4 Proven Techniques to Stop Procrastination in its Tracks

4 Proven Techniques to Stop Procrastination in its Tracks

It’s really easy to keep postponing tasks you don’t want to do—or are afraid you won’t do right. Everyone procrastinates to some degree, but allowing procrastination to become a habit can be destructive and self-defeating. It can keep you from being successful. In general, procrastination creeps in when a task is: Overwhelming New, with an unknown path to success Something you aren’t good at Unpleasant, uninteresting, or downright boring Whatever the reasons, procrastination can overtake you if you’re not on guard. Here are a few proven techniques you can rely on when the temptation to procrastinate seizes you. When the task is overwhelming, break it up.  A huge task may seem impossible when looked at as a whole, but as Lao Tzu says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Figure out that one step, and take it. After that, identify a few more and build them into your schedule at a pace that will meet your deadline. Keep going. When the path to success is unknown, start anywhere. When you’re headed into unfamiliar territory, you often don’t have enough of the big picture to know where the beginning is anyway. Pick some aspect of the job that seems approachable and start there. Once the task is underway, momentum usually takes over. Eventually, you’ll see how to fill in the rest. When it’s something you aren’t good at, ask someone else. There’s no point in forcing yourself to do something you don’t really have the skill to do. Chances are there’s someone whose business is built on doing exactly what you’re not good at. Give that...
One Simple Way to Avoid Big Problems in Your Solopreneur Business

One Simple Way to Avoid Big Problems in Your Solopreneur Business

When you’re managing a solo business, you never know what sort of problem is going to pop up. Something slips through the cracks. A detail gets lost. No matter how careful you are, you’re just one person, and there are only so many plates you can keep spinning at one time! What can you do to keep one from crashing? Your best strategy is to make things simple. Checklists make things simple. They document routines. They standardize the tasks you do on a regular basis. They eliminate having to think your way through every step of an activity; you simply follow the checklist. You perform the same set of actions, in the same way, in the same order, every time. As our business becomes more complex, we discover that our focus isn’t so easy to maintain and our memory isn’t as reliable as we thought. Especially when it comes to what should be routine matters, we’re shocked to find that obvious and important things are easily overlooked. Even well-entrenched habits can fail us. Checklists rescue us. When we rely on habit alone, we’re likely to skip a step here and there even though they’re part of the routine. The assumption that this small step doesn’t really need to be done in this exact way, gives us permission to do it in some other way, which leads to dropping it altogether if we think it won’t make a difference. Unless a bad outcome is immediately apparent, the revised process gradually becomes the new habit. Eventually, the accumulation of seemingly unimportant changes or omissions can have grave and unforeseen consequences. Remember...
3 Ways to De-Stress Your Solopreneur Life

3 Ways to De-Stress Your Solopreneur Life

If there’s anyone who lives with constant stress, it’s today’s solopreneur! The very definition means that you’ve taken on the responsibility for running your business single-handedly! While having your own business can be very rewarding, allowing you to do work you love for clients who value your talents, there’s no question that there’s a lot of pressure. Anything you can do to de-stress your life is a big step in the right direction! Here are a few suggestions: 1.  Make it easy to work anywhere. If you haven’t yet moved your files to the cloud, I suggest you do it right now. Instantly, you’ll discover how astonishingly convenient it is to be able to access all your documents from anywhere you happen to be! You’ll never again have to copy files to flash drives or attach them to emails in order to work on a project while traveling. You’ll also eliminate the confusion of wondering if you have the most recent version of whatever you’re working on. With only one version, available from any device, you’re always certain.   2.  Delegate tasks. As a solopreneur, you may scoff, “Who in the world am I going to delegate to? It’s just me here!” In fact, the reason you’ve chosen to run your business solo may very well be specifically to avoid the complications and complexities that come with employees. The truth is, you need to find others who can take on those tasks that don’t require your personal touch. Otherwise, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. This is one of the benefits of networking...
Are you a perfectionist? Well, get over it!

