It’s something we all do. Business owners and busy professionals, men and women, do it at work and at home. It’s the art of using tomorrow to put off today. It’s procrastination! Our Spirited contributors share their best strategies for keeping up with tomorrow today!
Enjoy these Spirited Solutions to stop procrastination and be sure to grab your copy of our free report, “How to Overcome Overwhelm in 7 Easy Steps!” Click here!
1. Do It Now To Be Free
You know there are tasks that simply must be done in business. We all have an annoying yet necessary activity that requires our attention. One approach is to put it off, and off until the very last minute. As a result, all day long we dread that task. Or a better approach is simply to do it first thing in the morning and give yourself a small reward. This boosts your energy and better yet you don’t waste a lot of energy and brain cycles trying to avoid something you’re going to do anyway.
Thanks to Donna Marie Thompson, PhD of Goals in Action, LLC
2. Build Momentum With The Small Stuff
When I’m overwhelmed or tempted to procrastinate, I look for the smallest things on my task list. I find that when a knock out the smaller, quicker items from my list it not only gives me a feeling of accomplishment but drives to me complete the next task as well. Some people say you should start with the hard stuff first, but that doesn’t work for me. After getting the smaller items disposed of I find that have the momentum required to tackle the tough stuff!
Thanks to JP Jones of Collipsis Web Solutions
3. The Murples Make Earth’s Purples
As the Mayor Of PurpleUmpkin I would like to address this beast. You may start with a special yeast. Rise. PurpleUmpkin is a little planet next to Pluto. We are Murples here and we do in fact make earth’s Purples. A lot of Purples.
You have to make a special time to make a rhyme. Do it for a set amount of time. Everyday. At the end of the week, write it all down and take a peek. Make sure you have accomplished what you seek. Sure enough make another schedule for next week.
Thanks to Michael John McCann of PurpleUmpkin L L C
4. You Can’t Fight Procrastination…
…so don’t even try. You procrastinate because the task you are about to take on is threatening to elevate you beyond where you believe you can be. Yup – the stress of success. Your subconscious will get you there every time. Instead of fighting, visualize! Imagine yourself successful. Find an affirmation that works, such as “I always get things done on time” as well as “I am a successful business person”, and say them whenever you remember. Once you truly believe it, the struggle will be gone.
Thanks to Hanaan Rosenthal of hanaan.com
5. Work Incrementally Every Day
Going after a task you’ve been resisting is much easier if you only ask yourself to do it for ten minutes each day. Ten minutes can act as a portal for your own engagement. You step towards the task, sink in and then you are in the swing!
Remember, being busy does not always mean being productive. The clarity of intention and focus that are easier to maintain for short amounts of time will make you super productive.
Thanks to Lorne Holden of Make it Happen in Ten Minutes a Day
6. Create A Light At The End Of The Tunnel
We’ve all heard the tip to break a daunting task into smaller pieces. What I’ve found makes that tip powerful is helping yourself get through those smaller pieces. Here’s how: Set a reasonable time period for the task, say 45 minutes. Then decide on your reward (for me, it’s usually candy or 10 minutes on a funny site). You’re more inclined to focus on getting the task done because a) it’s only 45 minutes, which is less daunting, and b) you want that reward. It really helps me keep moving.
Thanks to Sonia Charry of PawPosse.com
7. Look For The Crevice!
Check your thoughts, are they specifically negative about what is waiting for you? What is the internal story about it “I am never going to get through this!” Now look for the opening that allows you to change your thought process. “It could take awhile, the longer I moan about it the longer it will take.” General negative. “I know this war goes on in others heads too.” General Positive. “I’m going to JUST DO IT!” Specific positive. Open a crevice in your mind & all is possible, solutions appear
Thanks to Melissa Sarazin of My Authentic Nature
8. Land The Big Fish First!
As a business coach working with clients about time management, I had a dirty little time mis-management secret of my own – I hated doing my books, and would often put it off. So when I couldn’t stand the inner dissonance any more, I walked my talk and took these steps:
a.) I started doing the books before they were due, first thing in the day, instead of putting them off – land the big fish first.
b.) This led to me feeling terrific and virtuous, and boosted my overall productivity.
Thanks to Doug Hickok of Institute for Provocative Learning
9. Embrace The 15-Minute Rule
The hardest part about getting started is well…getting started! A body at rest tends to stay at rest — that’s the law of physics and the same holds true for mental activity. So what’s a poor procrastinator to do? Use the 15-Minute Rule! Promise yourself that whatever it is you have to do, you’ll just do it for 15 minutes — and then you’ll stop. Use a kitchen timer or your cell phone alarm to keep yourself honest. Then get to work. Chances are, when the 15 minutes are up, you’ll keep going.
