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How to Fight the Freelancer’s Secret Battle with Procrastination

by Laura Spencer

on May 31, 2013

in Freelancing Life Productivity

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Are you fighting the secret battle that many freelancers face?

Most of us are aware of some of the more common freelancing struggles such as loneliness or financial struggles, but there’s one freelancing struggle that we don’t like to talk about very much. It’s the struggle with procrastination.

It’s no wonder that we hate to talk about procrastination. After all, most of us don’t want to admit that we’ve put off doing something that we should be doing–that’s just embarrassing. But the truth is that this is a common problem among freelancers. Many of us struggle with this secret battle.

The best way to fight procrastination is to do exactly what we don’t want to do–talk about it. In this post, we’ll examine of the reasons we procrastinate. We’ll also list some proactive steps you can take to fight procrastination. Finally, you’ll be invited to share your own tips for fighting procrastination.

Why We Procrastinate

Are you a procrastinator?

Is your to-do list always overflowing? Are you always making promises that you can’t keep? Do have little to show for the time you spend on freelancing?

If you’re struggling to make it as a freelancer you may not want to admit it, but procrastination could be the root cause of your struggles.

So, if everyone agrees that procrastination is bad, why do we do it? Why do we put doing things off even though we know that we shouldn’t?

Here are just a few of the reasons that we procrastinate.

  1. You don’t really want to do the task. You may not want to admit this to yourself, but it makes a lot of sense if you think about it. You put off doing the things that you don’t really like doing.
  2. You’ve developed a really bad habit. For some people, procrastination is chronic. They always ignore deadlines and time frames. Even if this isn’t you, you probably know of someone who is always late.
  3. There are cultural differences. For some cultures, lateness is more accepted. Times are looked at as more of a suggestion rather than something that should be strictly adhered to.
  4. You don’t take the task seriously. This goes a step further than the first reason why we procrastinate. If you don’t think a task is worth doing, you are likely to put off doing it.
  5. There is a more serious problem in your life. Sometimes procrastination can be an indicator of a more serious problem like depression or stress. If you suspect this to be the case for you, seek professional help.

Remember that procrastinating can affect your freelancing business. Procrastination can mean missing deadlines. It can mean rushing to get work done and then turning it in with lots of mistakes. Overall, procrastination usually leaves a bad impression with the client.

Fortunately, you can overcome procrastination if you know how.

What to Do About Procrastination

If procrastination is something you struggle with, there are steps that you can take to fight it.

Here are a few of the more effective methods of fighting procrastination:

  1. Find an accountability partner. Freelancers are unique in that they work more or less independently. An accountability partner can keep you from falling behind on crucial tasks.
  2. Reward yourself for finishing an unpleasant task. It may sound corny, but it works. You can motivate yourself to tackle those unpleasant tasks by rewarding yourself when you finish them.
  3. Be aware of cultural differences. If your culture is more relaxed about deadlines and time frames, be careful when you are working with those whose cultures are stricter about time.
  4. Turn your bad habit around. If you’ve made a bad habit, then you can break it. Make it a point to complete tasks early or on time for 30 days. If you repeat this enough, you should be able to replace the bad habit with a good one.
  5. Delegate those tasks you don’t like to others. Okay, if you’re totally honest you realize that you’ll probably never finish those unpleasant tasks. If you delegate them to someone else, then you don’t have to worry about doing them yourself.

An added bonus to overcoming procrastination is that you should start to feel less stressed and better about your freelancing business as a whole.

Your Turn

Do you have any tips or tricks for fighting procrastination? Share them in the comments.

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About Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 20 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy LauraĆ¢??s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts. Laura is also on Google+.