While putting things off may seemingly make your work load easier, the relief is always only temporary. Procrastination results in increased stress, lower quality sign work, and missed sign making deadlines. If you are a chronic procrastinator read on for 5 tips on how to stop putting things off and start getting things done – today.
- Trick yourself into thinking it is later than it is. Sometimes procrastination becomes an addiction. When you put things off to the last minute the surge of adrenaline your body produces sends along the negative stress hormone cortisol, which makes you feel relief. The affect cortisol has on your body is similar to the affect of dopamine, the hormone that causes you to feel good. You can wind up addicted to the feeling of relief that comes from completing the job under stress, rather than feel good because you actually did a good job. Break the habit by setting deadlines earlier than they have to be, turning your clock ahead, and fooling yourself into thinking you have waited until the last minute.
- Put the project aside, but don’t leave it for the last minute. The thinking process called incubation is when your brain makes connections that take time and meditation. After reviewing the project or problem, set it aside and spend a few hours, days, or even a week just thinking about it. When you come back to it, you will be ready to work, and likely have a better approach than if you had just torn into the project from the start. Just make sure you don’t wait until the day before it is due.
- Make yourself accountable. Ask someone to monitor your progress. Send them a list of things you hope to accomplish that day or that week. At the end of the time period they should check back with you to see if you have accomplished what you said you would. Tip: Put things on the list about a month before they are due, if possible, and order them by priority.
- Action comes before motivation. You are not likely to be zealous about a project before you have started it. Get going and you might find yourself completing work ahead of schedule in no time.
- Check the quality of your work. If you are a chronic procrastinator you probably believe that your work is better done at the last minute. Whether or not you feel you do better work when you wait until you are rushed doesn’t matter; what does matter is what the customer thinks. Ask your clients about the quality of your work. If they are satisfied, it might not be a problem for you to keep putting things off… just don’t miss your deadline.
Now, I don’t know what you have put off to read this article, but its over. Time to get back to work on your sign making business!