Let’s Just Do It. Tips for Passionate Practitioners and Coaches To Get Their Businesses Back on Track — 4 Key Ways To Stop Procrastination

Photo Credit: Karim MANJRA | Unsplash

This is a series for coaches and therapists who are passionate about their work and their clients but struggling to find a way to make things work post-Covid as clients melt away and money becomes an issue for most people.

Procrastination! We’re all guilty of doing it, more often than we’d like to admit. Procrastination may not be just running right up to, and beyond, the deadline for some work or tax returns. It may also be putting off important life decisions like whether or not you should ask your boss for that raise she promised last month, or whether you should join a gym, leave your boyfriend, have a baby, move, speak to your cousin again… — it’s endless.

And if you don’t start learning how to stop putting things off, you’ll have to deal with procrastination your whole life which may have a negative effect on your relationships, career, and personal health.

What’s going on?

One of the thought processes behind procrastination is that we believe there’s always tomorrow, so why not just steer clear of the stress and anxiety and put it off until later. But even more important is the emotion behind it and this tends to be Fear! So, the first thing you need to tackle is figuring out what the stressful fear factor is behind your procrastination. It could be fear of failure, fear of confrontation, fear of not being perfect, previous bad experiences with being judged….

We tend to be our own worst critics and tend to replay criticism we fear getting over and over to ourselves before we even try to do the task. Know that you are your own worst critic and you will judge your flaws and imperfections way too harshly.

But you can be your own best supporter!

Studies show that when you have a gentle approach to yourself for putting things off or not getting things done as perfectly as you would’ve liked, it can actually help fend off procrastination. A gentle approach is softly recognising that you are trying to protect yourself from something scary or unpleasant — like the criticism you fear to receive. And then finding a way to get support from other people, or yourself, to experiment with feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Just making the action and turning it into an experiment you have an interest in, rather than the be all and end all, helps enormously.

And most importantly, have realistic goals before you give yourself a hard time. Almost everything in life is a work in progress so expect to revisit, tweak, change or move rapidly on from anything you do. Hardly anything is set in stone. Sometimes we tend to bite off more than we can chew, then we go off the deep end because the end result wasn’t anywhere what we had envisioned. It is a lot easier if you just see it as a first step in a trial run.

Try these tips to help you avoid procrastination once and for all.

1. Turn burdensome tasks into habits.

We all have enough willpower, energy and concentration to get about 3 or 4 tasks done each day. But the intensity of these strengths varies over the day. So the best thing is to combine the formation of habit times with specific types of tasks. For example, do tasks that call for different skills, energy and focus in each time block. Sometimes you have loads of creative energy, other times enough energy for routine tasks, other time you have great connecting energy good for communicating ….. So divide your tasks of the day up into different types and fit them with the times of the day when your energy and focus power most fit the task.

I do my most creative tasks first thing and that energy lasts for about 90 mins. I then shift gear and do another work task such as planning for the day and getting my documents ready. That lasts for about an hour. My communicating energy is highest in the afternoons so my meetings and client times happen then when I am at my best ‘connecting’ time.

The thing about habits is that they use other parts of our brain because they have formed into well used neural networks and this takes far less energy up than pushing your will power energy to do things that need you to create a new neural pathway every time. So, when you train yourself to do something out of habit, rather than look at it as a new mountain to climb, you think about it less which means you’re using less energy and you won’t fall into the procrastination rut.

Things like brushing your teeth or making your bed have all become daily habits which you automatically perform without even considering putting them off. Why not turn great productivity habits, healthy eating, daily exercise, and turning in whatever is due ahead of time into daily habits as well?

After that it becomes easier, but you still have to keep yourself motivated and inspired. Procrastination is all about taking that dreaded first step. So why not ease into it with the knowledge that after a certain amount of time, or once X is finished I can watch videos on YouTube or go get a cup of coffee. Make it pleasant for yourself because the reward helps the brain wire itself to the habit and that helps you self motivate. If you’re happy at the end of it your brain slowly turns this task into a habit that you look forward to, instead of something you dread on a daily basis.

