Almost every online entrepreneur is familiar with the saying, “The money’s in the list.” While that may be true, I think it’s more accurate to say, “The money’s in the clock.” That’s because, if you don’t get things done in your business, you’ll have no business.
That means procrastinators – like me and my friend Cindy Bidar – have to get a handle on our natural tendencies and figure out how to stop procrastinating. Cindy has some great ideas for us below. I’m taking notes!
I recently attended a retirement party at my previous day job. As I was chatting with my former co-workers, I heard one thing over and over again.
“I could never work for myself. I don’t have the discipline.”
All I could think was, “Neither do I!”
Left on my own, I’d much rather binge-watch another season of “Stranger Things” than to format that sales page or set up one more webinar or organize my receipts for the accountant.
Of course, I can’t do that. I may not have a boss to answer to, but I do have bills to pay and a family to support, vacations to take, and a host of other things that demand an income.
So, I developed good systems that help my stop procrastinating. You can, too.
Overcoming Procrastination With Intentional Time Blocking
Plenty of people talk about time blocking as a way to get more done. Some recommend daily or weekly themes, where every Monday is bookkeeping, Tuesday is writing, Wednesday is product sourcing, and so on.
That can work for some, but it never seemed to help me with overcoming procrastination. If I don’t feel like doing the books on Monday, I can easily talk myself into doing nothing. After all, I don’t have to write until Tuesday, so why not just take the day off?
By the end of the week, I will have accomplished very little, and I’ll be actively avoiding my out-of-control to-do list.
What I do instead of themed days is to theme my hours based on my own energy and creativity levels, and I plan my work accordingly.
For example, I know that I am most creative and energetic in the early mornings, so that’s when I schedule my writing time. I’m less likely to put it off until “later,” and much more likely to get in the flow of creativity. I know I don’t produce my best work if I try to create content in the afternoon or evenings, so I choose to do other tasks at those times.
What I can do later in the day is the mindless administrative work we all have to do. Things like website updates, email, and learning are scheduled in those blocks of time, along with social media and other time-wasters.
When figuring out how to stop procrastinating in your business, think about your own peak energy times. When do you find yourself “getting into the flow” of your work? Pay attention to the times and tasks, and map your workday so you can maximize your creativity and brainpower.
Take Advantage of Your “Flow” States
Switching from task to task is a surefire way to waste time, but time blocking might feel too restrictive for your entrepreneurial spirit. If that’s the case, task batching is for you.
On those days when you feel inspired to write, for example, don’t stop at this week’s blog post. Keep going. Gather up all of those writing projects you’ve been putting off and just write for as long as you can.
Keep a list handy of blog posts you want to write or videos you want to record so that when you’re on a roll you don’t have to stop to brainstorm ideas. Evernote is my top choice for notes and ideas, but you could also use OneNote or Google Keep or your favorite spiral-bound notebook.
Know Your Value as the Business Owner
Chances are good there’s a never-ending to-do list on your desk right now. As the business owner, it all seems to fall on you. Bookkeeping? Your job. Website maintenance? Yours. Sales? Also you. Marketing? You guessed it.
Ask yourself though, “Should I really be doing all the things?”
We all have areas where we shine and that are the best and highest use of our time. In “The Big Leap,” author Gay Hendricks calls this your zone of genius. By aiming to spend most of your time in this zone, rather than say, in your zone of incompetence, you’ll be a lot less likely to procrastinate. Not only that, but you’ll be a happier and more profitable business owner, too.
But what about all those other things? They still have to be done, so how can you make that happen?
If you’re shaking your head right now and thinking, “She’s going to tell me to outsource that stuff and I just can’t afford that,” I want to invite you to do a little math with me. Nothing heavy, just some back-of-the-envelope stuff.
Think about the tasks in your zone of genius. For me, that’s content and course creation. For you, maybe it’s sourcing new products or coaching clients or making sales calls. How much do you earn per hour when you’re doing those tasks?
I know that when I’m creating a new course, I’m earning about $300 per hour. It’s easy to calculate. I just take the amount I earn from sales of the course and divide by the number of hours I spend developing it.
Now that I know what my value is as the business owner, I can objectively look at all the tasks on my to-do list and evaluate whether I should be doing them or not.
I make $300 per hour creating courses. I pay my accountant $30 per hour to do my taxes. That means that if I’m muddling around in QuickBooks figuring out my own taxes, I’m actually paying $300 per hour for the privilege.
That’s a pretty high price to pay for something I don’t even want to do.
What are you doing that’s costing you far more than it should? How can you either automate or outsource those tasks so you can focus on the highest paying projects instead?
As online business owners, we’re under a lot of pressure. We don’t have that regular paycheck to count on or even the consistent work hours. What we do have is the ingenuity to create smart systems to help us get more done and be more profitable, and to do it all in less time.
That’s the only way we get to enjoy the time-freedom promise of self-employment.
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Have questions about how to stop procrastinating? Talk to me below!
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