There are days when things just fly. Everything you touch seems to turn into gold, things just work and you get a bunch of stuff from your desk you truly feel you are behind with. And then, there are other days where you feel that you need to fight to get just a simple thing from the table. Unfortunately, we can’t avoid these days but we can try to stay organized and find things we can do against procrastination.
Procrastination is the real thief of life. When you are busy kicking the can down the road or putting things off, you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to do more and better in the future because, guess what, stuff that you put off today is just going to pile up in the future. It’s completely irresponsible, self-destructive, and a negative habit to have. Unfortunately, we are creatures of comfort. We like to do things that are fun and easy. We like our rewards now. Procrastination meets all those criteria. As the old saying goes, “Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.” It is easy to procrastinate. Just do stuff that is pleasurable. Right here. Right now. For example, instead of promoting your website, you could play games all day. Instead of chasing down leads for your service provider online company, you go shopping or hang out with family and friends. There are just so many things that are pleasurable than actual work. However, if you want to succeed in online marketing, you have to beat procrastination. Use the following tips to help you avoid procrastination.
1. Have a daily ritual. A daily ritual really forces your mind to focus on certain things. It helps you keep first things first. Your daily ritual should be some sort of physical exercise like running in the morning or walking around. Do something that physically centers your mind. Once this is done, you are more energized, focus and ready to work. My mum and I usually go with the dog for an hour every day. Even when we had no dog we did that. We just got in “mood to work”. Although I’m not a sporty person I must say I totally got used to that. My mind gets cleared. When I still had my students I thought that I couldn’t do that because I never had time. B***s. Sure I had, I just spent it not for myself but on other things.
2. Another good tip is to set a very short to-do list. One of the biggest problems for me is when I make very long to-do lists. When I look at this long list of stuff that needs to be done, I get intimidated, close my book and literally “run away” ;-).Procrastination is a mental game. It works based on intimidation and mental signals. I realized that I’m sending myself the wrong mental signal when I make this huge long list that I know that I can’t accomplish. For me, the key is to trick myself: I make that list as short as possible so that I can mentally say “I can do this”. And once I knock these tasks out, I add some more things to the list.
3. I also try to apply the 80/20 rule to my daily activities. The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, is fairly straightforward. It says that, only 20% of all the things that we do add 80% of the value to our daily lives. The key is to find the 20% that you do that really pushes your business or your life forward. Devote most of your time to that 20%. The other 80% , you can either outsource, delegate or just postpone those. For the 80%, is is perfectly okay to procrastinate. But if you do that 20% everyday, you will succeed.
If you want to learn more about how to avoid procrastination, check out the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” – it is a bestseller and well worth reading. When I feel demotivated, I just have to read a few pages and get on track again.