Get the business you want, without the insanity: Download my free report

Overcoming Procrastination: Effective strategies to stop procrastinating and get things done

overcoming procrastinationOvercoming procrastination is a goal for many professionals who come to business coaching. Not surprising, since business owners and the self-employed are more likely to find themselves wasting time without the structure or discipline of a job, supervisor or peers to keep them on track.

As a result, those who often have more on their plate than the average employee, may actually get less done. If this continues, it can interfere with success and your ability to make money. If you tend to procrastinate you may want to take the bull by the horns and do something about it. The question is, what?

Practical approaches

There are many different approaches to overcoming procrastination. For some, merely becoming aware of when you’re procrastinating is enough to spur forward momentum. Others need a more proactive approach, and pinpointing how much time you’re actually wasting can also be useful (as long as you don’t allow it to be an excuse to beat yourself up).

If this strategy appeals to you, one place to start is to keep a log of what you do with your time during the work day, making special note of when you are knowingly procrastinating.

Distractions are a huge block to productivity and if you’re in the process of overcoming procrastination, you may also want to learn to set boundaries around anything that’s likely to distract you from accomplishing what you want to get done.

Turning off email, letting phone calls go to voice-mail, asking co-workers or employees to not let you be disturbed at certain hours can all help provide some focused time or “focused work periods” to get work done.

Reduce overwhelm
Another strategy that can help is to reduce the feeling of overwhelm. Sometimes the shear amount of things that must be accomplished, the importance they might hold for you, or emotions that are connected with these tasks and responsibilities can make a simple task seem like climbing Mt. Everest.

If overwhelm is playing a part in your procrastinating routine, you may want to also consider breaking each task down into manageable bite sized pieces that can be accomplished easily in one sitting.

It can be equally important to appreciate your efforts and successes by making sure to congratulate yourself as each of these bite sized pieces are checked off your list, no matter how small.

Scheduling your day is another way to keep focused on what needs to be done, especially if you are realistic about what can actually be accomplished. If you make appointments with yourself to get specific work accomplished, and make a promise to stick to those appointments, it’s harder for your day to be filled with “whatever” comes along.

Sometimes chronic procrastinators may engage in other types of non-productive behavior. One such behavior that comes to mind is accumulating clutter. Many clients who I’ve worked with on procrastination find that clearing away clutter can help them find the energy to get un-stuck, move forward and get things done.

Deal with emotions
In some cases, overcoming procrastination requires a deeper approach. If you have tried the strategies above with little or no success, it may be useful to consider what’s behind the this habit. Ask yourself “Why am I procrastinating?” “What am I avoiding?” and “How is it serving me, negatively or positively?”

If you sense some negative feelings or emotions when you are procrastinating, another useful strategy can be to keep a journal where you write about the situation you’re avoiding and the feelings that come up when you procrastinate.

Envision success
One more strategy I’d like to touch on today to help you get yourself un-stuck, is to imagine what your life would be like if you weren’t procrastinating. How much more would you get accomplished, and what would those accomplishments do for you? How much happier would you be with yourself if you were more productive? Questions like this help you to envision what it would be like to be rid of a habit that’s holding you back.

For some more practical strategies, download The 7 Deadliest Time Management Mistakes.

If you would like to learn more about overcoming procrastination and becoming more productive in your business, click here to read about my ACCOMPLISH Small Business Productivity program.

Susan Martin, Business Coach

Previous post:

Next post: