As most of you know from reading my past blog posts , I am a self-proclaimed procrastinator. But I am adamantly working on it and I have to say that I think that I am getting better. This post is not due for another week and a half and I am already starting on it. Yes, I am patting myself on the back.
According to Professor Joesph R. Ferrari of DePaul University, who writes extensively on procrastination, there are two types of procrastinators: those that delay making decisions and those that delaying taking action. He states that people who avoid making decisions, typically are dependent on others and rely on them to make decisions for them.
The people who avoid taking action typically have low self-esteem issues. They are capable of making a decision but do not ever follow up on it.
Many people fall into both of these categories and not just one or the other.
Are you a procrastinator? Have you started your own business within the last year to 18 months? Have you flat lined at making just under 1,000 a month or more? Do have often find that you are all over the place with what you are working on and have trouble focusing on one specific project or goal. You, my friend, need to manage your time better!
If you are still unsure if you are a procrastinator check out the questionnaire from Mind Tools. They will help you to determine if you are a procrastinator and how much of one you are. I landed right in the middle, which goes to show you that I am making progress in my efforts to become better.
In this article, we are going to go through the 5 ways to fix your procrastination so that you are able to kick start your earnings to over 5 figures a month.
In this post, we will go over
- Keep a Tally to determine how much time you need on certain tasks
- Know when your best work is done
- Scheduling of your days
- How to set deadlines
- Making Lists for your success
Let’s go ahead and get started.
1.Keep a Tally to Determine How much Time you Need on Certain Tasks
The first thing you will want to do before you even think about becoming more productive is to determine how you work and how much time it takes you for certain tasks. Are you the type of person who says to yourself that you are going to check social media for twenty-five minutes and then look up and three hours have passed by? Don’t sugar coat it- you know you do! It may not be social media but there is something in your life that you think you are super quick at, but really it takes you three times as long to complete as you think it does. I promise we all do!
The first way to overcome this is to start a tally of your work. For two solid days, I want you to write down everything that you do in fifteen-minute increments. And pick typical work days for yourself, not a crazy non-normal day. Write down everything that you have done in each of those 15 minutes. You will start to realize a pattern of how long certain tasks take you. You may notice that you spend more time answering emails than you would have guessed that you do. Knowing how much time it really does take you on certain tasks will help you with step 3 of scheduling your days.
2. Know When Your Best Work is Done
Now that you know how much time it takes you to complete certain tasks, it is now time to know when you produce your best work. Knowing when you are the most productive will help you schedule your days as well. Are you the type of person who is fired up and ready to go first thing in the morning and then fades off as the day goes along. Are you the type who likes to burn the midnight oil when the rest of the world is quiet. Knowing your own personal work style and when you are the most productive will help you when you go to schedule your days. You will not want to schedule your most critical tasks for your least productive part of the day. During your least productive parts of the day schedule your social media interactions and answering of emails. If you did the first step of keeping a tally you should see a pattern of when you accomplished the most work.
For me, this is just after lunch. I am a creature of habit and I like to work a typical work day. Mostly because that is when my husband and children are out of the house and I can concentrate while the house is quiet. But I am not an early morning go-getter. In the mornings, I like to do my prep work. I typically check our social media accounts, I go through my emails and I do my research. This leaves my afternoons clear to focus on the projects that I have going on. You may not be like me. You may be a night owl who finds that your best work is done late in the night. There is no right or wrong time of the day. It is whatever works best for you.
3. Schedule Your Days
You now know how much time it takes you for your most common tasks and when you are the most productive and work your best. Let’s move on to how to schedule your days so that you are the absolute most productive. This is important because you want to get your work completed in the shortest amount of time possible so that you can focus on other important tasks like taking the steps to increase your business or use that time for yourself.
The first thing that you need to do is put everything, yes I mean everything, on your calendar. Routine is everything. Before you leave your work behind today, I want to challenge you to schedule out your time on a calendar for tomorrow work. If you know you work the hardest and the best is at 2:00, schedule that time of the day for your most important work. During your least productive time, schedule your social media time, the answering of emails or phone calls or the planning for future projects.
Schedule your time as if you are setting up meetings for that project or job. Give yourself twenty to twenty-five minutes of distraction-free focus time on that one task. Book that time on your calendar and let others that you work with know that during those times you do not want to be disturbed. Make sure to also let them know when you will be returning phone calls and emails. Once you have finished your 20-25 minutes of focus time, take a five to ten-minute break to switch gears to the next task. Research has shown that suddenly switching from one task to another without giving your brain a transition time, can cost as much as 40% of your productive time.
When scheduling your time on a calendar use a color coding system. When something is mandatory and does not need to be moved from your calendar use the color red or orange. If something is important but can be adjusted a day or two to account for something that may come up color code it with a blue or purple. If there is something that needs to be completed but does not have a specific time frame then color code it in gray. This will allow you to see what is a priority the minute you look at your calendar.
Lastly, make time for whitespace. Schedule time for whitespace, and that means just to clear your mind and think. Take that time to think about your goals for the week, the month and the year. This should be your dreaming and planning time.
4. How to Set Deadlines
Now that you know how to schedule your time, lets take that a step further and set deadlines for yourself for the projects and tasks that you have going on. If you are in business for yourself, this is a new step for you. You are now making your own decisions as to when and how things will be accomplished. Have no fear. I have faith in you, that if you follow these steps, a deadline will become your new best friend.
