One of the biggest issues many home business owners face is the ease by which they find themselves distracted from their work. I am certainly no exception, in fact, when it comes to procrastination, I think I may have one of the world’s most comprehensive lists of things that I can do to in lieu of whatever task I should actually be doing.
Procrastination is a skill that I honed during my college years when I found that using a cotton swap to clean the dust from the grooves in my clock-radio was usually much more important than beginning the term paper that would ultimately account for three-quarters of my final grade.
Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have outgrown this habit. What’s more, I’m beginning to think that procrastination is something that one is genetically pre-disposed to as my nine year-old daughter is already beginning to demonstrate the qualities of a professional procrastinator.
All kidding aside, there are many things that can get in the way of achieving your home business goals if you let them. Remember when you work from home, you suddenly become accountable for everything: finding clients, completing the work, and making sure you get paid. The more you procrastinate, the less likely it will be that you will be able to complete all of these tasks successfully.
To help you keep from succumbing to the ill-effects of procrastination, I offer the following five suggestions:
1. Set Daily Goals: I find this method works particularly well when I have a large project. For example, one of my clients is a distance learning company for whom I write study guides. If my deadline is three weeks away, I break the assignment down into segments and then plan to complete a certain number of segments each day. Having this daily goal usually helps to keep me on task and on deadline.
2. Change the Deadline: When I receive a deadline, I immediately begin to tell myself that the deadline is earlier than it actually is. Interestingly, after about a week, I usually begin to believe myself. Not only do I not miss the deadline, I actually deliver the finished product a few days early.
3. Go Internet-Free: There are days when I can spend nearly every minute of my workday surfing the web. When I find myself aimlessly wandering through cyberspace when I should be working, I close my web browser and don’t open it again until I complete the day’s work.
4. Hit the Library: This is a step reserved for extreme cases of procrastination – those days when virtually anything in my home is more appealing than working. Being forced to sit in a quiet library with nothing but books surrounding usually is enough to snap me out of my unproductive mode.
5. Recall Your Old Job: This is another “extreme” method I use when I can’t seem to focus. When all else fails, reminding myself that the failure of my home business will likely result in having to return to the traditional workplace usually does the trick.
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