How to stop procrastinating (and get sh*t done)

Want to know how to stop procrastinating?

Do you really need me to tell you?

The issue with procrastination, especially when it comes to entrepreneurs, is that it’s usually a result of one of the following things (or maybe even a combination of them)

  • Lack of clarity – why are you doing what you do? What’s your goal?
  • Being overwhelmed to the point you don’t know where to start
  • Fear – of failing, being mocked, of success (yes, some people are petrified of success)
  • Trying to achieve perfection – probably the best excuse for procrastinating!

As an entrepreneur the reality is this – you can’t afford to be procrastinating. You NEED to get your sh*t done, you have bills to pay, you have dreams you need to achieve and the world needs your secret somethin’ (yes they do!)

stop procrastinating - Ameena falchetto

STOP PROCRASTINATING #1 – CLARITY

Are you clear on what your business does? I mean really clear?

Many entrepreneurs started their own businesses to get away from working a 9 to 6 for five days a week.

Yet, they find themselves with grueling office hours, constantly chained to their desks consuming blogs, wasting time on social media and generally being incredibly inefficient.

Map out what you need to do. Write it down. Get on the computer and get it done. Then log off. You are your own boss – make your own rules!

Life is for living, not working! {click to tweet}

STOP PROCRASTINATING #2 – STOP OVERWHELMING YOURSELF

So you have a million things to do and you don’t know where to start, you feel like you are chasing your tail and then do nothing at all. Guess what? Even if you break down the things you have to do the rest still has to be done – but rather that try eating a whole elephant in one sitting you need to break it down into bite size pieces.

You know all this but one of the best ways of getting over that self imposed overwhelming amount of work is to categorise everything.

Be honest with yourself and put things you need to get done into categories:

  1. important AND urgent = do it now
  2. important but not urgent = do it soon
  3. unimportant but urgent = get it done sooner rather than later
  4. unimportant and not urgent = do you really need to do it or can you outsource it

Just make sure that when you define something and important and urgent that it really is that urgent.

Don’t overwhelm yourself by setting unrealistic deadlines – it’s better to give yourself a bit more time to market something than to rush it making you feel like you’re losing your mind!

STOP PROCRASTINATING #3 – OVERCOMING FEAR

Are you scared that if you hit publish, or if you launch you’ll be mocked? Or it will fail? (Or maybe you’re scared it will ROCK and then you’ll have to ride that wave).

Well, let’s spin this around.

What’s worse? Doing nothing and wondering “what if”? Or doing it and risk being totally awesome?

When you create your next launch or write your next blog post work on it like no one is ever going to see it.

Do it for you – set a deadline and make it awesome for YOU.

STOP PROCRASTINATING #4 – FORGET PERFECTION

Perfection doesn’t exist!

The impossible quest for perfection quickly becomes procrastination {click to tweet}

At school I was always curious as to why 80% was an A – it meant that all you ever needed to achieve was 80% to get the top mark. Since then I applied that to my business and it’s the only way you can get your sh*t done.

Mistakes, typos, imperfection etc – they all make you human.

Place your priorities on what’s really important;

  • A clear message is more important than the odd typo
  • Being consistent is more important that the perfect sporadic video
  • Giving something of awesome value is more important than just making noise because you feel you need to blog

Evaluate regularly – learn from your mistakes but in order to evaluate and make mistakes you need to be doing something.

The best way to stop procrastinating and get your sh*t done is to get someone to hold you accountable and have a clear plan.

Need help figuring out where you should be focusing your marketing efforts? Get in touch

 

33 Responses to How to stop procrastinating (and get sh*t done)

  1. I like the way in which you set the priority list. I need to get that sorted out soon some day. I started college recently and now have so many things to do at once that I keep thinking more about doing work rather than actually doing it.

    I need help with setting priorities… 🙁

    • Hey Hajra! Yes, prioritising is challenging but necessary – I am always amazed at how appealing cleaning the house or cooking is when I have to get something done!

      Work on deadlines to help you decide 🙂 Also, when you aren’t feeling it to do something creative do the icky easy tasks instead!

  2. Great post, Ameena.
    As I read through it, I was struck by how similar these blocks are to the ones behind writer’s block … an affliction I believe to be fictitious. 😉

    I have decided that clarity is the biggest block for most people. I find that if I have an assignment and I have a good idea of where I want to go with it and how I want to get there, the writing comes easily and I don’t feel an urge to scrub my toilets or clip the cat’s claws. Instead, I just write. Bam & done!

    However, when I come to an assignment sort of half-cocked … with only a general idea of where I’m going and NO IDEA how I’m going to get there … Doom.

    My favorite planning tool is the mind map (something you do all the time with your fabulous illustrations, right?) 🙂

    Here’s to kicking procrastination in the head so we can end each day thinking, “Damn! I’m amazing!”
    🙂

    • YES to kicking procrastination Jamie! My planning maps can quite quickly become another excuse for me to procrastinate if I’m not careful – out come the markers and pretty pictures help enhance it … oops! LOL! Totally hear you on the household chores that suddenly become sooo appealing and crazily urgent when you to sit down and JUST DO IT!
      We can fight this! 🙂

  3. How was the social media black out, Ameena (wait, are you done with it? If not, how is it so far?).

    Anyways, agree with you on procrastination (I love procrastinating, but everything must be to an extent, procrastination helps us – to refresh our mind and body, especially after we are tired doing all the work, but it can hurt us if we take it too far).

