Procrastination is the enemy of entrepreneurs the world over. While some people manage to stay away from the “alluring” trap of last-minute work, many of us get stuck in that never-ending cycle of 2 a.m. project-finishing.
You know the feeling: You’re coming up on a deadline, and you’ve waited until the last minute to even get started. Or worse, because you’re a solopreneur (with no one looking over your shoulder), you keep pushing the “deadline” to give yourself more time. And then you use that extra time for something else. (Can you hear my understanding sigh?)
Top tips, but first…
In this article, I’ll give you my top techniques for beating procrastination, specifically for creatives and yarnpreneurs! Before we get started with the tips, though, I want to make sure you do one thing: Be gentle with yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up over past procrastination episodes. At its core, procrastination is a habit — one we usually learn or acquire over years of school or workplace projects. Overwhelmed solopreneurs are more susceptible to falling into the trap of last-minute overwork as well.
One of the most common reasons we resort to procrastination is we’re simply doing too much. Start by taking a look at the bigger projects you’re working on. Are there too many to reasonably get done in the time you’ve allotted? Alternatively, do you have too many small projects or unfinished tasks that have piled up so you’re not able to complete them?
If you’ve determined that you’ve simply taken on too much, then you have to start the difficult process of cutting projects or tasks to allow you time to complete the most essential items on your list. Don’t be shy. You’ll need to be ruthless during this process to make real headway.
My next tip is to examine the habit.
If you find yourself procrastinating often, it’s likely turned into a habit rather than a last resort reserved only for emergencies. While habits can be hard to break, the first step is acknowledging that it’s a destructive pattern.
Breaking a habit is different for everyone, and here are some things I recommend:
- Set a lot of alarms to remind you to get things done on time.
- Break tasks down into tiny, bite-sized pieces. We can often put off a task that feels daunting, so by breaking it down, we can avoid that feeling of overwhelming.
Create a simple procrastination tracker and post it in your workspace. Give yourself points for getting things done ahead of time. You can even set up rewards in advance to give yourself extra incentive! Even though habits can be hard to break down, the upside is that once you form the new pattern, you don’t have to work nearly as hard at it.
Practice does not make perfect
As creatives, we lean towards also being perfectionists. We like to make sure our work is as flawless as possible before sending it out into the world. Unfortunately, this trait usually means we get stuck working and reworking things. Sometimes we don’t even get past the first step in a project because we can’t seem to get it “just right.”
To help combat this for you, let’s talk about the differences between “quality” and “perfection.” I am a big stickler for quality in my products. All my courses are proofread multiple times; they all get custom-made graphics, and so on. Not only do I want my students and members to get great value from the course content, but I always want to make sure they have a smooth experience with the technology, and the course is visually engaging and well put together.
However, even with all of those elements in place, I would never consider my courses perfect, or even close. There are always improvements I could make. I could fiddle with the way they look, what they say, or how they say it just about all day long. Instead, I’ve come up with a template that I’m happy with, which I think gives users the best experience possible, without making me a slave to the creation of that course. After all, my business is built on the courses I can provide to my members and students if I got stuck on one, I wouldn’t have a business!
Find your happy benchmark
So, if you find yourself paralyzed by perfectionism, I encourage you instead to find a benchmark for quality that you’re happy with. Use that benchmark religiously, and adhere to it always. But once you’ve hit the mark with one project, make sure you move on to the next project. If you use these tips and guidelines, I’m sure you’ll kick procrastination in the butt in no time!
What are your WIP tips?
In crochet terms, a “work in progress” is a WIP, and like most hookers of the crochet type, you probably have at least one or two WIPs going at any given time. For even more great tips on wrapping up those lingering projects, check out this post. And let us know if you have any special tricks to keep your momentum going when things start to pile up for you — comment below!
By the way, if you aren’t sure whether you’re a procrastinator (or if you just have some time to waste – haha), check out this article, 30 Signs You’re a Procrastinator.
A few words about us
This article by The Yarnpreneur Society was originally published in an issue of Happily Hooked Crochet Magazine. If you aren’t a subscriber, you’re missing out! Visit our main website to learn more! The support in our Facebook group is phenomenal! There’s nothing like it anywhere else.
If you’re looking for more tips and tricks, check out our YouTube wizard, Sam, for crochet tips and tricks, yarn and product reviews, stitch tutorials, pattern help, and much more.