Thanks to Karin Abarbanel of Abarbanel Communications
10. The Bucket System
Instead of to-do lists I use what I call is The Bucket System.
Seeing projects as Buckets helps me organize my thinking, my actions, & effectiveness.
Here’s how it works:
Each project becomes a Bucket. Each Bucket is prioritized A, B, C and has a completion date label. Anything that has to do with monetizing the business or cashflow is almost always an A priority. Each step/action goes into a Bucket. As the steps are completed, the bucket is drained til empty.
Thanks to Nancy Fox of The Business Fox
11. Beware Of Paralysis By Analysis
Remember, don’t get sucked into spending time, money and effort on tasks that don’t really matter; ask yourself if you are truly spending your time wisely? Or, maybe you are obsessing on getting a perfect result from a particular pursuit? If you’re looking to turn things up a notch you can look for ways to better serve your customers instead, or get the next marketing campaign rolling. Maybe work on setting some goals with timetables. The point is, stay on schedule and get tasks done.
Thanks to Bill Baylis of Online Marketing Muscle
12. Embrace Accountability
Consider hiring a business coach, create a success team, or find an “accountability partner”. Being accountable to another person who really cares about your success and won’t be critical if you fail is a giant step towards eliminating procrastination.
Thanks to Bob Walton of WordPress Security Shield
13. Procrastination Is My Favorite Enemy!
I am the Office Procrastinator. My best advice and #1 strategy is to “slay the beast” by assigning those tasks to others in your work environment. Ask for Help! If you let the Beast slay you, then you have LOST the battle! It has taken me forever to learn how to ask for help: #1 “thinking I’m smarter” that’s a laugh, or “I can do it the way I want to do it” and “nobody does it better than me. ” Okay who are you kidding? Break those reins and share the load! Slay your inner Beast!
Thanks to Marisa Williams of ATS, Inc.
14. Write It Down!
Lists happen to be the only way for me to stay organized and on task. I write out the most important things I must get done, however, I also add small menial tasks as well for nothing is more gratifying that crossing things off that list!
Also I find sometimes I have to force myself off the computer to do those tasks that do not require it. The computer can suck you in and be a real time waster.
Thanks to Nancy Alinovi of ADORE Designer Resale Boutique
15. Make A List
Start the day by making a list! I have mine on a small note pad I carry around with me. I try to limit the list to task that can be accompolished in a day. For the more involved tasks, they go on a bigger page taped to my desk. The task(s) that do not get completed, goes on the top of the list for the next day. This keeps me on task, so when a task is completed, I review the list for the next task next to be completed.
Thanks to Linda Griggs-Horstman of Tiny Tot Cakes
16. Show Up And Your Brain Will Catch Up
I’m a writer and it’s so easy to procrastinate. I’ve learned the best thing to do is to show up at the same place every day—say 8am and start writing, even if it’s crap. Trust me, it’ll get better if you’re in your chair and you’ve applied some butt glue. Next, focus on an object that you always have when you write–it can be a funny visor, a candle or a Rubik’s Cube. And finally, prevent procrastination by varying your places: only check email at a coffee shop and only write on a park bench.
Thanks to Alice Osborn of Write from the Inside Out
17. Eat The Frog!
First task of the day is to do the one thing you most hate doing. Get it done and off your to-do list so you don’t spend the rest of the day dreading it. The rest of your day can only be brighter and you’ll have more energy and self esteem, having pushed yourself to eat the frog!
Thanks to Anne Mulhern of On The Run Accounts
18. Run To The Toughest Task FIRST
If you find a task you are dreading, take care of it first. Knowing you have something “hanging over your head” that you are not excited about sucks energy out of you, raises anxiety, and affects creativity and productiveness with other projects. I know you may just think you will get to it after you do this and that. The problem is you run out of time and excuses roll in. Run to the task you least want to do FIRST and see how much else you accomplish.
Thanks to Patty Geiger of Triangle Pilates & Cary Yoga Center
19. I Imagine The Future
I think: how will I feel once I finish this project? What will I enjoy once this piece of the puzzle is done?
Sometimes procrastination is my way of avoiding the tough work, the work that makes me vulnerable…and most likely, the most important work I should be doing.
By imagining my satisfaction at completing the task or the joy of being able to cross the item off my list, I come at the task with joy instead of dread.
Thanks to Tivi Jones of Creativity Loft
20. Give Yourself Permission To Percolate
I love how the universe works. Barnsley invited me to post a guest blog and my immediate response was “I’ll do it later.” When I checked my email today it jumped out at me because I have been putting off updating my website and writing several proposals for weeks. As a contrarian coach, I propose that procrastination is not bad. When you feel that you are procrastinating, reframe the thought to “I am letting the project or task percolate.” Percolating leads to clarity which leads to action.
