I’ve decided to stray off topic of internet marketing today, to discuss an issue that has been plaguing me recently; procrastination. I’ve never felt that I was too much of a procrastinator, but over the last couple of months, I’ve found it more and more difficult to get things done that I know I need to do. Procrastinating doesn’t tend to make me happy.
My issue isn’t related to work I need to complete for my clients, in fact, I would probably rather do anything related to client work over working on my own list of things to do to grow my business. I’m sure some kind of doctor might have a field day with determining the reasons for this (probably some event that occurred in my childhood!), but I think the answer is very simple: fear.
Maybe I shouldn’t admit it in such a public forum, but I think the biggest contributor to my procrastination is fear of success. What if I do all of these things I need to do and my business grows? Will I be too busy? Will I feel like my job has control over me like I felt when I was a teacher? Will I be making the money I need and deserve to make and have no reason to complain?
So, to put off writing even this blog post, I did a little research on the subject of procrastination. I found a great article written in 2010 from The New Yorker magazine that really resonated with me:
Later Book Review. There are some reasons behind procrastination covered in the article. Although procrastination may be a “basic human impulse”, it may definitely be costly in terms of real money and opportunity cost, and it’s also stressful as we waste time and energy thinking about what we actually should be doing versus just doing it.
So, how to deal with procrastination? I’ll offer some suggestions that I’ve learned over the years as a busy computer programmer with many open project requests and “fires”, as a teacher juggling the many responsibilities involved with that profession, and as professional organizer trying to teach time management to my clients.
- Make a realistic list of tasks to complete (what can get done today or this week). If large projects are on the list of to-dos, select one project. Break the project into “chunks” and create a task list for it.
- Prioritize and categorize the list – not only by importance, but also by “fires”, “have-tos”, “want-tos”
- Make a schedule for completing certain items – include some tasks that can be completed in a short amount of time so they may be checked off the list.
- Create “due dates” for items that don’t have a deadline attached to them.
I’m following my own advice, and will now be able to cross one thing off of my list for today: write two blog posts.
How do you deal with procrastination?