Do you ever put things off only to wonder later why you didn’t get them done sooner?
If you’re not a procrastinator, I envy you. If procrastination is one of your bad habits, I promise you that it can get better. But you have to work at it.
As a fellow procrastinator, I’ve given quite a bit of time and thought and study to why people procrastinate and, if you are a procrastinator, what you can do about it.
Having made significant improvement in this area in the last couple of years, I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned.
First, why we put things off … I’ve got four reasons this usually happens for me:
- I’m uncertain of the next step.
- I have a concern about something that will happen after the project is complete.
- Brain fog — some days my brain doesn’t want to shift into high gear.
- I’m feeling overwhelmed, either by the project or by something else I also feel like I “should” doing.
Having identified these triggers, I’ve come up with pretty reliable systems to keep me on track:
Project task lists. Just like when you set your goals, you make a list of objectives and tasks to complete, I do the same thing with my projects. That way, I always know what my next step is. If I’ve scheduled time to work on a particular project, then I check the task list and I get to work. No putting things off allowed.
Client interviews. Sometimes, I’m worried the project isn’t going to deliver as expected. When I’m feeling that way, I’m very likely to put off working on something. To counteract this reason for procrastination, I make sure I talk to my clients before project work starts, so I know we’re on the same page. I’ll also submit an outline for approval before really digging in.
Physical activity. When my “getting-things-done” gears are slipping because of brain fog, I drink a glass of water and go for a brisk walk or do some jumping jacks. This usually gets me into a mind frame where I’m ready to work.
Setting a timer. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I work in short time increments and switch between projects often. It’s not my favorite way to work, but it’s better than spinning my wheels all day feeling uncertain about what I should be doing. If I get too overwhelmed, I’m likely to clean the house and get nothing work-related done at all.
Finally, my favorite tip for overcoming procrastination is to work to a schedule. Make an agreement with yourself that certain hours of the day are work time, and then when you put in those hours, walk away and go have fun. This strategy has worked wonders for me.
So, what are your procrastination triggers? Do you have any favorite strategies for countering the urge to put things off
New on the Site
If you have a professional website built on the WordPress platform, don’t miss our latest Tech Corner. Jim walks you step-by-step through the process of adding sidebar images to your website.
Crafting a strong Unique Selling Proposition in your sales writing begins with understanding the features and benefits of what you’re writing about. John Torre digs deeper into how you can transform features and benefits into a strong USP.
And don’t miss Marianne Foscarini’s latest blog entry. She discusses some of the recent changes in Google ranking and what you can do to make sure you stay ahead of the curve.
Mark Your Calendars
Join me this week as I interview Heather Lloyd-Martin. In this live teleconference, Heather is going to dig into recent Google changes and give you an inside look into how those changes might be affecting your website rankings … and what you can do about it.
Also this week, we’re having a panel discussion with Michele Peterson, Christina Gillick, Steve Roller, Roy Furr, and Rae Robinson about how attending live networking events, trade shows, and writing conferences can help you build your career. This is a fun group of people with a ton of practical knowledge, and they are all so generous in sharing it with fellow web writers. I hope you’ll attend!
Then on January 27th, Rebecca Matter will join us in a live webinar event to share five proven strategies you can use to find new clients in the coming year. You don’t want to miss this one.
Around the Web
This article uses cake as analogy to show how copywriting and content marketing work together. It’s a fun read and definitely worth the while.
Do you ever use newsjacking in your content marketing? That’s when you use the current news cycle to build brand awareness. This is a good piece on the do’s and don’ts of newsjacking.
Do you want to be a more prolific writer? If your answer is yes, you should read this post on Social Media Today.
That’s all for now. Make it a great week!