It’s a miserable, raining day here on Bowen Island. It’s dark. It’s gray. My energy has just taken a nose dive and I’m eyeing the couch and that book I’m reading. It doesn’t help that my puppy is in his infamous, lying on his back pose, full on belly exposure and making delightful sleeping noises. I want to join him. A little voice in my head urges, yes, go for it. The rest of your work can wait until tomorrow.
This is the exact scenario of what happened to me a few weeks ago. And it’s a scene that plays out over and over again. I work from home after all. It seems like procrastination possibilities are always lurking around the corner. Can you relate?
Do set limits and schedules for yourself
One of the most effective ways I have found to beat the procrastination urge is setting a schedule and establishing timing for myself.
For example, a little while back, I had the thought that I should skip working on the client project that I had in my schedule and that I could just leave it for tomorrow. This kind of “push it” nudge is a common occurrence in the late afternoons for me – I’m always sharper in the mornings. But I summoned the wherewithal and said, “no” to myself. “I will work on this until 4pm, at which point I will deal with any last emails and spend some time cleaning up my inbox. Then I can relax.” And yes, it worked. Once I got started, I found my energy and completed some important tasks.
Do go with the flow
I definitely am all about going with the flow and not sticking to a rigid schedule. In fact, it’s something that I’m working to cultivate, this notion of carpe diem (seize the day) as a way to inject more joy and spontaneity in my life. Like when a beautiful sunny day after days and days of rain beckoned me and Derek to go and sit under a cherry blossom tree with sushi and a bottle of Prosecco to continue our 7 year tradition of honouring the Japanese tradition of hanami that I picked up while living there. Yes, I had work to do. But yes, it could wait.
It could also be that you’re unwell, or feel so tired that you’re going to fall over, or are having an emotionally challenging day. There are plenty of times when going with your flow and listening to your inner guidance is the best option.
Do go tough love
BUT there are also times when you gotta go tough love on yourself. Especially if procrastination is something that plagues you. If you always give in to the desire to not be effective in your action, you’ll never get anything done!
Which is why I’m a big fan of what I described above. Just getting going can jumpstart the flow and before you know it, your “I don’t feel like it” turns into a burst of productivity that goes beyond the time limit you set for yourself. And if not, at the very least you got a bit done and can feel better about that. One of the worst things about procrastination is the post indulgence beration and guilt, especially when unexpected things crop up or you get a burst of business. Then you’re cursing yourself, “why didn’t I just work on this the other day instead of pushing it and now I have to deal with that and a bazillion other things.” Not fun.
So set a schedule, give yourself time limits, go with the flow and learn when it’s time to treat yourself to a little tough love. Facing procrastination is just another way that running a small business is an opportunity to go inward and upward and bring on the momentous dance of self-healing.
You can check out some more of my fav productivity tips here.
How do you handle procrastination as an entrepreneur or small biz owner? Meet you in the comments…