By Georgia Kirke with Special Guest Chris Acheson
Have you ever tried to sit down at your desk to take care of a project, but found yourself doing everything but what you intended or needed to do? Eventually, what might have been a simple task becomes something uncomfortable to even think about.
Everyone is guilty of procrastination from time to time, but sadly beating procrastination is not quite so simple as telling yourself to just knuckle down and be disciplined.
This is, amusingly, a blog that I have been trying to find the time to write for some time now – we have been so busy here at WBR recently, that I have been putting this one off repeatedly! However, now it is time to talk to you about procrastination and some strategies to help you move past the writer’s block stopping you from producing your content.
What causes procrastination?
The first step to getting past chronic procrastination is understanding what procrastination actually is.
Without getting too technical, procrastination is not laziness, some lack of discipline or failure of time management. In fact, procrastination is really a reflexive emotional response to something being stressful. As our new assistant editor and reformed chronic procrastinator, Chris, puts it:
Chris: “Your emotions are designed to encourage and discourage how you think and behave – positive emotions encourage good behaviours and negative ones push you away from ‘bad’ behaviours. When a task is stressful or otherwise leads to negative emotions, your brain automatically tries to push you away from thinking about it.
The problem here is that with procrastination, the task still needs doing – the longer you go without having done it, the more stressful the task becomes. Which, of course, makes your brain want to procrastinate even more!”
Procrastination in the entrepreneurial world
When dealing with entrepreneurs and producing content, there might be several causes behind a task being so stressful. One example which I’ve seen quite a bit of content about is procrastination in the context of imposter syndrome – the belief that you “haven’t made it” makes putting your uniquely valuable perspective into the world stressful.
But when an entrepreneur is established and knows what they do both inside and out, a bigger reason for procrastination can be perfectionism and concerns over your reputation.
Perhaps you’re putting off writing that book that’s taking up your headspace because you know it’s a big project and you feel as though you’ll be bad at writing it when you first sit down to try. Such a big project is daunting and writing might not be one of your unique strengths – you don’t want to launch a bad book and look like a fool.
You’re doing something new – of course you’re going to be bad at it at first. And of course you want to launch something special that enhances your reputation.
So how do you go about it? To get past that feeling, you have several options:
1 – Break the task down
There is a saying about handling a daunting task: “How do you eat an elephant? One mouthful at a time!” Writing an entire book in one go is an almost impossible task – even for a seasoned writer. Chris has the following recommendation about how he approaches writing himself:
Chris: “Writing the perfect book in one go is honestly an unrealistic goal in my opinion. What is entirely possible is writing the perfect chapter, or even the perfect paragraph!
If the problem you are facing is that you are finding it difficult to get started, then the trick that always works for me is to break it down into chunks – the smaller and more specific, the better. What I often find is that once I have started, the rest starts flowing naturally from there.
This means that I might often write a challenging chapter by writing out the paragraphs and sections that aren’t stressful for me to write, then when I get to the bit I was stressed about, it is often so small that it doesn’t look challenging at all any more!”
If the thought of writing a paragraph still feels like a mammoth task, you might want to skip straight to tip #3 and delegate. Our team are highly experienced at helping busy entrepreneurs and thought leaders get their books out of their heads and into print, so you don’t have to struggle with a blank page on your own!
2 – Get an “accountability buddy”
One of the many advantages of being part of a mastermind is that you surround yourself with peers who can help support or challenge you as needed. Sometimes having someone to hold you accountable and check in with you on a regular basis as to your progress is an invaluable tool for helping you to stay on task.
Chris: “There is nothing more embarrassing than having to explain to someone else that the project you promised that you would have finished is still pending because you got distracted … again.
Remember that procrastination happens because your brain is avoiding a stressful situation. However, I personally find that my brain finds explaining why I was procrastinating to be far more stressful than actually just doing the job!”
If you feel the same way as Chris does, having an accountability buddy will work wonders because you’ll probably end up doing the task simply to avoid having to explain why you haven’t done it yet.
But if you’re not sure who to ask to be your accountability buddy, we can help – our coaching programme for authors who are writing their own first drafts will give you regular check-ins with our content developer throughout the process to ensure you stay on track, not to mention receive valuable feedback along the way.
3 – If you can, delegate
Sometimes, it is worth admitting that putting yourself through the stress of writing a book alone is not the best use of your time. In that case, you need to call in expert help to support you through the writing process.
Here at Write Business Results, we specialise in supporting entrepreneurs through the process of creating the content that provides real value to their audience. Our clients are all established entrepreneurs who wish to publish excellent expert content and become more widely known as thought leaders in a clear and fun format, without losing precious time, or taking any uncalculated risks with their reputation.
Thanks to our award-winning processes, we can break the authorship process down for you into manageable steps and phases. In fact, our dictation-based authorship also allows you to produce a book without you having to ever write a word – all you need to do is share your expertise with our content developers!
We don’t just focus on books either, our team and I can help strategise, produce, publish and promote business books, blogs and podcasts, and we manage the promotional campaigns to go with them. We focus on quality and results and we aim to provide a memorable experience along the way.
If launching incredible expert content is your goal and you wish to find out what delegating a project like that looks like for you, schedule a clarity call today!
Don’t put this off any longer – book a call for early January so you can get your content creation off to a flying start in 2023.