the number one way to beat procrastination

by guest author Megan Eckman

Let’s face it: we all procrastinate. It’s simply human nature. Sometimes it’s because we can’t prioritize well enough, other times we get scared, and occasionally we just don’t want to do something. But here’s the thing: that to-do item you keep putting off and moving down from week to week is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING you need to do right now.

I can hear your complaints already but I’m plugging my ears because it’s all resistance and empty excuses. That ‘make a website’ you’ve been putting off needs to get done pronto because how else are you going to get your name out there and bring in some money? That ‘make a new line of jewelry’ needs to get checked off ASAP because people are dying to buy new work from you but there isn’t any!

I’m not here to tell you why you need to do that one big thing. You already know why; you’re just ignoring that wise inner voice. No, I’m here to tell you how to get it done.

Plain and simple, you need to set a deadline. A big, scary, very soon deadline.

Remember when you were in college and had the whole semester to turn in a project? Now, remember when you actually got around to finishing that project? $10 says it was the night before. You worked at a feverish pitch and spent hour making it A+ worthy. You not only finished on time but it felt so good to be done, right? That same idea can apply to your business.

If you want to create a Fall jewelry line, send out an email to your mailing list giving a date and a possible sale to go with the launch. There’s no way you can’t finish in time now because your customers already have it on their calendar!

If you need to design a website, make a date with a designer and have your ideas ready. Or set a launch date and make your spouse, your business partner, or all of your Twitter friends hold you accountable. Better still, make your mother hold you accountable. $100 says that one will keep you on schedule.

When you run your own business, it can be so easy to get caught up in the daily to-do list that you forget about the big things. But those big things are what bring in the followers, the money, and the success! Setting some scary deadlines will not only get your butt in gear but it will motivate you to stay focused on what you really want and what your business really needs. Deadlines also help you celebrate successes, something we do far too little of as entrepreneurs. They can also reignite the passion you have for your work and show you just how strong and capable you really are.

So today I want you to look at that ‘must-do item’ that has been bouncing from sticky note to sticky note for weeks (or months). That is what needs to have a big, scary deadline. Pull out your calendar and set a date. Got it? Good. Now move it up two weeks. Feeling scared? Having all sorts of frantic thoughts pop into your head about what needs to be done first, second, and third to complete that task? Good.

That means it’s the perfect deadline.

Megan Eckman is the community coordinator for Create Hype a site that helps female entrepreneurs learn how to market their creative businesses. She loves meeting new creative entrepreneurs and sharing their knowledge with others. She also runs an illustration business, Studio MME, which helps people rekindle their wonder.