Overcome Resistance and Procrastination to Get Things Done

Tips to Stop Procrastination from Stopping You

Stop procrastination
Don't let procrastination hold you back.. Credit: Oksana Struk | Getty Images

Success coaches often suggest that if you want something bad enough, your desire will provide the fuel for the action you need to make it happen. While passion and desire are important to achieving success, it is possible for resistance and procrastination to get in the way of goals, even goals you really want. In fact, Elishia Goldstein's research suggests that resistance is ingrained in our brains, and because we give into it so much, it becomes habit.

Even so, you can beat resistance and overcome procrastination to achieve your goals. Here are tips for overcoming resistance and procrastination in your home business.

Why are you resistant?

The first step to overcoming procrastination is to determine why you’re doing it. The base reason is usually because following through is hard or uncomfortable. But deep down, reasons for putting off home business tasks are varied and are the key fixing the problem. Some common reasons people procrastinate include:

  • The project is hard or you don’t understand it.
  • The method for achieving or the end goal result is unclear.
  • The project is overwhelming.
  • There is fear around the project, such as fear of failure or fear of what others will think.
  • The project is tedious or boring.
  • You’re lazy.

How does resistance manifest?

When it comes to putting things off, we find all sorts of very good reasons why the home business project isn’t getting done.

These reasons seem completely practical and justified, but ultimately, they set you further away from your goal and can undermine your confidence. For that reason, it’s important to figure the methods you use to procrastinate.

There are two major ways most people avoid getting things done:

1) Making excuses about why home business tasks aren’t getting done. Common excuses include too little time and/or money, lack of support and resources, it’s too early or too late, the time isn’t right, etc.

In essence, anytime you justify not doing your work, you’re procrastinating.

2) Distractions. There is no doubt that distractions can make running a home business a challenge. Children need attending to, the laundry needs to be done, a friend calls to chat, cool new pins show up on Pinterest, etc.  However, unless you’re being interrupted, distractions can be avoided. So if the laundry or refrigerator is calling, it’s because you’re already looking for reasons not to work.

Interruptions are more difficult to manage, because they stop the flow of work. Further, once you’ve been interrupted, it can be hard to get back to the project. One interruption can lead to getting distracted by other things. For example, in the middle of writing this, I got a phone call from my husband who needed me to take care of something for him. It took some time to deal with his request, and it would have been easy to break for lunch or visit Facebook once I finished it, but instead, I’m back to writing this article.

How to stop resistance and procrastination

The first step to dealing with any issue is admitting you have a problem with procrastination. The next steps are figuring out why and how you procrastinate (as outlined above), because they offer clues to the solution. Most procrastination solutions encourage time management, good resources, and getting rid of perfectionist ideas, which are all helpful. But if you’re procrastinating because you’re bored, those solutions won’t work. Here are strategies based on some of the reasons procrastination occurs as listed above:

  • The project is hard or you don’t understand it. If a project is hard or you don’t understand it, instead of sitting down to do the project, make time to learn it and map out a plan to get it done. Once you have a grasp of what you need to do and road map to get it done, things will go smoother. For example, if you want to build an online business, but haven’t done it because building a website is hard, instead of worrying about building the business, focus on learning how to build a website. Get that hard piece out of the way.
  • The method for achieving or the end goal result is unclear. Vague goals lead to vague ideas about how to reach them. Depending on the project, it can be hard to find clarity. For example, writing is very difficult if you don’t know what you want to say and figuring out what you want to say can be equally as difficult. But if you’re sitting down to work on your project and are unsure about what to do, it’s time to get clear on your goal and what you want to happen. Often the tasks that need to be done reveal themselves when you’re clear on the results you want.
  • The project is overwhelming. My father tells me he could never write a book because it would be daunting. However, as a newspaper man, he’s written thousands of 750 word articles. I tell him writing a book is just stringing together a bunch of 750 word sections. Breaking down your goal into smaller, manageable tasks helps you create a plan and takes away the overwhelm.
  • There is fear around the project, such as fear of failure or fear of what others will think. The best way to deal with fear is to face it and plow through it. Fear grows if you let it. Instead, beat the fear by taking action.
  • The project is tedious or boring. Find a way to make the project fun, such as turning it into a game. Or outsource it to a virtual assistant or other contractor. Unless you have to be the one to do it, paying someone else to do the tedious stuff allows you more time to do the things you do enjoy.
  • You’re lazy. If you’re procrastinating because you’re lazy... well... knock it off. Get off your tookus and get working. 

The reality is that resistance is inevitable. What you have control over is whether or not you give into resistance and instead procrastinate, or you push resistance aside and take action. The latter choice is the one that will get you to your home business goals the fastest. The trick is to understand why you're feeling resistant and then work to overcome it.

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