 

Do you feel as if you are constantly putting things off or leaving them to the last minute? 

Procrastination can often feel like a brick wall that we continue to run up against. It can become a vicious cycle, and the more you put off a task or action item, the more “analysis paralysis” you find yourself having. 

So, how can you overcome procrastination in your business? Keep reading to learn more! 

Firstly, why do we procrastinate? 

While many may see procrastination as a serious problem in their business, it’s actually more commonly a symptom of a different, underlying problem, or set of problems! 

Often, these underlying problems can relate to struggling with perfectionism, fearing failure, or not being in a state or environment that brings out your best in your work. These are just some of the reasons why we may put off tasks and action items, and if you can get to the root of the problem, you’ll find yourself moving forward in leaps and bounds. 

What can you do to overcome procrastination?

To overcome procrastination, the first thing you need to do is identify the underlying problem that’s causing you to procrastinate in the first place. 

Here are just a few problems you may be encountering:

1. You struggle with perfection. 

If you spend your life trying to meet a “perfect standard”, you are not alone. Often, perfectionism stems from childhood or early adulthood, when you experienced negative repercussions of doing something wrong, or not to a high enough standard, and develop a belief that anything less than perfect isn’t enough. 

The unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves as a result, mean we constantly fear criticism, or worry that our work is never up to scratch. Our businesses are then impacted because our standard of execution is so high, we struggle to produce anything that’s “good enough”. 

So, what can you do? 

Firstly, identify where your perfectionist tendencies are coming from. Then, set yourself a task to publish or send off work that is to a standard of GREAT, instead of perfect. When you realise that your version of great is good enough, you’ll free yourself from needing to get everything perfect the first go (and you’ll likely notice positive feedback from others as a result)! 

2. You fear failure.

Fear of failure is, on a deeper level, similar to struggling with perfection. Often stemming from a young age, you may have had a negative experience when you “failed”, and this has caused you to carry that into adult life. But this fear can stop us from taking great steps in our businesses, because we worry that people will judge us if we make a mistake, or get something wrong. 

So, what can you do? 

Reframe the word “failure” to “learning”. Instead of seeing the negatives in failing, look for the positives. Without failing in business, we will never learn the lessons required to move forward or take things to the next level. If we were to constantly get things “right”, we wouldn’t grow. 

3. Your environment is holding you back. 

Whether it’s a chaotic work environment, or you aren’t giving yourself the space you need to allow for creativity, your environment and surroundings can stop you from actioning your to-do list. It’s important to build healthy habits into both your personal and work routines, so that you can get the best from yourself. 

What does this mean? 

Keeping a clean and clear desk, blocking out time to go for a walk or clear your head, and planning what you need to do ahead of time, can help you get into a state that stops procrastination in its tracks. 

Our tips to overcoming procrastination and getting work done

Building a healthy foundation to work from is what is going to help you move forward and get more work done in your business. Overcoming procrastination is as much about the preparation to working, as it is about doing the work itself! 

Here’s some tips to help you succeed: 

  • Plan your schedule in advance: Look at your week ahead and allocate time to work on the most important tasks in your business. Remember to be realistic about the time commitments of your tasks, and don’t spread yourself too thin.
  • Block out time for you throughout the day. What is it that you need to do to get the best from yourself? Is it a daily walk, meditation, eating a nice lunch, or time outside to relax? Book this into your schedule to ensure it’s not pushed to the wayside. 
  • Create daily and weekly intentions. It’s so easy to get carried away with our own expectations of what is achievable for the week. But, the more overwhelming your to-do list, the more likely you are to procrastinate. Set aside small intentions, of 2-3 tasks each day that you’d like to accomplish, and work toward achieving them.
  • Find an accountability buddy. Do you rebel against your own schedule? Find an accountability partner who you can check in with throughout the day. An accountability buddy should be someone who will give you honest feedback, and help keep you motivated and working toward your goals. 
  • Work around your natural energy peaks and troughs. Think about when you feel the most energetic and produce your best work. Is it in the morning, in the middle of the day, or in the evening? You want to plan your day around working when you’re at your energy peaks, and use your energy troughs throughout the day to do the less important or less focussed tasks, like answering emails or business admin. 
  • Keep your phone and computer on “do not disturb”. One of the biggest barriers to productive work is distractions. It’s easy to become tempted to check your emails or social media while you should be working on those important tasks. Pop your phone and computer on “do not disturb” or airplane mode, so that the constant pings and notifications don’t take your focus. 
  • Try the Pomodoro Technique. If you struggle to sit down and focus on the job at hand, the Pomodoro technique might just work for you. This technique consists of 25 minutes blocks of “focus time” with a 5 minute reward at the end. Working on one task, you will set your timer for 25 minutes, take your 5 minute break, and then reset the timer for as many rounds as required until the task is complete. This will help you stay focussed on completing your daily intentions, and lead to you finishing work, instead of juggling a number of half-finished jobs. 
  • Remember, done is better than perfect, and failure equals learning. Keep working toward being kind to yourself, and setting a standard for yourself that is excellent, and not perfect. The more you practice this, the easier it will become, and you’ll likely find yourself in a state of productivity, instead of procrastination. 

If you struggle with procrastination, these are just some of the tips you can adopt to help you move forward in your business. As always, good things take time, so we recommend that you try a few of these methods, and find the ones that work best for you.