Are you a victim of analysis paralysis?
Or you just can’t seem to get your hands on enough information?
Often, overthinking, excessive planning, perfecting and over analyzing are tell-tale signs of a deeper problem.
We’ve all been at this stage at one point or the other.
While it looks like we’re deep in thought and carefully charting our plan of action, we’re actually procrastinating on doing the real work.
My friend Emily McGee who blogs over at My Adaptable Career has a slew of time management formulas, methods and tricks up her sleeve. In this guest post she hits it on the nail with 5 ways we may be procrastinating on our blogs without even realizing it. I’ve seen these in myself as well as readers who write in to me.
I’ll leave it to her to walk you through these steps.
Until recently, I thought that procrastination meant that you waited until the last minute to finish a project.
In school that might have been true, but now that I’m a solo blogger, I’ve learned that there are so many more ways to procrastinate.
Now that I’m my own boss, my deadlines are arbitrary.
I don’t even have to wait until the last minute to do something, I can just not do it all!
In fact, it’s so easy to procrastinate that sometimes I don’t even realize I’m doing it.
And you know what?
I bet you’re procrastinating without even realizing it, too.
Read on to see if any of these scenarios sound familiar, plus get my tips on how to overcome procrastination.
5 ways Bloggers Procrastinate
You’re waiting for the right time to launch
I’m always waiting for the perfect time to launch a course, or a giveaway, or an affiliate offer, so I know how tempting it is to put something off until you think you have the timing perfect.
But what I’ve learned is that the timing is never perfect! Don’t wait until January 1 to launch your blog or until you have 1,000 subscribers to launch a course. The sooner you get your blog and products out there, the sooner you’ll get feedback, and the sooner you’ll make money.
I spent all of 2016 waiting for the perfect time to launch my time management course, and it never came. Finally, I realized that I was just procrastinating, so I launched the course in February to a tiny list of 300 subscribers. And you know what? 5 people bought the course. It didn’t matter that it was February or that I only had 300 people on my list. I put my course out there, people bought it, and now I’m adding bonus content and perfecting it for my next launch.
I spent a long time creating a lovely editorial calendar in Excel and planning out 3 month’s worth of blog posts and email newsletters. Then I got tired of dealing with the wonky formatting in my spreadsheet and made a new editorial calendar in Airtable.
And now? I haven’t looked at either editorial calendar in months. When I think of a blog post or newsletter idea, I add it to my brain dump list. And when it’s time to write, I pick a topic that I’m excited about and get to work.
I realized that I used planning to help me feel more in control. I felt like if I planned ahead enough I’d never run out of things to say. But after a year of blogging, I’ve gained enough confidence to realize that I always have ideas of what to send my email list and what to write about on blog. I don’t need to plan months in advance.
Another problem with over-planning: often your focus will change and all that planning will just be wasted time. For example, I started my blog with posts about freelancing, but I’ve totally switched my niche to time management.
Once again, my fancy editorial calendar was a waste.
You’d think I’ve learned my lesson about procrastination by now, but you’d be wrong.
Let me tell you a story about last month…
I told my audience that I was going to host a giveaway. I thought, “Awesome, this will make me accountable because I’ve said it out loud!” Then I spent hours (HOURS!) researching various platforms and plug-ins to use to host a giveaway. I spent another few hours brainstorming things I could give away as prizes. Suddenly, I’d wasted several days on research and not actually gotten anything done.
Blogging is fun because you’re always learning new things. But be careful that the learning isn’t getting in the way of “doing.” It’s so easy to fall down the Internet rabbit hole and research the best way to do something or new strategies for some vexing problem.
One simple solution: try setting a timer, and when it goes off, stop researching.
You want everything to be perfect
I used to think that being a perfectionist was a good thing. I was all high and mighty about my awesome graphics and blog posts and my insane attention to detail. Ha!
It turns out, being a perfectionist is just another way to procrastinate.
When you’re a blogger, you’re giving away a lot of content for free. And yes, you want that content to be great, but as a solo blogger, you’ll never get anywhere if you need everything to be perfect.
Again, setting a timer can help. But also let yourself accept good enough. Good enough is just that, it’s good enough. Save perfection for the things people are paying for, and for everything else, just shoot for good enough.
You do the easy things first
Research shows that it feels good to get things done and check them off our to do list, which is why we often tackle the easiest tasks first. But if you always do the easy things, the things that are comfortable for you, then you’re probably not doing the things that will help you make money.
It’s scary to launch a product, to ask influencers to help you promote it, or to contact big companies to ask for sponsorships. Trust me, I’ve done these things and I was shaking in my boots!
But these hard tasks are the things that will get you results. If you continue to do the easy things, like publishing a blog post each week and promoting it on your favorite social media platform, then you’re not going to make much progress.
You need to take risks, put yourself out there, and prioritize the work that will get you results.
Three ways to overcome procrastination:
Let “good enough” be good enough
It bears repeating. Let “good enough” be good enough.
Let go of the need to be perfect. You are harder on yourself than anyone else is. People are very forgiving of small mistakes, and they often won’t even notice a single typo or a graphic that doesn’t perfectly match your branding.
Do it scared
Fear holds many of us back from taking action. Give yourself permission to make mistakes, be imperfect, and take action even if you’re scared. Don’t let your fear stop you from reaching your goals.
Set a clear goal
And speaking of goals, set a clear goal. If you know exactly what you’re working towards, then it’s harder to procrastinate. I actually write my yearly goal on a notecard and post it above my desk so that I can look at it daily. When I’m tempted to procrastinate, I look at my notecard and refocus on the work that will get me there fastest.
Looking for more time management tips? Sign up for Master Time Management, my FREE 5-day email course for bloggers and solopreneurs. Each lesson takes less than 10 minutes to implement!
Do you procrastinate on big blogging tasks? Which of these procrastination pitfalls trips you up the most?