One of the biggest daily hurdles preventing me from getting my work done is procrastination. It’s something that we all have a tendency to do and while it may not be avoidable there are ways to minimize it and to stay on track. One of the major problems with procrastination is that we don’t even realize that we are doing it. One minute I’ll be working on a site of mine and the next I’ll be checking my personal email, looking through my music collection, or checking the dreaded Facebook (yes, sadly sometimes I get lost in Facebook). Below I’ve listed a few tips to help you prevent procrastination and accomplish your tasks:
1. Identify Tasks to be Avoided – You need to realize when you are drifting off and starting to procrastinate. The easiest way is to identify the tasks which you know are time killers or tasks that you know are off-topic (i.e. facebook, myspace, digg, and more.) Once these tasks are identified try to pay attention to when you start to do them and replace them with more productive tasks.
2. Breakdown Large Tasks – This is probably one of the most important tips to follow. Most of us are going to have large tasks, such as launching a new website, setting up a new ad campaign, link building, etc. These tasks by themselves may seem cumbersome and hard to manage. It might seem like you are never making headway on them and thoughts like that lead to the procrastination. Instead of thinking of a large project, break it down into several smaller projects with specific goals. Reaching goals, even small ones, is a great boost to not only moral, but also your attention span.
3. Do the Worst First – I’ll admit, it sounds funny the way I phrased it, but it does work. Recognize the jobs that you dislike the most and do these first. Assuming you are a morning person, you should be the most focused then and the urge to procrastinate will be low. By accomplishing the tasks that you don’t like first, leaves the rest of the day to work on more pleasing tasks.
4. Minimize Distraction – Eliminate all the distractions that you can. Put the phone on voicemail, close your email client, send the kids outside, do whatever you have to in order to minimize distraction. It’s no secret that the less distraction, the more focused you are and the more focused you are the more you get done. Getting things done quicker and more efficient leaves less time for procrastination.
5. Aim for Progress Not Perfection – Awhile back I read an article that said “Perfectionism often leads to procrastination.” This is definitely true in a lot of situations. Many of the people who aim for perfection also have a hard time leaving a project unfinished. When this happens they usually put the project down and start to procrastinate. Instead don’t aim to make it perfect the first time around. Just make progress towards that perfect goal.
6. Reward Yourself - One of my favorite tips is to just reward yourself. If you accomplish some of your goals for the day, treat yourself to some of those things that you identified in tip one as procrastination. Better yet, go outside for a walk, get some fresh air, or have a snack or meal. Get your mind off work and relax for awhile. Rewarding yourself will allow you to come back to the desk with a fresh and focused mind (the perfect defense against procrastination.)
Entrepreneur's Wealth - The Internet Entrepreneur Blog