“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” – Benjamin Franklin

We’ve all been there. It’s the middle of the day and instead of getting any work done, you’re sitting at your computer surfing the web. You’re roaming the office, playing a game on your phone, or simply dozing off. What you’re really doing is procrastinating!

Some may start even earlier than midday. How many times do you set the snooze button on your alarm clock? Some people set up to 5 alarms just to get out of bed in the morning. This person is procrastinating before they’ve even gotten out of bed. As impossible as it sounds, it’s common. We live in culture where it’s acceptable to over schedule, under promise, and push things off to the next day.

I’ll start my diet tomorrow!
I’ll wake up super early and hit the gym tomorrow!
I’ll pack up now and finish my client work at home, maybe after dinner and a glass of wine.

Procrastination doesn’t build business nor does it make dreams. If you’re passionate, eager to advance, or ready to take your life to the next level, you’ve got to get in the mindset of working for today. Here are some tips to get you motivated and ready to take action:

joel-magee-notesThink about the type of person you are and where you work best. Some people are unable to work at home, distracted by the TV, video games, roommates, neighbors, or the spontaneous urge to cook and clean. And yes, you can procrastinate one task by doing another. That sudden urge to tidy up your work space or living room is simply another way to delay what really needs to get done.

After you’ve analyzed your work needs, make a list of everything that needs to get done and when you need it done by. It doesn’t matter how small the task, write it down. Some like to color coordinate their tasks or use sticky notes. Use whatever method works best for you, but don’t spend unnecessary time deciding. Once you’ve gotten in the habit of doing this, you’ll find that crossing items off of your list is a fair gage of just how much you get done and will increase your motivation. Even if you’ve gotten only half of your list done, you’ll feel a whole lot better than not having make one to start.

joel-magee-clockPractice good time management. Don’t spend too long on details that don’t need it. If you’re heavily debating between Cambria and Georgia font for a staff memo or whether to write in blue or black pen, don’t bother with it. You’re wasting time for minute details that ultimately won’t matter. You’ll make better use of your time if you break it up in a meaningful way. After 30 minutes of hard work, reward yourself with a 5 minute break. Walk around the office, get a snack, or simply rest your eyes. Spend those 5 minutes checking text messages or tweeting. Another suggestion: allow yourself buffer time. This refers to time to proofread content, conduct research, or even ask for second opinions. This drastically improves the overall quality of your work.

Commit to realistic assignments. Don’t tell yourself you’ll finish a 5 page paper in 20 minutes – you’re setting yourself up to fail. Often when we procrastinate, we find ourselves rushing assignments, speaking negatively to ourselves, and neglecting the overall quality. For high quality and efficiency, work little by little. AND COMMIT! If you make a note to email your client, do it. Not only will the client thank you, but you’ll thank yourself too.

These little things can push you in a positive direction for growth. If you’re trying to start a business, or you own one, procrastination is a habit you definitely need to break for long-term success.

Good luck!