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I'm Mara — I help creatives create and launch digital courses and profitable products. I love chatting about online marketing, design and goal setting!
Confession time: I am a HUGE procrastinator. Most people don’t know this about me, since on the surface it can seem like I have everything figured out in my business, but I’ve battled procrastination for years and worked to find the right strategies that help me overcome procrastination.
In full transparency, I still struggle with procrastination at times but the things I’m about to share have really helped me work through it and also recognize that it’s ok and completely normal to procrastinate some of the time.
Sometimes the best thing to do when there is a task you really don’t want to do is to give in and give yourself permission to let that task go. When I’m feeling all the resistance and having trouble getting a specific task done I’ll swap the task I don’t want to do with something from tomorrow’s to-do list. This way I’m giving my brain a bit of a break, but not creating an overwhelming situation later when I have too much to do.
Most of the time when I do let myself do the task swap, it’s easier the next day to come back to the task I was procrastinating and get it done.
Accountability can be a powerful tool to overcome procrastination. I love using my friends as accountability buddies. You can use them to co-work together by hopping on Zoom or meeting up in real life. My favorite accountability hack is to simply send a text message to a friend about what I am going to work on. That way it’s super embarrassing if you don’t go do all the things you said you were going to.
So often we procrastinate because we don’t know the first step or the first step feels overwhelming. Breaking your tasks down into teeny, tiny bite-sized steps makes it all a lot more manageable. When I say break your tasks down into small steps I mean super small like this:
Step 1: Open the Google Doc
Step 2: Name the Google Doc
Step 3: Type the title of the blog post
Step 4: Set a timer for 10 minutes and write anything that comes to mind
When in doubt – go even smaller. Giving yourself a bunch of easy wins also helps get you into the productive zone and feel good about what you have achieved so far.
Starting with a blank slate can be intimidating, and often leads to procrastination. Instead, reuse resources you have already created so that you never have to start from scratch. When I need to write something in my business or create a graphic I always go back to something I created before and start editing it so that I’m not starting all the way from the beginning.
If you don’t have something that you can repurpose you can also take a look at what others have done on a similar topic. Don’t steal or copy, but getting inspiration can be a powerful way to feel like you aren’t starting from scratch.
Making your work more fun and exciting is key to overcoming procrastination. You can turn on fun music, drink a fun beverage, work in your pj’s or go to a coffee shop. Anything that feels sort of special and out of the ordinary can be a powerful way to remind yourself that the work you need to do isn’t actually that scary or bad.
Most procrastination is rooted in fear and usually you’re not even aware of what you’re afraid of. You might subconsciously be procrastinating a task because you’re afraid of how others will view it or you’re afraid that no matter how much you work, you’ll never not feel overwhelmed.
Identifying what you’re afraid of makes it so much easier to overcome procrastination. You might even realize that the things you’re afraid of are actually kind of silly.
This isn’t groundbreaking advice. Most of us know that music helps you stay more productive, but finding specific music that is designed to help you focus can be incredibly powerful. I love listening to Ambiet Worlds on Youtube which has a bunch of different soundscapes that you can work along to.
You can also find videos of other people studying or cleaning and turn those on in the background to help you get an extra boost of focus.
Sometimes, procrastination arises from the feeling of being overwhelmed by a long list of tasks. When this happens, the best thing you can do is to give yourself less to do. I’m guilty of feeling so overwhelmed that I’ll achieve nothing on my to-do list instead of just crossing off a few key tasks.
Simplifying your goals for the day, you alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with a never-ending task list.
Everyone procrastinates and it’s an area where it’s really easy to beat yourself up for not getting enough done. Give at least one of these strategies a try and see if it helps to overcome your own procrastination.
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