Procrastination has been the bane of my existence for as long as I can remember – I’ve legit had to throw out clothes because they’ve gotten mouldy from chilling in the washing machine for an alarmingly long period of time.
It’s not all doom and gloom though because occasionally I’ll muster up the energy to write a list of things I need to get done. I don’t actually do those things or even attempt to do them, but it’s nice to know that my penmanship is en pointe.
So while I’m in no way, shape or form qualified to give anyone tips on how to be productive, I spoke to someone who isn’t a complete bag of trash to give some pointers on getting out of that rut – Creative Projects Manager and side-business owning, clown extraordinaire Kath. She’s been a children’s entertainer on top of her regular job for yonks now so we could all learn a thing or two.
What did your day look like when you were a procrastinator?
I took a few months off my nine-to-five back in 2014 to work on my small business, which is really hard as a serial procrastinator. I’d always be like, ‘Okay I’ll get to that once I’ve cleaned my room‘ or, ‘Well I can’t work ’til I’ve organised all my computer folders and emails again‘.
Then I’d finally get around to responding to emails or updating a website, social media etc – but then I’d find something else on social media and get distracted. There was just always a mental barrier providing an excuse of why something was less important.
What eventually snapped you out of it?
It was literally when I had less time in life to do things, and when I realised by putting off one little thing there was a snowball effect. It was probably when I had a weekend where I didn’t have enough staff and I was too overwhelmed to figure out how to deal with it, so I put it off and then had to go into crisis mode last minute on a Friday night. Getting things done eliminates the need for a panic.
Do you ever fall back into your procrastinating ways? How do you recover?
Oh always, on weekends when working on my business or at night it’s so easy to just have a ‘Meh I’ll do that later’ attitude. I just allow myself some chill time then get on with it. If you’re not feeling your working-for-yourself mojo for a few hours – be kind to yourself and go for a walk or watch some Netflix, when you have your own business your brain hardly ever switches off so sometimes you just need to give yourself a break!
How do you stay productive in an average day?
Because mine is a ‘side hustle’ I just have to be organised with time outside of the normal nine-to-five. Juggling that with a social life is hard at times but honestly, the best way to be productive is to make a priority list. Make a list of goals for that week or month then work backwards on how to achieve them.
What advice would you have for people who are trying to cut out their procrastinating habits?
Make your procrastination something productive. Sometimes I’d rather write a list of what to do than just do it, being a business owner is super overwhelming at times which is usually why I procrastinate – because there are just too many things to do.
So instead of being overwhelmed, before starting the tasks write yourself a long list – this is procrastinating from the task in itself but at least it gets you thinking about the next steps.
Do you have friends who make you more or less productive? How do you deal with it?
Definitely. When you’re a twenty-something with a side hustle, it takes time out of your social life – and you have to find people who will support that and understand it. Show your projects to your friends to help them understand a bit more. Most of the time people aren’t as supportive because they don’t get it!
How long did it take to become a mostly, if not entirely, productive person? Did it slowly progress or was it like flipping a switch?
I don’t think you can ever ditch your procrastination ways, once a procrastinator always a procrastinator. However, you can use that procrastination for good, not evil and make lists, post on your business’ social media account etc.
Turn that social media scrolling time into something productive like following related business feeds. I’ve got a kids party entertainment business, which means for me that’s scrolling for face painting ideas or cake-making feeds etc. It’s all relevant and helpful in the end!