    I think the most effective way to tackle procrastination is prioritizing the tasks (or maybe, just having a clear purpose – why all this? and what can happen if we don’t do what we have to). Like Hajra here, I am not so good with prioritizing my tasks – but everything is going fine now 😀

    As with perfection, I hear ya. Perfection is an impossibility, never worry about it, but work on making ours – our techniques and our business a successful one.

  4. Ah, yes, clarity. I find so often when I’m procrastinating around something it’s because I haven’t gotten clear enough about it (or my reasons for why it’s important). It’s all too easy to be so distracted we don’t take time to clarify things and that just leads to more of the same. Thanks for posting this, Ameena!

    • Hi Jessica, it’s amazing how hard it is to get something started when you aren’t sure why you are doing it or where it’s going to … I know that I’ve had to learn over the years to get really detailed briefs from clients to ensure the work can get done. Funny how often we hit the ground running only to ground to a halt as soon as we realise we have no clue why were are doing what we are!

  5. Isn’t it funny how we can con ourselves into thinking some of our “productivity strategies” are nothing more than procrastination in disguise. The trick is identifying what side of the line things fall on.

    I used to be a major list maker,…um yep thats a good thing right? Well in my case, I began to see that I was just using the list making as a tool to avoid actually doing the things on the list. I’d shuffle, reorganise, and generally not see much progress. Let’s just say I dropped that behavior like a hot potato.

    I actually read a study on our psychology and how sometimes in the planning and goal setting and list making that we can beleive unconciously that we have already acheived the objective, making us less driven to act on the original intention…fascinating stuff, and pretty thought provoking.

    • Wow that is interesting Jackie – I know I feel a massive sense of achievement when I’ve completed my to do list – just mapping it all out seems like something that needs rewarding which is why often to do lists don’t work (Sitting staring at 5 on my wall from a while ago … oops)

      Now I write my tasks on small bits of paper and take great pleasure in tearing them up when I’ve done it!

      Prioritising is the only way to really get stuff done and amazingly the dishes really can wait!

  6. Ameena,

    Good post. I have been using your four ‘issues’ categories for years to keep me on track with both the boring administrivia of running a business as well as the more exciting operational activities. In earlier times when I had a staff to support, (I am a solopreneur now) I used delegation to ease my own work load. I very quickly learned that trying to do everything oneself simply resulted in a different form of procrastination. I have been lucky in that I have never found it difficult to delegate with authority to act. If a team member had a speed bump on the road to success, I would help him or her over the hump and then left them to it. I never micro-managed, a surefire road to procrastination that ends up slowing down the whole team.

    Ameena, I’m with you 100% in fighting our almost lost cause against the Americanisation of our language. I am Australian and use British English, with the occasional Australian vernacular expression. At risk of drawing ire or fire from your American fans, could I just say that we own the language as we had it first. Americans do not have the right to change the language, nor to try and impose their version on us. I religiously change the Zeds to ESes, and add in the appropriate U here and there, in my spell checker. I know it’s a lost cause in the long run, but I’ll go down fighting.

    sincerely,

    Graham

    • Hi Graham! Always great to hear your experience! Impressed you’ve found it easy to delegate – it’s something I struggle with at times (only when it’s is something I can do!)

      Here is to random letters in words 🙂

  7. Love the way how you broke this down.

    I’m making a slow recovery from the perfectionist bug. It’s a real pain in the backside, trying to get everything just so, and it ultimately means that I slow myself down/hold myself back.

    It’s defo, a fear thing with me – ya know, what if my stuff isn’t good enough and people hate it blah, blah, blah. So now, whenever I get an attack of the doubts I say this to myself – ‘whatever, just frigging do it’.

  8. Well I am what you call a typical Type B personality person. I was never in a hurry to complete my work. I used to always laze around and whiled away my time. I was good at my work but the only problem was that I couldn’t concentrate on a particular task. Them suddenly everything changed, I was expected to do more by my boss or else they would have to let me go and I knew how hard it is to get a good job these days. So I made a time table for myself and every time I managed to finish the goal I had set for myself, I used to pamper myself with a small treat. This actually worked for me. So what I want to say is that all you need is the desire and the motivation to change and you will surely succeed.

  9. I have this bad habit of procrastinating things right till I have no more time left. In the beginning I am all charged up but as time passes I again start lazing around and don’t finish my work. I don’t know what to do, I think I have tried everything, from keeping my watch ahead of time, to making a schedule but there are no positive results.

  10. Overwhelmed is/was an understatement! To the point that I would walk away and- dare I say it – watch TV! There, I said it!

    I’m really good at getting idea – just not great at putting them in place. I want it perfect and well rehearsed! The Oscar goes to … ME for my careful planning and appearance of having it all together while in fact I am getting it all together so I don’t have to perform… does that make sense? Again, I am so thankful I stumbled on to your site. Cheers!

    • Hey Cindy, it seems to be the more ideas someone gets the more likely they are to get kinda paralysed by them. You’re human – it’s scary to actually sit down and figure them out. Just bite the bullett and DO IT!

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