2. Break work tasks into chunks.

Instead of cleaning out the entire garage, do the right side first, take a break, then do the left side, take a break, then finish off the rest. At work, big tasks may seem daunting when you look at them as a whole. The answer? Break it down into smaller tasks. Make an outline of the entire project, and then divide it up into smaller tasks.

Working in 30-minute increments also helps break down tasks into smaller chunks which are manageable and not so intimidating. After the 30 minutes (or whatever time chunk fits your energy for that time of the day and the task) take a break and assess your work. Seeing how much you’ve accomplished will give you that boost of confidence you need to keep at it.

3. Remove distractions.

Checking your email every 5 minutes isn’t doing you any good. So, once you’ve committed to doing the job, limit distractions by putting things out of the way that will distract you. You can find apps that help you stay on track. You can put your phone in another room for a while — or switch it off.

The important thing is that you set up a certain time for checking emails or your social media, and once you’ve started your task, you avoid the urge to take a sneak peak.

Another serious distraction is multi-tasking. Even though it may seem that you’re being productive, the truth is it’s a complete waste of time and energy. Think about it, it takes your brain about 20 minutes to completely focus on one task and give it 100%, and then you bring in another task which means you decrease your focus level by half, bring in a third task and the focus drops even lower. So even though you’re working more, your end results will be below average. Sticking to the plan of one task, one time really does work. If you think of something to do quickly just jot it down on a pad for doing later. Stick with the current task.

4. Work during your peak hours.

Like I wrote above when we combined habit formation with peak times it is important to get to know your own rhythms. We all have certain times during the day when we’re most alert. Some of us are morning people, some are night owls, and some have more energy during the afternoon hours. Find out what your peak hours are and tackle your most difficult tasks then. You’ll be more of a powerhouse then with your brain working at its maximum capacity.

Procrastination is different than being lazy because when you procrastinate, you delay doing something and tend to distract yourself whilst also feeling guilty. So why not turn that task you’re dreading into something more enjoyable or get some help to do it, and stall the urge to procrastinate?

Of course, another great way to tackle procrastination is to get help from someone else who is happy to do tasks that you are putting off because you don’t like them or are not good at them. So think about that option too as you begin to work on your tendency to procrastinate.

Need More Happiness, Freedom and Hope? Join My Webinar…

Interviewing people to help you can take some time but if you want 5 quick and easy steps to regaining happiness in your business and in your life, join me for my free webinar. These 5 steps are so easy to implement and they will have an immediate effect on your mood and your outlook on life. Get off the hamster wheel and take some time for yourself with my webinar. Join my list and be the first to know when I’m live online. https://forms.aweber.com/form/76/1704509576.htm

“Just imagine if the next 5 years is like the last 5 years? How are you keeping your self financially secure, happy and living your life of purpose helping people succeed?”

Elizabeth specializes in helping you Get Your Coaching or Therapy Practice Back On Track. Sign up for her highly-acclaimed free challenges and webinars to find out how to FutureProof your business.

“Yes please, I’d love to find out more …..”
https://forms.aweber.com/form/76/1704509576.htm

--

--

--

Best-selling Digital Communicator on the Science, Psychology, Soma and Soul of Compassion in Action

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Why I Don’t Always Work From a Desk

A Tiny Writing Habit for the New Year

What are Smart Goals?

The First Article

Attention Matters more than Time

My Newfound Joy: Full Trello Card Covers

15 Effective Tips To Work Smarter Not Harder

‘Deep Work’ by Cal Newport

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Elizabeth Morris

Elizabeth Morris

Best-selling Digital Communicator on the Science, Psychology, Soma and Soul of Compassion in Action

More from Medium

CS371p & CS373 Spring 2022: Aimery Methena

Paris Spring School

Paris Metro Station

How to eradicate poverty in 5 simple ways.

Recursion