Procrastination. If I had to pick the top problem that stands in the way of almost every entrepreneur I’ve ever met, it would be procrastination. Everyone struggles with it because we all have certain tasks that we just don’t want to do or that we’re afraid to do for one reason or another. So we put them off, and we put them off, and before we know it, it’s too late or we’ve entirely lost momentum.
Procrastination can kill your business before it has a chance to even launch, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Even if you’re a notorious procrastinator and you put every single thing off until the very last minute, you can train your brain to stop procrastinating and start getting more done with a few simple, proven psychological tricks.
BREAK BIG TASKS UP INTO SMALLER PIECES
If you have a major task ahead of you, it’s easy to get intimidated and put it off until later when you’ll supposedly feel up to the challenge. Of course, as you and I both know, “later” never comes and you never feel ready, so you just end up procrastinating more and more, and getting more and more stressed out at the same time.
Instead of letting large tasks overwhelm you, break them up into smaller action items. As an example, if you have to write a business plan, don’t just put “write business plan” on your to-do list. Instead, break it up into smaller pieces, like writing your executive summary, your business description, your market strategies, etc. You can even break those up into their subcategories, too.
When you do this, your to-do list will look a lot longer, but studies have shown that people get a little thrill and a feeling of accomplishment every time they check something off their daily list. And, every time you do, you’ll see how far you’ve come on the monster task that you would’ve otherwise procrastinated on.
DO THE MOST PLEASING PART OF THE THING YOU DON’T WANT TO DO
After you break that big task up, you need to figure out which part to tackle first. Go ahead and do the part that interests and pleases you most. You’ll probably get it done pretty quickly, and it’ll give you a double reward—you’ll feel the benefit of getting to work as you start to work on something interesting, and you’ll get the benefit of feeling accomplished when you finish this smaller part of your task.
Doing this makes it easier to move on to the part of the task you don’t want to do, and when you do that, you’ll see that your big task is far more doable than you originally thought. As you check things off on your to-do list this way, you’ll feel more and more of the benefits of working on this task instead of just seeing the costs (your time and energy).
USE DAYDREAMING AS A MOTIVATOR
We often manage to avoid doing work by daydreaming about what it’ll be like when you finally achieve your goals. Instead of letting daydreaming be a distraction, you can use it as a means to focus on your work. How? Focus on how doing this task now will help you reach the point where your daydreams are a reality and you’ll start to feel more motivated to get work done now instead of procrastinating.
Try out these three psychological tricks now. Do them consistently and turn them into habits, and you’ll be on your way to kicking procrastination to the curb. Good luck!