Thanks to Betsy Smith of E. L. Smith Consulting
21. Routine Beats Anything!
A pre-set time in a daily routine will offset any excuses for not getting things done. Goals in the form of results, treats and acceptance of a job well done to yourself always help.
There is nothing like self-congratulations at completion.
If I don\’t conclude what I wanted done that day, I do not give myself the treat (in my case a cold beer afterwork) promised!
Thanks to Tollan Wade of Triple T Productions INC.
22. Ever The Twain Shall Meet
We procrastinate on the tasks that are less pleasant and gravitate toward those we like. There’s a good way to avoid this tendency, though, and it involves following the advice of humorist Mark Twain. It was he who noted, “If you have to swallow a frog, don’t stare at it too long.” Get the most difficult or least appealing task done first thing in the morning, long before you turn to those you enjoy. Eliminate the frog early and feel good about getting the day off to a good start.
Thanks to Marlene Caroselli of CPD
23. Just Get Started!
My top tip to whip procrastination? Just get started. Whether it’s writing something or starting a new project, if you just force yourself to start somewhere (whether or not you really want to), you’ll find it much easier to keep going. The hardest part is often just getting started. So, dig in and do one task that will get you going. Often, you’ll feel much better knowing that you’ve at least made a dent in the project. And sometimes, you’ll even keep going until it’s done!
Thanks to Michelle Garrett of Garrett Public Relations
24. Don’t Get Paralyzed By Indecision
Have you heard the phrase “paralysis of analysis”? This means to overthink something, to sit there and analyze the pros and the cons, and never DO anything about it! It’s all well and good to make informed choices, but sometimes, you just need to ACT and start something! This paragraph is an example of that…any writer will tell you – just opening up a document and writing one sentence is a good way to start activity! So don’t get stuck – just do SOMETHING and you’ll be on your way!
Thanks to Laurel Nicolosi of Cary Tutor
25. Baby Steps
Procrastination is usually the result of feeling overwhelmed by a task or project. My #1 tip in overcoming this demon is to start small. Commit to working on your task for 15 minutes. After the allotted 15 minutes are up, STOP. Take a short water break, or whatever works for you – the focus being on the word short. How do you feel? Up for another 15 minutes? Go for it. You’ll be amazed at how much quicker you’ll get to your end goal this way. Good luck!
Thanks to Laurisa Brooks of Laurisa Brooks ADHD Life Coach
26. 15-Minute Challenge
Once I’ve created well thought out monthly and weekly goals as well as a plan to achieve those goals faster and easier by focusing 80% of my time on income producing activities I have a clear picture of what to do to get things done. However, I tend to procrastinate on the things in my business where fear is attached. As a way to overcome this, I set a timer for 15 minutes and spend only 15 minute increments on the tasks that I least enjoy or fear. You can do anything for 15 minutes!
Thanks to Megan Huber of Reach Teach Inspire
27. Need A Focused Strategy? Let The Wheel Of Fortune Be Your Guide
In order to get started, you MUST begin. All you really need to know is :what are the 5 most important things for you right now , and then have the willingness to look at the things you do the best. Your passion will emerge as you complete the process.
You will be amazed by what you learn. People have often said, when they hear about the process,
I WISH YOU HAD BEEN AROUND 5 YEARS AGO, YESTERDAY, ETC.
SO, I AM HERE TODAY. LET’S BEGIN NOW. THERE IS NO NEED TO GET IN YOUR OWN WAY.
Thanks to Mardi Hack of Career Coaching….Wheel of Fortune
28. Relax And Stop Shoulding On Yourself!
To beat procrastination, relax! Instead of listening to those nagging “should” or “have to” voices, act when inspired and energized to. (Procrastination is rebellion against shoulds.) By relaxing and trusting that your Spirit will motivate you when the time is right, you’ll be inspired to do whatever authentically needs doing at the perfect time to benefit all concerned. Stop pressuring yourself and everything will get done efficiently with ease and joy. That’s the way to stay in Easy World!
Thanks to Julia Rogers Hamrick of Easy World
29. Walk Away! Do What You Enjoy Most!
When at home or work, the first thing I do is stop, walk away and breathe deep to calm my spirit and exude any negativity. If it is while at the office – I walk or listen to music, get in the car and drive. If at home, listen to music that is calming or soothing not upbeat. Preferably, no lyrics. Once in that special place inhale and exhale slowly with my eyes closed to lose myself in the music.
Otherwise, if the above does not work – indulging in a glass of Opus will do the trick!
