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Six Steps to Overcome Procrastination

Thursday, January 09, 2020

We all have tasks that we enjoy doing, some we don’t mind doing, and some we dread. Many of us put off doing those tasks that we dread. In fact, almost everyone procrastinates sometimes. Up to 95% of people report that they occasionally procrastinate. However, studies reveal that 20% of people are chronic procrastinators.

Procrastination is simply putting off things that you should be doing right now in favor of something that is more enjoyable or that you are more comfortable doing. Researchers report that people who procrastinate have higher levels of stress and lower wellbeing.

For authors and publishers, procrastination can keep you from producing and selling books. Whenever you are struggling with writer’s block, having trouble deciding which cover design to choose, or avoiding the unpleasant task of promoting your book, procrastination may be at play.

Next time you are struggling with procrastination, try employing the following six steps to help you overcome and get motivated.

1.  Recognize When You Are Procrastinating

Become more self-aware. Recognize when you are procrastinating and why. Simply acknowledging your lack of motivation or fear in tackling a task is the first step to change.

2.  Devote Time to the Task

Don’t wait for the muse to strike. You will never feel like doing those tasks you dislike or dread. Instead, devote time to the task. Often, you will find the task was not as unpleasant as you feared once you get started. Schedule a chunk of time in your day to work on the thing you are procrastinating. The amount of time does not need to be large, start with 15 minutes.

3.  Break the Task into Manageable Steps

Large projects can be overwhelming. Breaking down a project into written and manageable steps makes it easier to begin. Doing a smaller piece of a larger project is not so intimidating. Doing even one small actionable step will help you feel like you are accomplishing something, which, in turn, will provide you motivation to keep going.

4.  Embrace Imperfection

Instead of aiming for perfection, just start. If you can’t come up with a chapter title for your book, simply start writing what comes to mind for the chapter content. Not sure what to say on social media? Start by brainstorming ideas. One successful entrepreneur embraced the phrase “Sloppy success is better than mediocre perfection” to keep himself moving forward.

5.  Give Yourself a Deadline

When things are left open-ended, it is easier to procrastinate. Deadlines can be motivational. Setting a goal with a deadline for your project or activity can help keep you on track. So, give yourself deadlines to accomplish each manageable step.

6.  Reward Yourself

Rewards are powerful motivators. Set up a system of rewards for yourself. Each time you use your devoted time to work on your project or accomplish one of your manageable steps, give yourself a reward. You can also use a system of punishments and deprive yourself of something if you fail to follow through on your plan. However, rewards are more motivating than punishments, and few people like to impose punishments on themselves.

Don’t let procrastination keep you from producing and selling more books. If you struggle with procrastination, don’t let it get the best of you. Remember, if you never start, you’ll never fail, but you’ll never have a chance to succeed, either.

 

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Sarah Bolme

Sarah Bolme is the Director of Christian Indie Publishers Association. Through this organization Sarah provides assistance to small publishers and independently published authors marketing books to the Christian marketplace. Sarah is also the author of the award-winning book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. The fourth edition will be released in February 2019.

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