Being self-employed can be awesome because you get to decide when and where you will work, when to take lunch breaks and when to finish for the day.
However, it also comes with more responsibility than being “just employed”, for instance, you have to be the one making sure things get done, that you are not wasting time, that money comes in and dealing with the panic if nothing does come in.
This is where procrastination can creep up and become your enemy because the pleasure of instant gratification is so nice that even if we have a big to-do-list we sometimes find it hard to deal with it, instead, we retrieve to something we enjoy, like watching Netflix or play Red Dead Redemption 2 (like me).
So, how can we stay productive and battle procrastination?
One way that I have found helpful is to stay organised and plan my week ahead.
For example, if I have a clear plan of what I need to get done for the week ahead, I have a much easier time staying productive and not fall into a procrastinated mode.
The plan also gets easier to follow if you break down the task in hand into smaller tasks. For example, if my main goal is to finish an album, rather than looking at my week and seeing that on Friday I have to finish my album (which would feel quite overwhelming), I would break down what it would require to finish it and finish each small task throughout the week, making it much easier to grasp and complete.
Motivation vs Discipline
Sometimes you hear that people need to feel motivated to complete stuff, for example, “I’m not motivated enough to go the gym”, or, “I don’t feel motivated to finish my music”, and so forth.
However, and as a former Navy SEAL and author of Discipline Equals Freedom, Jocko Willink puts it in his interview on the Tim Ferriss podcast:
"I would venture to guess that the biggest reason creative types don't produce isn't because they don't have vision...or talent...in most cases, it's a lack of discipline."
"The more you practice," he says, "the better you get, the more freedom you have to create." Discipline in any area of your life will increase your skills, productivity, and, he reveals, will "set you free."
Now, ironically enough, hows that for motivation?
It sounds easier than it is, but Jocko has a really good point and it’s worth thinking about when you find yourselves in moments where you are struggling to grab the guitar to finish writing that song or opening Pro Tools to finish a mix, or whatever.
If you find yourself getting distracted a lot and that it takes you out of your flow, start organising the space around you. Perhaps turn your phone off for an hour or, if possible, go into another room where there’s no TV or Playstation laying around.
If you, like Tim Urban from the popular blog Wait But Why, are a master procrastinator who likes to wait up until the very last minute to do things, I can highly recommend that you check out his hilarious Ted Talk on the subject below.
I don’t know about you but I knew that exact type of guy when I went to university and they always got good marks, haha.
Is this something you struggle with? Do you have any techniques that work for you? Let me know in the comments below!