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Discover why you might be putting off doing your work and how you can stop procrastinating!
There is a great deal of freedom and flexibility when it comes to working at home. For many people, that level of autonomy and lack of boundaries leads to procrastination.
There are many reasons people put off getting work done including:
- The project is hard
- The project is tedious or boring
- You don’t understand the project
- The project is daunting or overwhelming
- There is fear of failure around the project
- Poor time management
- Lack of boundaries around work space and time
The problem with procrastination is that if you don’t get your work done, you won’t get paid. Worse yet, you could get fired.
If you’re trying to work from home, or are working from home but aren’t being productive, there are many strategies you can use to overcome procrastination. Here are a few you can use right now to boost your motivation and productivity, and stop procrastinating.
Stop Making Excuses
It’s too hard. I’m too busy. I don’t have time. The kids interrupt me. The new episode of [insert TV show name] is on. Sometimes the reasons we give ourselves for not working seem to make sense, but they’ll sabotage your success if you buy into them. Excuses can be overcome, and if you’re not working to defeat them, then you’ll struggle to be successful working at home. Everyone who works at home experiences distractions, disruptions and disappointment. But instead of accepting them, they anticipate, plan for, and work round them.
Be brutally honest with yourself about why you’re putting off doing your work, and then make a plan to overcome it.
Break Down Your Projects
If you’re procrastinating because the project feels too daunting, then it’s time to break down the task into manageable tasks. For this to work, you have to accept that projects take time and be willing to put in the effort over time. I’m extremely impatient and like to see results quickly. But many of the projects I have, creating a course or writing a book, can’t be done in a day. It usually can’t be done in a week. But if I spend one hour a day on it, within a few weeks, I’ve completed or made significant progress. In fact, most people don’t do anything, when if they’d simply put in a few minutes a day, they’d be near their goal.
Breaking down your projects not only helps you make your tasks manageable, but it will help you identify what you don’t know and need to learn, can make something that seems hard more attainable, and can help reduce fear because you have a better understand of what’s involved.
Breaking down your projects requires that you make a plan that starts with list of what you need to research or learn, what needs to be done, and the tools you need. Then each day you add a task or a few tasks to your to-do list.
Make a To-Do List
It can be hard to get to work if you’re not sure what it is you should be doing. Having a vague idea of what to do doesn’t motivate you to work. Instead, you have to have a list of specifics. Write a blog post about [insert blog article title]. Call client about [insert topic]. Do [insert task] project for my boss. My to do list has everything such as:
- Check email
- Check social media
- Share on social media
- Write blog post
- Update all lessons in module 3 of online course
- Edit chapters 4-6 of book
- Research new social media tool
I don’t have to guess at what needs to be done. I don’t waste time figuring out what to do next.
I use a bullet journal (although I think I’m moving back to the Happy Planner in 2019) so I can create the plan the fits how I work. I have used Happy Planner before; however, many others like Erin Condren, which can also be customized and allows for fun creativity. You can use any planner/to-do system that works best for you.
Set Realistic Goals
Many people procrastinate because they’re goals are so big that they’re daunting or overwhelming. If you’re to-do list is impossible to get through or you’ve set unmanageable goals, you’re going to get discouraged and/or burned out.
Working at home often involves projects. Completing projects requires many tasks that you need to plan and plot at a reasonable pace.
This may seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes people procrastinate because of mental or physical fatigue. Use a time to step away from your work space every 60 to 90 minutes. Just five to ten minutes to rest your mind can boost your mood and energy.
Work Somewhere Else
I try to take at least one day a week where I work from another location, such as the library or local java joint. My morning routine, and a few of my work activities, are done in another space in my house away from my office. I do this because boredom can lead to procrastination, and working in the same four walls all day, every day can get boring. The Balance Small Business has an article from yours truly on alternative work spaces when you need a break from your home office.
Plow Through or Delegate
I have several regular to-dos that I find tedious so I pay someone to do them for me. But when I started out, I couldn’t afford that, so I just had to do them myself. If a project is tedious or boring, but necessary to your success, sometimes you’ll just have to suck it up and do it, unless you can delegate it to someone else. Follow through on your goals is the number one factor to success.
Some tricks to plowing through a hard or boring tasks is to find a way to make it fun, such as turning it into a game. Another option is to reward yourself when you’re done or focus on what you’ll gain, such as the freedom and flexibility to work at home, spend more time with family, or whatever goal you hope working at home will bring.
If you’re procrastinating because you’re being lazy…get off your tookus and plow through it.