I’ve been meaning to write this article for weeks, but…… I’ve been putting it off. Procrastination– it’s a funny word but something which can affect us all.
by guest blogger John Robertson
The tax return you never seem to get around to filling in, that pile of paperwork clogging up your ‘in’ box or the stack of negatives that has been begging to be scanned in and uploaded to your stock archive since 1997.
So what are you going to do about all those tasks you keep putting off? If you are like me, then you will undoubtedly employ diversionary tactics to put off from doing what you know must be sorted out eventually. Sooner or later though they need to get done!
Rome wasn’t built in a day, so perhaps the best way to start is to break the tasks you have been putting off into bite-sized chunks. If the project looks overwhelming then choose to make a start on it for say fifteen minutes. Focus on the work at hand and don’t get distracted by phone calls, checking your facebook page or watching daytime TV.
You have to live in the here and now and shift from any thoughts about the past or the future. Work on what you can do NOW to be effective and move forwards- so what if you feel guilty because you left it until the last minute to complete that tax return? Get it done and complete one task and then you can schedule in some fun time doing other things which are more enjoyable.
The little voice in your head may be screaming ‘I don’t like this, it’s too difficult’, but you should replace those thoughts with ‘I want to do this task and I know I can do it’. Reassure yourself that you can accomplish things and give yourself encouragement to master those negative thoughts that say “I don’t want to.” Procrastinators are often critical of themselves-but give yourself a break and don’t beat yourself up for taking so long to get started on something. Acknowledge your negative thoughts, but stick to your task anyway because making progress will provide the motivation you need to keep going forward in your photography business.
Remember that your work will never be ‘perfect’. Nothing is ever perfect- we can always improve on things. So looking for perfection is an awful waste of your time. I’m sure this article that I wrote for you that you are reading now could be improved, but then you would never get to read it. Understand that you really can manage your time and thought process to get things done even if it is not perfect.
That pile of receipts to file in your accounts inbox? Make a start on reducing it right now. Just 30 minutes of your undivided attention can and will make a sizeable dent in it. Manage your time rather than letting it manage you. If you do today what you could have put off until tomorrow, you will end up with much more time for yourself- it’s simple so get started right now!
Let me know what you do to overcome that inner voice that doesn’t want to do things… I’d love to learn what tricks you use in your photography business.
Your sooo right, probably why I’m writing this comment…..that inner voice TOLD me to. I normally leave it that long and then, under duress have to put a whole week aside and shut myself in a room surrounded by paperwork.
I always break up my big tasks into smaller ones. As soon as you say to yourself ‘I’ll deal with 3 invoices every hour’, instead of ‘How on earth will I manage to deal with so many invoices!’, the tasks become much more manageable – less like a wall, and more like steps 🙂
Meant to comment on this earlier, but put it aside for a better time 🙂
LOL – great comment Ed