3 Sneaky Procrastination Traps to Avoid

When I ask my clients and readers what’s the biggest obstacle they face in their lives and businesses, they almost always say, “I don’t have enough time!”

I hear that answer so much, I created an entire course about it.

But when we pick apart their schedules and do a thorough analysis of how they spend their time, it turns out they DO have enough time…but they’re filling it with junky activities.

Procrastination lurks around every corner just waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting entrepreneur—“You don’t need to write a blog post! Here, watch 3 hours of cat videos instead!”

It even disguises itself as valid work so you might get to the end of the day and wonder how the time flew by.

But it doesn’t need to be that way! You can learn to notice where procrastination pops up in your life and finally have time for those actions that can take you closer to your goals.

Here are 3 sneaky procrastination traps and how you can avoid them in the future.

Doing “Research”

Ooh, this is a biggie. It’s easy to convince ourselves that we’re doing work when it’s actually a way to stall for a bit longer.

Maybe you want to clean out your feed reader first, you know, in case there’s something interesting in there. Of course you need to read your emails. Don’t want to miss anything important! And how can you start writing until you do a Google search on your topic? Hey, there’s a new TED talk!

Don’t get sucked down the endless rabbit hole of research procrastination.

Do your business work first, write your blog post, schedule your social media updates, send those emails, and anything else that should be a top priority. Save your link-clicking for later when your energy starts to wane.

Note to self: BuzzFeed is not research.

Waiting for Inspiration

I work with a lot of writers (which is probably no surprise given that I’m an editor), and you wouldn’t believe some of the quirky habits they have. I can understand needing to use a lucky pencil, writing in a specific chair, or listening to a playlist of your favorite songs.

But one bad habit I see with many different kinds of creatives is to wait for inspiration to strike before starting their work. “I need to be inspired! I can’t do my work when I don’t feel like it.”

This is what separates the professionals from the amateurs. If you really care about your business, then you MUST do your work whether you feel inspired or not. Most of the time, if you simply start, then your creative juices will begin to flow.

Comparing Yourself to Others

Full disclosure: this procrastination trap slows me down the most. My work is very personal to me, and any success or failure in my business feels like a direct reflection of my worth. I’m always trying to grow and better myself—that’s what being an editor is all about!

But sometimes that means I’m scoping out what other people in my field are doing…and that only makes me feel crappy about myself. Think about it: if you compare yourself to someone who’s making thousands or millions more than you, well, do you think you’ll feel like doing your work?

Nah. You’ll probably want to curl up on the couch and watch Netflix for a few days.

Since I care about my business more than I care about what other people are doing, I’ve begun unsubscribing from newsletter lists, unfollowing certain people on Facebook and social media, and cutting out updates from anyone who makes me feel bad about myself. Who’s got time for that?

And just so you know, there’s always someone in front of you and always someone behind you on this road. Once at a conference, a peer told me that she stopped following ME so that she could focus on her own business.

Now that you know these sneaky procrastination traps, watch out for them this week and keep moving forward even when it gets tough. You can do this!

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1 Comment

  1. Camilla on May 5, 2015 at 5:44 am

    This last one – comparing yourself to others – is my biggest one. And for that same reason I also stopped following other photographers on fb. both their business side and their personal accounts. I felt envious, petty and ungenerous and those were not feelings I wanted to have on a daily basis. However in the beginning it made me feel like I cut myself out, like I was no longer part of that community and I felt unsupportive, not liking or commenting on this or that.
    It kind of works like an addiction, so sometimes I may juuuust sneak a peek at this one photographers blog because his work is just so darn beautiful. But most days now I forget.
    And I’m definitely better off for it 🙂