Ways of working

What kind of procrastinator are you? (And how not to be one)

We all know the feeling – telling yourself you’ve just got time to check your messages, or watch that video your friend shared, or tidy your desk before you start on that report. Procrastination is productivity’s worst enemy – and as many as 20% of us are considered ‘chronic procrastinators’, according to DePaul University research.

For others, the problem’s what psychologists call ‘displacement’ – putting off stressful tasks for trivial ones – so if you absolutely can’t work without having a snack and reading an article about how not to procrastinate, this could be you.

What kind of procrastinator are you?

The social butterfly

Find yourself chatting with friends on the phone or checking your news feed rather than getting down to business? Being social is great for business – but only if it’s with the right people.

A potential solution is the phone-answering services offered by a virtual office. Keeping your personal and business lines separate will help you stay on task and keep you from always taking breaks to check your phone.

The avoider

When the you’re a sole trader and  entire business relies on one person, every hour of your time counts. If you’re solely responsible for your product, remind yourself that putting off work until the deadline only makes you think you’re performing better when you actually start (hence the idea of ‘performing better under deadlines’).

Harvard research shows that the reality is the opposite of most people’s perception. We show less creative thinking closer to deadlines – meaning pushing something back doesn’t just impact the amount of time you have to do it, but the final output, too. Setting internal deadlines for each stage of the project helps make sure you don’t leave everything to crunch time.

The interrupted

Lost productivity is never a good thing, but it’s particularly problematic for sole traders working from home. Regus research shows that facing distractions is common, with over 70% of people being interrupted by partners or children.

Working from home, surrounded by distractions, is not ideal for some entrepreneurs. But if you’re one of the 61% of people whose self-employment priority is work-life balance, you probably don’t want to give up that flexibility to go back to an office. Business lounges are a good alternative, giving you somewhere professional to meet your clients and a place to help you refocus and escape the occasional distractions of the home office.