The first step is to make certain you are setting a SMART goal. A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. When setting a goal, it must be able to hit all of those things. If it does not you need to re-evaluate and set a new more specific goal. Let’s start by asking yourself the 6 W Questions.
- Who is Involved?
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Where will this take place?
- When will this happen?
- Which requirements will this need?
- Why am I wanting to set this deadline?
Then you take that a step further with making certain that it is measurable by asking the other 3 W Questions:
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
From there you will need to make certain your goal is based on your abilities, interest, needs, and desires. If you do not have a why behind what you do and why you do it then you will easily get sidetracked. If your deadline is based on something that you have a passion for it will no longer feel like work. Resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Your goals should be difficult so that you are continually growing yourself and your skillset. Remember, a goal can be both high and realistic. Only you can decide just how high your goal should be. If you lack the skillset that is needed to accomplish your goal, plan ahead to gain the knowledge or skills that you will need to make sure you are a success. Research your roadblocks and learn from others who have done what you are doing.
Setting a Deadline
The last step in achieving a smart goal is to make certain that it has a deadline. That means a clearly defined time frame. Time frames give a sense of urgency.
Start creating your deadline by breaking your project down into steps. From there you will want to figure out how long each step will take and then set a sub-deadline for each of those steps. This may sound obvious but breaking it down like this will ensure your success. Take it one step at a time. Focus on your one thing, work on it until it completed and then move on to the next step.
When setting a time frame for your goals go back to our Step 1 of keeping a tally of how much time it takes you to complete certain tasks. Knowing this will help you set a realistic time frame and makes certain you give yourself the adequate time that you need.
If you are working with a team or even dependent upon a contractor to complete part of the work for you, check with them before setting your time frames. If your completion date depends upon them, you will want to make certain that you are not setting yourself up for failure, by their lack of being able to commit to your due dates. Doing this ahead of time will ensure that everyone is on the same page and understand the time constraints and what is expected of them and when.
Once you have scheduled your due dates, it is extremely important to do some check-ins along the way. This is especially critical if you are relying on others for part of the project. The last thing you want to discover is that someone will be missing a due date that will derail your launch date. If you adhere to check-ins as the work progresses, you will be able to better avoid these types of derailments. But this does not only apply to working with a team, you need to check in on yourself too. Make certain you are hitting your deadlines along the way. You will need to keep up the pace according to the scheduled deadlines you set for yourself before you started.
If this is an area that is difficult for you. If you lack focus and are needing someone to help hold you accountable, check out our Syndicate Momentum Program. It is designed to do just that.
Lastly, always assume that you will have last minute issues and problems that could potentially set you back. Schedule your deadlines to give yourself some wiggle room for these types of potential problems. If you complete early and you have no issues what so ever, then you have given yourself an opportunity to review everything an additional time to look for areas of improvement.
5. Make Lists for your Success
Now that you know how to properly set a goal and a deadline, let’s go over making lists. Your deadline is an overall view of what you need to accomplish by your set date. Your list building will help you make certain that you accomplish all of the smaller tasks.
When you are working on a lot of tasks, it is easy for things to start falling through the cracks. Lists are great for helping keep you on task and getting things done on time. There are several types of lists that you can create. I want you to focus on these three types of lists.
The Master Goal List
The Master Goal is a long term list of things you want to be able to accomplish in 90-180 days. Think about the things that you want to get done in the next three to six months that will make a huge impact on your career and your life. This list is for your what and when of the things that you want to be able to accomplish.
The Weekly Project List
The Weekly Project List is comprised of broken down items from your Master Goal list. These items are broken down into smaller tasks from your Master Goal list. This sets goals from week to week and will help you to set your daily schedule.
Daily To-Do List
A daily to-do list should be tasks that do not take more than a few hours to complete. Do not use a daily to do list as a place to put all of the things you need to work on, that would be a never-ending list. Use the daily to-do list to break items down further from your weekly project list.
Create your daily to-do list at the end of the day before you leave. Look at your list from that day. Was there anything on that list that you were not able to accomplish. If there was move it over to tomorrow’s daily to-do list, but first ask yourself if it belonged on your task list in the first place, or if it is something that can be outsourced. On this list could be emails to send, phone calls to make or appointment that need to happen. If you are like me I set a daily word count goal for my blog posts.
Breaking your lists down in these steps helps to keep focus and projects moving forward quicker, leading to more accomplishments and more possibilities to increase income.
We have gone through how to keep a tally of how much time taks take you, how to recognize when you do your best work, how to schedule your time to be the most productive and how to set a deadline. If you follow all of the steps that I have laid out for you, you will be able to be more productive, leaving you open time to focus on increasing your business in 2016.
- How to become your own boss in less than 365 days - February 9, 2016
- How I was Able to Create a $10k a Month Revenue Stream and Still be a Rock Star Mom and Employee - February 1, 2016
- The 4 Pieces you Must Have to Reach $10k per Month Working from Home - January 22, 2016
- Getting More Organized: 4 Ways to Triple Your 2016 Income - January 11, 2016
- How your procrastination is keeping you from earning 5 figures a month (and the 5 ways to fix it) - January 1, 2016
- 4 Steps to an Elevator Speech that will Increase Your Leads in a Week - December 18, 2015
- 4 Ways Your Perfectionism Kills Your Success and How to Correct Them - December 2, 2015
- 6 Steps to a Creative Employee Handbook (While Keeping you Legally Protected) - November 16, 2015
- How To Cut Your Work Week In Half By Using Procrastination Killers - November 4, 2015
- How to Make Your New Employee Fall in Love with Your Company from Day One - October 28, 2015