Like a lot of people, I find procrastination to be one of the biggest obstacles to building a website and online business. There are a number of strategies that can be implemented (and pretty quickly) if you are prone to it as well. If you exercise discipline, they kick procrastination to the curb and help you to stay focussed.
I got so off track one week that I have since had this picture of a woman trying to balance a pencil between her nose and lip in front of her computer with the caption:
“What are you doing? Are you on Track.”
It’s kind of silly but you would be surprised how much it has helped me!
The strange thing is, I am really good at staying focused when I am at my work but when it comes to actually sitting down and writing for my blog I can easily find any number of excuses to avoid actually getting on and just doing it. Even though I love to write!
… I need to spend time with my partner.
… I have to cook dinner.
… The dogs need to be fed.
… Aw but, my favourite show is on.
John and Missy Butcher’s Lifebook Quest through MindValley had some really good pointers on how to beat procrastination but the one that stuck with me the most was the “not do” list. I have probably misquoted this but you get the point.
The “Not Do” List
You’ve probably heard of the term ‘I-phone’ guilt. I-phone guilt is a now common issue facing parents and spouses alike. We spend far too much time on our phones and most of the time it just unnecessary surfing. Yeah. We feel guilty about it but we still do it. Add this as the first thing on your Not Do list and then keep adding to it. Here are a few more things you could add:
- Checking emails 24/7 – Limit the times of the day that you check emails and let your boss and colleagues know when you will respond with an out of office or some other tool.
- Blah, blah, blah – Try not to spend too much time having rambling conversations that drain you and leave you feeling unmotivated. It’s pretty unproductive as well.
- Sleeping with the Enemy – Stop taking your phone to bed. Apart from the likely EMT’s that you are subjecting yourself to, try to overcome any separation anxiety and leave your phone at home sometimes.
- Answering calls from unknown numbers – I never do this but I know a lot of people that do. Unknown numbers are generally spammers or scammers and a huge waste of your precious time.
- Attendance at meetings that have no agenda or end times – Just don’t do it to yourself. If your boss is the one asking for your attendance, perhaps write the agenda yourself and share with other meeting attendees.
The Not Do list can be as long or as short as you want it but in my view, the longer it is – the more productive you will be.
Plan, Plan and Then Plan Some More
I’ve been really resistant to getting a plan but the more I do/read/study, the more I realise that the saying: “Fail to Plan, then Plan to Fail” is true. Yes, sad but true.
There are heaps of really good templates for putting a plan in place so I won’t bother providing a link because different ones will appeal to different people. Try to start with a simple plan and then build on it. Some things to consider for your plan:
- Your purpose for doing this in the first place
- Set an intention for what you want to achieve
- Goals and milestones
- Important/critical tasks
- Little wins – things you can do quickly and tick off your list
- Task timeframes
- Dates to review progress
- Rewards for tasks achieved – maybe a new pair of shoes?
- Daily action lists
Daily action lists are a really good tool to help you to prioritise but a little more thinking also needs to go into what your priorities for any given day are.
“Instead of saying ‘I don’t have time’ try saying ‘it’s not a priority,’ and see how that feels”Anonymous
This probably should be a heading of it’s own because it’s incredibly important to know what parts of the day you are at your most productive. There isn’t much point in prioritising key tasks if you are planning on ‘fitting’ them in when you are exhausted.
On that note, try not to prioritise emails or voicemails first thing in the morning or last thing at night either. Emailing last thing at night eats into your sleep. In fact, Dr Michael J. Breus (The Sleep Doctor) notes that the bluelight behind smart phones will stimulate the brain and reduces your chances of a good sleep.
Finally, on prioritising. We all have incredibly busy lives these days. If all else fails, make you a priority, be feral with your time and put a “Do not disturb” sign on your door and the world out so that you have the head space to do what you need to do.
Thanks for Reading!