Procrastination, the act of delaying or postponing something, is a major roadblock in the way of progress. It affects even the best of us, but it plagues some people more than others.
If you quit your job when you go freelance, then you’ll have to take full responsibility for how you spend every minute of the day. It’s up to you how much of your time you end up using effectively. If you find yourself doing this so much that you can’t seem to get anything done, then this is inevitably going to affect your business and how you grow it.
Reasons for procrastination
Lack of confidence
One of the main reasons for procrastination is a lack of confidence. You may be unconsciously avoiding tasks that you don’t feel confident in. However this approach never works. The responsibilities don’t go away and then you’re left feeling even less confident.
Sometimes the tedious yet easy tasks are the most difficult to do because they don’t force you to wake up and think carefully. In these instances, the mind can feel sluggish and tired. Some people work better when they are busier and when work slows down, so does their productivity.
This could be due to lack of sleep, poor diet or stress. When trying to work hard, we can sometimes forget that we need to look after ourselves and remember diet and exercise are important to maintain health and focus on work.
Tips for overcoming the wall of procrastination
Improve focus and energy levels
Look after yourself. Get enough sleep, eat right and exercise to help maintain your energy levels. Think about trying mental exercises, brain training or try working on something new to refresh your thinking.
When caused by a lack of confidence, procrastination becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You end up going round and round in circles with your lack of confidence stopping you from doing work which proves your lack of confidence right.
If you find yourself in this cycle you need to break out of it as soon as possible by fighting the fear. Remind yourself of your skills, past achievements and work you’ve done. Read your own testimonials and remind yourself why you chose this life.
You could choose to outsource some of your more tedious responsibilities that you hate doing. A virtual assistant or an accountant can help take the pressure off, leaving you free to focus on the work you’re best at.
Break everything down
Sometimes it seems you have an overwhelming amount of things to get through and this can cause you to want to retreat from your responsibilities and spend the whole day on Youtube. However the tasks are still there waiting and the pressure to do them is only going to get worse until you can’t ignore it anymore.
One way to overcome feeling overwhelmed is to break down every task into mini, manageable tasks. Procrastinators often like making lists of things they should do but end up never doing. So make a list but break it down into steps, even if the steps are so tiny and basic that it seems like there’s no point in writing them down. Do it anyway and as you go through you can tick them off, getting little boosts as your sense of achievement increases.
Find someone to keep you motivated
Find someone else to hold you accountable. Better yet, make it a two way agreement. If you can keep each other motivated and on target then you might find it easier to finish tasks. This might replace co-workers and bosses that would keep you on track in a traditional job that you miss as a freelancer.
While this option is not ideal, if you dread doing freelance work so much that you’re willing to do anything to avoid it then maybe this is sign that freelancing is not for you.
Don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s not for everyone and if you gave it a chance, that’s more than most people manage.
Do you suffer from the dreaded procrastination? How do you deal with it and remain productive? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below!