Procrastination can be hard to avoid sometimes. In fact, some research suggests it may be a “universal human trait.”
It’s also something particularly hard to avoid as a home worker. After all, you’ve got nobody pushing you along or noticing you’re not doing anything productive.
In this article, we have someone who’s recently started working from home discussing procrastination, as well as some of the other pitfalls of a freelance life.
Due to some ill health, I have for the past few years been at home much of the time. More recently, I’ve been doing more and more freelance work, and have begun to realise that while working from home has its advantages, there are many pitfalls too.
I am a self-confessed procrastinator so have to avoid distraction at all costs. In this article, I confess to some of my individual failings, and suggest some tips for working around any you may share!
It’s worth remembering that what works for me might not work for you. Everybody’s different, but a general rule of establishing a routine and sticking with it works for most people. You will find you are more productive and can then enjoy your leisure time without the guilt that you have work to finish later.
Tips to avoid procrastination – and other home working pitfalls!
1. Always remember that what you are doing is REAL work. Some home workers find it OK to work in their PJs from the comfort of the sofa, but I find I must get up, dressed and ready for the day – just as if I was working in an office. I’m more productive working at a desk as it keeps me far more focussed.
2. Never turn the television on before the day’s work is done. It’s all too easy to be sucked into daytime TV – none of which you need to watch!
When I realised a few months back that I could name most of the bridal designers on “Say Yes to the Dress,” I knew I was watching too much daytime TV! I now reward myself with a Friday afternoon of trash TV – but only if the work is done!
3. If you have regular commitments during the week, don’t try to work at the same time. For example, I look after my grandson one day a week. If you try to do two things at once you will get distracted and make mistakes – and then probably have to spend twice as long redoing the work later.
4. If you have several things to do in a day, do the hardest or most boring thing first. Once it’s done your day can only improve. This is the “kissing the frog” technique, also discussed here.
5. Avoid social media at all costs. If, like me, you do admin for social media groups and websites, answer any messages and put up any posts at the start of the day, then leave it until the evening unless something really important comes up.
Don’t not allow yourself to be dragged into the latest conversations on your local Facebook pages. Before you know it you will have lost half a day trying to put the world to rights when you really should be working.
6. Don’t do too much for the neighbours just because you’re based at home. They can be prone to take advantage (something that I will discuss in a future post!)
7. Don’t get sidetracked if you pop into town. An advantage of home working is that you can work when you like and do things like shopping during the day when it’s quieter. That’s fine, but if all you need is a loaf of bread and a pint of milk, that’s all you should go and get.
Procrastination can take on many forms, so don’t spend an hour wandering around the local craft and thrift shops. The work will still be there when you get back and will eat into your evenings if you waste too much time during the day.
8. Decide on your financial goal and stick to it. With my youngest son now off to university. I don’t need very much cash for my day to day life. It’s therefore crucial for me to set goals to save towards otherwise it’s very easy to turn away work because I don’t actually need the cash. Work is good for self-esteem after all.
To be honest, I get a real sense of accomplishment when I finish something, but getting up the motivation to start in the first place can be a problem. Especially when procrastination means when I could just go shopping, make a coffee, watch TV or check Facebook first!
If you can relate to any of this, check out this previous article about boosting your motivation.