Procrastination is something everyone struggles with. When you’re a business owner, this common trait can become a major roadblock.
A 2020 study showed that folks procrastinate because their desire for immediate positive gains is stronger than the desire to delay negative outcomes. Basically, you procrastinate because you feel anxious about a task and want the bad feeling to go away. Which is normal.
I’m not saying we’re complete and total experts on procrastination here at IvyHill PR, but we regularly work with overwhelmed business owners with massive to-do lists who have a hard time getting things done.
Alright, so what do we recommend?
Well, as some incredible experts discuss, tackling procrastination is not a one-size fits all. Luckily, we’ve rounded up a few things to get you on track.
Do a time audit.
How do you spend your time each day? For one week, write down what you do for each hour of the day. If it’s easier, reflect at the end of the day with a good journaling session with at least one page or 1 minute voice note. Be honest about it. You’ll start to notice patterns and get ideas on how to change things up for the better.
(Full disclosure: Not going to lie, I struggled with this one and then decided to get really granular. Like “Spent 20 minutes weighing the pros and cons of a business decision” granular. It wasn’t easy and I had to do reminders, but being able to look back and see how I spend my time was super helpful. It’s improved my approach to how I work today.)
Get an accountability buddy.
Like I mentioned, we work with a lot of folks with a limited amount of time and energy who sometimes find it hard to stay on track. Cue the creative solutions!
What if you had a non-judgmental person to just work alongside you, virtually or in-person? Somebody you check in with and report what you do, then they do likewise. Do you think it might help you stay on track? Research says it’s a potential method to explore!
This is also where IvyHill can come in. We work with our clients on determining the best systems and processes that hold folks accountable in a way that feels realistic. Finding the right person to help you stay on track makes a big difference. That’s what building stronger communities is all about!
Find a time management system that works for you.
Remember how I said everyone is different? This is where that really comes into play.
Time management differs from person to person. Some people, for instance, love setting timers and using the Pomodoro technique.
This method consists of:
- Timing yourself for a set period (25 minutes)
- Hyper-focusing on one task for that period of time.
- Taking a short break (5 minutes)
- Getting back to work.
- Wash, rinse, repeat.
After a few of these Pomodoros, take a longer break with a snack, walk, or water. Make sure you time it so you return to what you’re doing!
If you’re thinking “Ew that sounds tedious,” what if I told you it can be fun? Mark off different Pomodoros you complete with an activity sheet like Dr. Kate Henry has.
“Amelia Bedelia” proof your to-do list.
This is one of my favorite strategies! It feels a bit silly, but work with me…
Remember Amelia Bedelia? The one who caused a mess because she lacked context and clear directions? Yeah. Let’s stop that from happening with you and your business!
Take a moment to write down every small detail to get your task done.
Open the laptop, hit the power button, open browser, open new email, etc.
Check off each small subtask as you go. Before you know it, you’re on a roll without the extra thinking or missing any steps. When you complete the task, you can look back and appreciate your efforts.
Give yourself grace.
Everyone feels the pull of procrastination. In fact, your job is to figure out where it’s coming from, how it makes you feel, and one simple thing you can do to get started.
So where do you go from here? Let’s chat.
Amber (she/her) is a proud New Englander with a passion for creativity in all its forms.
With over a decade in video production, marketing, and advocacy, Amber knows what it takes to build audiences and help folks become more confident in expressing themselves. She loves to do research, learn people’s stories, and get results! In her spare time, she can be found helping her partner solve Wordle puzzles, gardening, and adventuring.