We’ve all been there before.
You’ve got a great idea for a blog post, but absolutely no motivation to do the research and write it.
Even worse, in the back of our minds we know we want to do it, yet seem to do other less important things instead.
Yup, we’re talking about procrastination.
It’s almost an age old question at this point - “how can someone beat procrastination?” For people like us, we can add - “especially when trying to build a blog or website.”
I’ve gathered a few methods I’ve used to help with procrastination while building my website.
Staying organized is the key to beating procrastination
If you don’t have any idea of what you are supposed to be doing, how are you supposed to get anything done?
Not very efficiently.
So, in order to help combat procrastination, we need to learn how to be organized when it comes to getting things done.
Create a to-do list
A big tip when learning to organize is to always have a to do list written down somewhere.
A to do list is simply a list of tasks that you’d like to get done.
Nowadays, there are plenty of to do apps out there to help keep you on track.
One of the best tips I’ve come across when it comes to creating to do lists is to list the tasks you need to do tomorrow when you are done for the day today.
I find this helps prevent me from forgetting everything and having to think of all the stuff I need to get done, since it’s all in front of me the next day.
This also gives me the rest of the day, night, and morning to mentally prioritize what I have to do first.
I always double check my to do list in the morning just to remind myself of what I am doing that day. This also gives me the chance to add and remove stuff based on its priority.
Set time goals for yourself
Make sure you set deadlines for yourself to get things done.
It’s very easy to create a to do list, but if you don’t set a date or time to get it done, ‘forever’ is your deadline, and that is pretty much meaningless.
Remember, when giving yourself a deadline, make sure it’s actually realistic.
It might not be realistic to write one blog post per day, but it is realistic to write a quality blog post once per week.
The same thing goes for putting deadlines out too far. By the time the deadline that you came up with has come and passed, you’ve completely forgotten about the project!
Break projects down into smaller tasks
A big reason that I’ve found myself procrastinating is because sometimes the task is so big it seems impossible to complete.
If you know you are someone that suffers from having ‘too big’ of an idea, then you may want to start breaking your tasks down into smaller, bite-sized tasks.
For example, you don’t want to put down ‘write a blog post’ on your to do list.
Instead, you’d want to break it up. For example, you’d put ‘come up with a topic for a blog post,’ ‘outline the blog post,’ ‘write an intro for the post,’ etc…
Doing this with any task, big or small, can help you by making it easier to accomplish that task little by little.
Methods to stop procrastination
Everyone is different, so methods that work for someone else might not work for you and some methods might work better for you than others.
Try each of these methods and use the ones that work best for you!
Do the hardest task at your peak time
Do you know what your peak time is?
It’s the time where you feel the most productive.
For some people like myself, it’s right when you get up in the morning, while drinking a cup of coffee.
For others, it may be after everyone has gone to bed, and now they have some peace and quiet.
During the rest of the day, you can complete other less important tasks that may not require as much focus and attention.
Promise yourself a reward for finishing
Don’t just complete task after task without giving yourself some kind of reward in between.
A reward can be something as small as a cookie or snack; it could be a break or time to play a video game.
The most important thing to remember while enjoying your reward is to notice how good it feels to have completed something.
Use this feeling to motivate yourself to do the next thing to get a reward.
Get rid of all distractions
This is a big one for most people.
Distractions are things like email, video games, social media, YouTube, regular TV, radio, newspaper, stone slates, okay, you get it.
You are trying to work on a blog or website, not any of those other things.
For example, we will use a smartphone. Set a timer for 30 minutes and put your smartphone on the other side of the room while you work. When the timer goes off, you can go get your phone!
The same can go for humans, too. If you work from home, you know that people can be distracting. But, you also know when your home can be quiet. Plan your tasks accordingly.
It’s a lot easier to focus without distractions.
Take advantage of positive procrastination
I wrote about positive procrastination in a psychology blog
I used to run way back in the day.
Basically, it’s all about using procrastination to your benefit.
There are a couple of methods to do this.
Dr. John Perry
, a philosopher at Stanford, writes down near impossible tasks and puts deadlines on them. Then he writes down more doable tasks. He says by avoiding the really hard tasks he can get the easier, more doable tasks done first.
, a psychologist at the University of Calgary, also avoids doing the hardest tasks, but in a different way. He works on a project until something really hard comes up. When that happens he switches to another project, and works on that until something really hard comes up. He says “humans are willing to pursue a task as long as we’re avoiding something worse”, and his method goes to show that it works for him.
The Nothing Alternative
, developed by a Florida State psychologist, goes like this, using an example of writing blog posts: “You don’t have to write a blog post. You can’t do anything else.” Set aside one hour to follow this rule. They found that people will end up doing the thing they wanted to do just to keep themselves from getting bored.
You do have to have a little willpower for these methods, but they can make it easier to get things done.
When trying to beat procrastination while working on your website or blog, the main goal is to break the habit of procrastinating.
You can do this by staying organized with a prioritized to do list. Write this to do list after you get done with whatever you are doing for the day and read it over in the morning to refresh yourself on the day.
You also need to keep realistic deadlines, and break larger projects into maintainable, bite-sized tasks.
Other methods to beat procrastination are to get rid of distractions, make sure to reward yourself, and find your peak productive time and do the hardest task then.
If none of those methods work for you, you can take advantage of procrastination by being productive while procrastinating!
Don’t forget to share!