Hey Friends! I'm so excited to welcome Wendy from The Gratefulist to the blog today. Not only is she one of the most generous and caring people I know, but she's got this productivity game on point. If you have days (or weeks or months) where you feel like you just aren't getting things done, read on!
I’m going out on a limb here. You feel that 2017 is the year that you’ll finally get started on that creative project you’ve been dreaming about for so long. Putting the finishing touches on your creations is difficult for you, because you feel like they could be just a little bit more perfect. You’re also wildly familiar with being stuck in the messy middle of a creative project at the expense of your productivity.
If this is ‘check, check, check’ for you, then you know what it’s like to be stuck in procrastination station. You’re not alone. I’ve been there. Jaimie has been there. Procrastination is the curse of the creative. We create something with our heart and soul and then we have to put our creations out there for the world to see, judge, and criticize. That stuff is scary. No wonder we procrastinate. No wonder our productivity suffers.
The thing is, though, you don’t have to remain stuck in procrastination station. These sure-fire tips will help you beat procrastination and improve your productivity.
1. Take time to reflect
The first step in beating your tendency to procrastinate is to become aware of where and when you’re doing it. Find a quiet time and a quiet space, whip out your journal, and ask yourself these reflective questions:
- Where in my creative process am I likely to procrastinate? Is there one part that’s constantly holding me back?
- When am I procrastinating? Are there certain times of the day, week, or month when I get stuck?
- Are there circumstances that lead to my procrastination?
I encourage you to dig deep and get real clear on the answers. Knowing what procrastination is costing you will be an eye opener.
2. Get clear on what matters to you
Sometimes you set down a path only to find that you want to make a right turn instead of a left. This can leave you feeling unsure in how to move forward. Check in with yourself about why the work you find yourself procrastinating on matters to you:
- Is it still the right idea?
- Do you still feel yourself lighting up thinking about it?
- Is that creative project in line with your vision and your values?
3. Let go of what scares you
One of the answers to the question of why you’re procrastinating could be that you’re afraid of failing. You think you’re not good enough or question whether you’ve got what it takes.
Or maybe you’re secretly afraid of success and you think: “How will that affect my work and life?”
Whether you’re scared of failing, being successful, or facing the unknown, we all deal with these fears somewhere along the way. Think of fear as your mind’s natural reaction to uncertainty. Your fear is here to serve you. Once you listen to it, you can let go of what scares you and move forward.
4. Let go of the idea of perfect
Perfectionism and procrastination are intertwined in multiple ways. Perfectionism can prevent you from stepping up and doing the work. Why start something when you know you can’t do it perfectly?
It can also keep you stuck in the messy middle of a creative project, when you’re working and
re-working every single part of your project over and over again until it’s perfect.
The thing to remember when you feel like perfectionism is creeping in is that what matters is not getting something done perfectly but getting something done at all. You don't want it to be perfect, you want it to be finished.
5. Don’t go at it alone
The final tip that will help you beat procrastination and improve your productivity is to reach out and find community. It’s very easy to go into hiding when that procrastination bug strikes, because you feel like you should do more and work harder. One day of missed work can feel like the end of the world.
Instead, reach out to a friend or post in a Facebook community where you feel supported (like Jaimie's The Happy Creative community). Getting perspective can help everything feel a whole lot more manageable.
My challenge for you is to take the time to reflect and take action on all of these five tips.
The awareness of how procrastination affects you will help you immensely, but nothing will change unless you take action. Remember that you’re not alone. I’ll cheer you on along the way.
Wendy de Jong is a recovering perfectionist on a mission to help fellow soul-connected yet stressed-out creatives embrace their perfectly imperfect selves. She’s a book-oholic, a homemade pizza aficionado, and driving around in her bright red convertible car is her latest guilty pleasure. She took a break from a Scandal-binge on Netflix (gasp!) to create a FREE checklist to help you be the ultimate productivity rockstar.