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3 Tips from a Reformed Procrastinator

3 Tips from a Reformed Procrastinator

March 22, 2018 | By Tammy Powell | 2 Comments

By nature, I’m a serious procrastinator.

It started back when I was a teenager… I was the kid who ALWAYS waited until the last minute to start a big school project.

My poor parents… they would tell me to start early, but somehow I never listened…

Then, they’d catch me frantically working on something as bedtime approached…

When they asked me about it, I’d inform them that I’d be up late, working into the night… and, that I might need help to finish it on time…

And it wasn’t that I procrastinated on purpose — I was otherwise a great student, with straight A’s, as a matter of fact.

So, why did I wait until the last minute every single time? And why did this bad habit continue into my college days, and even into my adult working life?

It wasn’t that I was irresponsible… years later, I’ve realized my problem is that I’m a perfectionist.

You see, when I thought about those projects, I wanted to do a really great job. I wanted to create something that would stand out — something that would really wow my teachers…

In short, I wanted it to be perfect.

And there was my problem… any idea that came to me, if it wasn’t perfect, I brushed it aside and tried to think of something better.

By spending so many hours thinking about that project, brainstorming ideas — I felt like I was making progress…

But, in actuality, I was going nowhere…

All the time I spent thinking, planning — it didn’t do me much good in terms of actually finishing the project.

Even worse… the end-result was never my best work, because I had been so rushed.

Nowadays, I finally recognize my “perfectionism-problem,” and I’ve started working to defeat it.

I’ve learned that taking the first step… putting active energy into a project… actually inspires more ideas…

And, I’ve seen the rewards that follow when I get things done early.

So, to motivate myself as I continue to overcome this bad procrastination habit, I keep these scenarios in mind. They’re a big help when I need to push myself…

… when I need to stop dragging my feet, and get things done!

3 Tips from a Reformed Procrastinator

1. ‘No results’ are worse than ‘imperfect results’

For many years, I considered myself to be a ‘writer’… without actually writing anything

My inner perfectionist cautioned me against all the troubles I might run into…

For example, maybe my writing wouldn’t be good enough, and no one would want to read it or buy it…

I had to get over my desire for perfect results, and accept that there is a learning curve… that if my writing wasn’t perfect in the beginning, that was okay…

Because eventually it would get better.

Initially, I also felt like I didn’t have enough time in my schedule to sit down and write…

I wanted those ‘perfect’ writing conditions — the day when I would have enough time to write for several hours at once, the weather would be perfect, I’d have a nice cup of coffee beside me, and I’d have no interruptions…

Eventually I realized that if I was going to start, I had to just do it!

One day, I thought to myself: “If I had started six months ago, even working just a few minutes per day… I would be well on my way by now.”

I didn’t want to have that same feeling of regret in another six months — so I decided to start NOW!

2. Clients love when you beat deadlines! And it leads to more work…

Once I started getting bigger projects from clients, a whole new set of insecurities arose…

I was worried they wouldn’t like my writing… and that I would lose the opportunity to work with them again.

Fortunately, somewhere in the back of my mind, I remembered some of the experts at AWAI saying that ‘being easy to work with is just as important as having good writing skills.’

So, for my first major project, I turned it over to the client about a week early…

I figured that, even if they didn’t like what I wrote, there would still be plenty of time to change things, well before the deadline.

And — it worked! Not only did they like what I wrote, but they were also very happy I had finished up so early!

I know that getting my work in early really helped to make a good impression — and, following that assignment, they hired me right away for another project.

Plus, there was one more added bonus… since I had freed up that extra time in my schedule, I was able to take on a project from another client who contacted me that same week — and thus earn another paycheck.

3. Life throws unexpected curveballs…

I’m a planner — I like to figure out my goals and schedule them well ahead of time…

However, things don’t always go according to plan.

For example, this past summer, I was working my way through a mentoring program to get my freelance business established.

I already knew I would be out of town for two weeks, and I worked fast so I wouldn’t fall behind during my vacation…

… but do you know what I didn’t plan for?…

Two sprained wrists!

While walking through a parking lot, I tripped over a curb and crash-landed pretty hard on the pavement.

Thankfully, nothing was broken… but in addition to a sprained ankle, the impact of the fall had caused pain, bruising, and swelling in both of my wrists.

I tried to continue working and typing the next day — but it was immediately clear that wasn’t an option, as the pain and swelling got worse.

So, that was another two weeks when I couldn’t get my work done…

What I learned is this — I can’t assume I’m going to have time to do things later…

So, if there’s something I want to do — there’s no time like the present.

Take it from this reformed procrastinator and get started today — you won’t regret it!

About the Author

Tammy Powell

Latest in B2B Copywriting

2 Comments

  • Wow… Thanks, Tammy! I don’t read every post that comes along, but I’m thankful I read this one. Just what the doctor ordered.

  • I had the same problem with the perfectionist-procrastinator syndrome. But because of all the ups/downs of my nursing job, I was forced to do something about my writing. My Achilles heel was that of feeling quite insecure about my writing skills/abilities. So when the Badges program came around, I believe I found a cure to “Am I Really Good Enough?” I found that the critique of the most demanding assignments out there today gave me the confidence to know that I am good enough. Sometimes, you just need to hear from an expert (your clients, AWAI, your coach/mentor) that you have what it takes by allowing them to critique your work. I wish that I was able to take off back in 2015 when I bought The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, but a lot of life got in the way back then. Now I finally have my focus and I’m pushing forward and harder than I ever have. Thank you for this article! It’s so good to know that I’m not the only one and especially good to know that we can overcome our flaws/weaknesses to realize our dreams beyond of wildest imaginations! #ISEEMYSELFTHERE!! Dragon Naturally Speaking Home 13.0 – you speak, it types! Good investment!!

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