Thanks to Annie Freed of FemCity RTP, a Femfessionals LLC
30. Make Tasks Smaller And More Manageable
Often people procrastinate because they feel overwhelmed by the size of a task. It’s easier to accomplish a large task if you break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Set a deadline for each smaller task. As each deadline is met, cross the task off your do-do list. You are bound to be more motivated to complete the larger task as you see the progress you have made. Make the most of the time you dedicate to these tasks. Eliminate distractions and ensure you have all the tools you need.
Thanks to Allison Flinn of Reclaim
31. Dear Former Procrastinator
One of the number one killers of entrepreneural success is procrastination. That is, putting things off that you know need to be done in favor of more entertaining or self satisfying activities. In order to be successful, you MUST be a person that takes action, CONSTANTLY! Define your goals, establish a clear plan and daily activities to keep you focused and on task. There are many online groups/forums and task planners to assist you. Remember always stay positive and upbeat! To your Success!
Thanks to L. Renee’ Holbert of Dependable Internet Solutions & Knowledge (DISK)
32. Are You A PPP*? (Perfectionist, Procrastinating Packrat)
Many people think perfectionism and procrastination are at opposite ends of the spectrum – perfect is good – procrastination is bad. They actually go hand in hand. Add to that the packrat urge to keep mountains of information for the perfect report and you become a PPP*. You have to realize that “perfect” does not exist. Stop waiting for the perfect time to do the report and do the very best job you can with what you have. Turn a PPP* into a productive, peaceful person.
Thanks to Eileen Stevie of Stevie Organizing Services, Inc.
33. To Stop Dallying And Get Moving… Ask THIS Question
Everybody has their reasons for not doing the things they KNOW they ought to be doing to move their business forward. Some common reasons are confusion, “listmania” ( endless lists of “coulds” , “shoulds” and “gee it would be nice tos”) and “bright shiny objects” ( a tendency to pay attention to…oh never mind…. what was I saying?) To stop dallying and get moving, ask this powerful question: “What are the 3 things I will do today to generate the most money?” Then focus and do them.
Thanks to Elizabeth Bull of So Just Heal It!
34. Inspirational Tapes Motivate Me
When business cards and papers pile up in my office I used to avoid the growing stack until it felt like a mountain too high to climb. Now I set aside at least two hours each week and listen to some inspirational CDs while sorting through the clutter. The audios are so interesting that I forget the frustration of dealing with too much stuff.
Currently I am listening to my favorite author and speaker Caroline Myss who motivates me to create change spiritually which facilitates my growth.
Thanks to AlexSandra Lett of TRANSFORMATIONS
35. Can’t Stop The Movement!
Start with what you LOVE. Consider those two songs that when you hear them, you get an energy JOLT rather than an energy DRAIN. You know those two songs that as soon as you hear them, you just feel like moving? TODAY play those songs back to back and DO the things on your list that you’ve been putting off. Give yourself ONE simple rule: While the music is playing, I will DO what I’ve been putting off. Let the music MOVE you into action!
Thanks to Melinda Abrams of Moving Leaders
36. Ask One Question
If you clearly have set an an endpoint, goal, or project, and find yourself running out of time, with too much to do, and frazzled … and a new event/task shows up on the horizon … simply ask this ONE question (which will clear up time management issues going forward). “If I do this, will it take me CLOSER TO my endpoint (or move me further away)?” If it does not move you forward toward what you desire … DON’T DO IT!
Thanks to Leslie Flowers of Leslie Flowers Enterprises
37. Start With “commander’s Intent”
In the military, “commander’s intent” is a statement about the goal of an operation or mission that is simple enough to be understood by the ranks, but specific enough to make operational decisions without communicating back up the chain of command. For instance, “reach the objective on the hill by 0400 to prepare to rescue our troops.” Start with your own commander’s intent to keep yourself on task, motivate your team, and to minimize micromanagement in your business.
Thanks to Rob Laughter of The Website Optimization Company
38. Avoid The Internet Time Sink
Put a timer on when you start doing anything online. Make sure that you listen and turn the computer off when the timer goes off. Limiting yourself and being focused to only do those things that you need to do online and not all the pitfalls that night try to pull you in. The more diligent you are about monitoring your time that sucks away online the more time you will be able to find time to do those other important things that always get pushed away.
Thanks to Andrea Armstrong of SeTech Support
39. Preparation Is KEY
An effective way to beat procrastination is to mentally and physically prepare yourself for the work you’re about to do. For example, if you want to spend two hours working on a specific project, spend 15 minutes getting ready to start that project. Do whatever you need to do in that 15 minutes. You may consider listening to a few really motivating songs during that 15 minutes. If music isn’t your thing, spend that 15 minutes preparing your workspace by removing all distractions.
Thanks to Amie Darboe of High School Pieces