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5 tips for overcoming procrastination

23.11.11 | Posted in Entrepreneurship General

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I came up with this post while I was busy procrastinating over writing a feature for Latte (the Business Chicks magazine.) In each issue of Latte I interview a female entrepreneur who’s doing cool things. I’ve had the fortune of interviewing Camilla Franks (the kaftan queen); Louise Olsen, founder of Dinosaur Designs; Kristina Karlsson from kikki.k; Natalie Bloom of Bloom Cosmetics and heaps more amazing women.

For the next issue (which is coming out next week) I interviewed Lorna Jane Clarkson who’s famous for her exercise gear. I loved meeting Lorna Jane – she’s gorgeous inside and out – and that’s where the trouble begins. You see these women are so extraordinary that I always want to tell their stories in the best way possible so that our members can be inspired and learn from them. And in my efforts to tell the story in the best way I can, I get stuck. And I avoid it. I find anything else to do other than write that piece. I’m positive I drive my editor mad.

So here’s what I came up with for how to overcome procrastination:

1) Chunk the task down: So with my Latte piece I have to submit about 2000 words. That’s overwhelming for me, so instead I tell myself: “Em, just write 300 words.” And when I’m done with those 300 words, I tell myself to do it again. Breaking up the task and taking small steps always makes it easier.

2) Get someone else involved. When I feel myself procrastinating, I ask someone to give me a good talking to. In the case of finalising my recent article, it was my husband. I told him to be really strict with me and not to let me get up from my desk until I’d written 300 words. Turns out he’s really good at being bossy! He kept coming over and saying “get out of your emails and just write!” It worked.

3) Connect with the end result: It’s great if you can visualise yourself completing a task and trying to attach to that feeling of how good it will be when it’s over. I know whenever I hit send on my article I let out an audible sigh of relief and give myself a little pat on the back.

4) Give yourself a reward. It needn’t be anything big, but should be something that you can look forward to. In my case, I promised myself a glass of wine after I’d reached 300 words. My writing got a whole heap better after that anyway.

5) Just do it. That’s right. When all else fails, just get on with it and do it. Don’t ask your feelings, just do it now.

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6 Comments

  1. Geoff

    Hi Emma. You have made some excellent points about overcoming procrastination and I had an extra few thoughts I would like to share with you. There are reasons why people “do procrastination,” just like there are stories we share with others that prevent us from action and keep us in the comfort zone. It could be a perceived fear, a negative belief, or having more reasons why we should not take action. We have used skills to achieve an outcome, even though it is procrastination and when we know what those skills are as well as things that are getting in the way, we can turn this around into empowering outcomes with results that last.
    Regards, Geoff
    The Success Coach

  2. Lynne Max - Signature Herbals

    I often put things in the too hard basket and then when I finally get on with it – it’s never as hard as you think and usually a piece of cake and you scratch your head and wonder why you didn’t just get on with it.And It feels so good to Just do it X