Creativity is really hard work. I’m actually writing this blog post, but I’m supposed to be writing another one – but to marshal my thoughts seemed like a lot of effort.
Building a business is full of creative tasks that require really hard thinking, unfamiliar tasks that require us to work and boring tasks that we would just rather not do.
What we tend to do when faced with these tasks is procrastinate. A little creative procrastination can be okay – you know, when you need to do something in order to let your mind turn over thoughts. But procrastination that is unchecked and unaware and uncontrolled is a death knoll for a business. The problem with procrastination is that we can keep doing it until the day is gone, until opportunities pass us by, until we die.
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone”
― Pablo Picasso
So it’s really important for us to avoid procrastination.
Action: Avoid procrastination
Here are some steps you can take to avoid procrastination:
- Become aware of your procrastination habits. (How many of those mentioned in the video do you do? I found this funny and sobering because I related to it.) Techniques you can use to increase your awareness include:
- Keeping a record of what you are doing every 15 minutes during the day. You will be more aware when recording, but also you will uncover lots of your procrastination habits.
- Write down everything you have achieved at the end of each day. If the list is looking a bit light on you can look back and decide why
- Write yourself a schedule or routine and stick to it. This is especially important if you work from home or by yourself.
- Just start the hard work, rather than checking emails & social media sites first.
- Go somewhere else to work where there are less distractions. The local library, cafe or coworking space all work for me.
- Know what your goals are, keep clear about them and revise them everyday. When your goals are front of mind its much harder to waste time
- Have a compelling reason for what you are doing. If you don’t find your work compelling, then maybe you are doing the wrong thing.
This great article by Scott Berkun has a few ideas about how to be more creative.
Join the conversation:
Confession time: What are your procrastination pitfalls? And what do you do to keep yourself on track.