How to Reduce Procrastination
and Increase Productivity
When you're starting or running a business you are often going to find yourself in the situation where you don't know how to do something, or the task will seem impossible.
Let me give you an example : You need to create some business cards for your business, but have no idea how to go about it.
You know they need to be printed and that is about it.
What happens then is that you keep putting off the job and kicking the can further and further down the road.
Truth be told you probably know you need to pick up the phone and call you local printing company, or even better, hop into the car and go see them, but for some reason you don't.
And that brings us to the true reason you have been kicking the can down the road and procrastinating slower than a sloth on holiday.
You're trembling in your boots about venturing into the unknown. You got ice cold and lame at the thought of walking into the printers and making a right full of yourself.
Think about it. What are you currently procrastinating on? Which can are you currently taking down the road? Isn't it because you're afraid of attempting the task?
You are either afraid because you don't like the task, or afraid of the unknown because you've never done the asked before.
Tasks We Don't Like
Unfortunately some tasks are simply rubbish and we hate doing them.
The only advice I can give here is to either outsource the task if possible, or schedule this task so that there is one that you really love directly after it.
That way you are motivated to get the task you don't enjoy out of the way so you can get on to doing the nice task.
Another thing that I do to motivate myself to do the tasks that I don't enjoy is to bribe myself with a mini treat.
Coffee is my weakness, I will usually tell myself : " no coffee until this job is done".
The job gets done pretty quickly then,lol.
If it is a task you have never done before and you're afraid of it then you can do this:
Research, divide and conquer
The research phase is meant to remove your unfamiliarity with a task.
In our business card example you could take a look at a few business cards of other artists to see what they can't look like.
This will give you an idea of the information that they are adding to their cards. You will see what images they are using, and so on.
You can also call the printer and have a quick chat - not to design your cards - you tell them you are thinking of having some cards printed, what info would they need from you?
This allows you to ask questions without the pressure of having the actual card designed so there is no possibility of you making a mistake.
After the call though you would have a very good understanding of what you would need to have your business cards designed.
Personally, I would do both as then I know I would be well prepared when it comes to getting the task done.
Just a word of warning though - don't do so much research that it becomes another form of procrastination.
Set yourself a deadline when the task must commence.
In the business card example, you could make an appointment with a printer to go see them about the cards.
You then have from now until the appointment date to figure it out as much as you can about having your business cards designed and printed.
What you don't know, or don't have ready by the time the appointment comes around doesn't matter. The printer will tell you what you missed, or you will find out later and know for next time.
Dealing With Complex Tasks
If you're a procrastinating because the task is too complex and you just can't muster the energy to attempt this monumental task then you use the divide and conquer method.
You divide the task up into smaller components.
Maybe you're procrastinating about organising an exhibition. You then sit down and divide the process of organising an exhibition into it's individual steps:
Decide the exhibition date
Find a suitable venue
Ensure you have enough artworks
What monumental task has become say 10 medium-sized tasks.
You can be divided these medium-sized tasks up into even smaller steps:
Decide the exhibition date
Research venues online
Call venues to confirm availability
Choose to favourite venues
Visit both venues
Can you see what has happened?
You've now separated the ute task into easy to achieve micro steps.
Can you research a venue online? Yes, easy peasy.
Can you call these venues to find out if they have a space open on that date? Of course you can.
Suddenly organising something as terrifying as an exhibition becomes easily achievable.
Now that you know how it's time to get stuff done.
Let me know what's your favourite method of avoiding procrastination in the comments below
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