Are you a perfectionist? Well, get over it!

Many solopreneurs struggle with perfectionism. It’s an aspect of our personalities that can make us effective because we pay attention to detail and get things done without making foolish mistakes. Unfortunately, there’s a point at which perfectionism becomes self-defeating. While perfectionism may be good in some cases, it can actually be bad in others. Your performance will never be perfect, no matter how hard you try.  In school, you probably did really well. You studied whatever you needed to and aced your exams. As a young adult, you mastered whatever skills you needed to and got rapid promotions on your job. As a small business owner, however, things are different. In the small business world, the amount of information you need to know is limitless. And how can you guarantee you won’t ever make a mistake? Do you have to be perfect to be successful? Thankfully, no! However, for those who have perfectionist tendencies, it can be hard to let go of the idea. The fact is, you don’t need to know everything about everything. Not when the Internet is at your fingertips. And you don’t need to be on top of every detail, either. Not every detail is important. Your work needs to be excellent, but it doesn’t need to be perfect. It can’t be. So keep things in perspective. Those around you are not going to recognize or appreciate perfection. They are going to recognize and appreciate excellence. Performance that seems mediocre to you will probably exceed the expectations of others. For those who set exceptionally high standards for themselves, a performance others consider excellent may actually...
Working Hard is Nothing to be Proud Of!

Working Hard is Nothing to be Proud Of!

In my opinion, there’s no particular virtue in working hard, especially if you’re running a small business. In fact, the opposite is true. Here are six reasons why: 1. Working hard at things you’re not good at is counterproductive. Working hard at something you don’t like and aren’t good at, makes your business drudgery. When you enjoy doing something, it’s a pleasure doing it; it hardly seems like work at all. It’s more rewarding for you and your business to do something you’re good at. Those are the things that will make your business successful. 2. Things that are hard for you will be done better by someone else. Don’t spend hours dragging yourself through some task that will take you forever to do poorly, when someone else will do it in no time flat – and do it better! Making smart choices about how you spend your time is at the heart of effective time management. 3. With limited time and lots to do, spending your time working hard is foolish. Spend your time doing the things you love to do, that you do well, and that contribute to your business’ success. Outsource the tasks you find burdensome to others who thrive on doing exactly those things! Encourage them to delegate the tasks they don’t want to do, to you! The small business circle-of-life depends on solopreneurs helping each other run their businesses more efficiently. 4. Doing things the hard way indicates a real lack of effort. With all the easy-to-use techno-tools specifically designed for small businesses, you have to go out of your way to avoid discovering...
Four Ways to Keep Procrastination from Spoiling Your Summer

Four Ways to Keep Procrastination from Spoiling Your Summer

Ah, summer – that lazy, hazy time of year when everything slows down.  Summer is supposed to be leisurely and unhurried. It doesn’t take much for me to persuade myself that the project I need to be working on right now can wait until tomorrow… maybe even the day after, when they say it’s going to rain. Summer is short; I deserve to enjoy it. Besides, don’t the self-care experts warn us to treat ourselves well or we won’t achieve work-life balance and inner harmony? It’s not good to work all the time. It’s very good to just sit here in the shade. Or maybe take the family someplace fun. Anything but work on that project… Recent studies indicate that as many as 95% of us are prone to procrastination, with 20% being chronic procrastinators! Procrastination is one of the most universal of human flaws.   Why do we allow ourselves to put off what we should do right now? Even when we know (because we do it regularly) that the anxiety of a looming deadline and a job not done will make us regret our procrastination? The easy explanation is that the temptation to postpone an unwanted task in favor of an immediate pleasure is irresistible. But if it were truly irresistible, nobody would ever get anything done.   The fact is that procrastination is a habit. And like most habits, the more you indulge it, the stronger it becomes. Each time you manage to finish just under the wire, that habit is reinforced. And, like other forms of gambling, sooner or later your luck will fail. You’ll have a furious client, a damaged reputation, or some other disaster on...