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My business just turned 3, I’ll soon be 40, and I’m learning to overcome procrastination.

Scott Green - 3rd September 2019 - 3 comments

Trying to overcome procrastination makes us feel down in the dumps, anxious about our futures, stops us loving ourselves, and generally sucks. I have a story to tell you and a few helpful tips, apps and resources that you might find useful. Read on if you too feel like you’re suffering from imposter syndrome.

I was quite comfortable just lying there next to my wife listening to the rain outside. But I was wide awake with a gazillion things going through my head.

It’s 3:01 am on Monday 2nd September 2019. My alarm is set 4 hours from now to go and do some freelance work in Cheadle. There was no chance I was getting back to sleep now, so I may as well get up and write a blog post about it instead.

One of the things on my ever-expanding list of things to do is to write more blog posts anyway, so why not put it out there? Even if it just helps to get your thoughts in order, write it down, look at it, see what’s going on, put stuff in order and get that stuff out of your head.

Twenty things that keep me up at night.

I need to organise my tasks and start getting more things done.
Which reminds me, I’ve got that Productivity Planner I bought, where did I put that again? Monday, now that’s a good app for organising my tasks, but using it on the mobile can be a bit fiddly, especially when it comes to my lists. First thing I’ll do is start organising my tasks using Monday. But wait, I like using Things too?

There’s so much content I need to re-write for the website, should I do that first?
But what app should I use for that? Paper by Dropbox is beautiful. It’s simple, but again, on mobile, not as easy to use as Notes is. But do I need something more sophisticated that makes my content sound professional? And I need to use Grammarly too to make sure people can make sense of it all.

I should finish off that branding for my new niche business idea too before it gets forgotten about and doesn’t happen.
Then, of course, there’s that freelance motion designer domain I bought, and that ‘Manchester video production’ one, maybe I should just put Motion Videos UK on the back-burner for now because those sites might get me more web traffic and enquiries. No. I should get this site in a better place first before trying something new.

I wish my website were in a better place.
I’ve spent countless hours working on my site when I should have been doing more productive things. It’d be nice if visitors could play my videos on the homepage without having to click through too many times. But hosting my videos with Wistia increases the loading time on my homepage, and Google doesn’t like that. Should I be making my website to please Google or people?

Coffee time?
I’ll just have one or two today, I need to drink more water.

Jacky was so upset yesterday, and I need to be there more for her.
It’s been so hard dealing with IVF, especially for her. She’s been through so much over the past nine years. I can’t begin how she must be feeling and coming to terms with the fact that she might not be able to give us a child of our own. I don’t want her to keep putting her body through all that stress and medication, bless her, she’s an absolute trooper. Shall I start filling in some forms for adoption and show her that I do care about it? No wait, we have to do that together, we’ll do that later.

Should I pay someone to make me a custom website and take care of that side of things for me?
It’d free up some of my time and take some of the stress out of that for me. I don’t have a spare £10K+ to do that right now. Maybe I need to do it myself. I should be focusing my energy on other things like getting work, meeting people, and making more videos.

Oh well, there’s another online course that I paid for and didn’t complete.
At least I learned a few new tricks in Character Animation Bootcamp and Advanced Motion Methods, but it still feels a little bit like I wasted my money. At least the tutorials are always there for me to watch in the future. Things were so much better when I was in a real classroom with real people learning from me and praising my work.

Why has the cat started shitting behind the TV again?
It’s a new carpet. One more time and she’s going to have to find a new home.

I really shouldn’t have painted those stair posts white.
I should have done them in oak. It’s going to be impossible to get that paint off now. At least when I get the loft finished then, I can start working up there and start getting things done.

Which reminds me, I haven’t had those forms back yet from AOB yet.
Once I sign up for that new workspace, I can start going there a few days a week, and it’ll feel more like I’m going to work instead of staying at home in my slippers. Shall I email Fiona? Not right now, stay focused and get this blog post done. People might want to read this today.

I should book the car in at the garage today.
There are a few things wrong with it, but I need it for work this week, that can wait for now.

Why didn’t Jenna Kutcher like that post I shared on Insta the other day?
She said she wanted people to share a photo of themselves in that podcast and I used her hashtags and everything. Maybe I’ll just give up on social media; I just don’t get it.

Maybe I’m just not good enough to be an entrepreneur.
Maybe I’ll start thinking about going back into employment. At least I’d get to talk to people and have something to say when I come home. I’m getting old, and all of these cool kids are doing great work.

I need to watch less TV and do more work.
If I stop watching as much TV and spend more time at my desk, I’ll get more done. But I’ve done that for like twenty years. Plus, Jacky needs my company right now. I’ll take a break from working at night for now. Maybe I’ll start again in a few weeks once I’ve chilled out.

That job for Phil needs finishing, oh and that one for Rachael.
Phil did spend his time taking some photos for me so I can’t let him down. We organised a meeting for this week too. I’ll have to postpone that for another week. It’s not ideal, but what can I do? But what about that project for Rachael? I could do with the cash right now. Phil won’t mind waiting another week, will he?

I should be out meeting more people around Saddleworth.
What other creatives live around here? Maybe I can find a business coach or mentor to help me through this. Ivan has one, and he’s smashing it right now. I’ll have a quick search on Facebook. No. Focus!

What about my email marketing, that’s super-important.
Those Jenna Kutcher podcasts are going to help me learn about that. But I should pay someone to do it. No, I need more money first. What was that Andrew and Pete’s training called? Atomic? That sounds like a good idea. But another online course? Will I complete this one this time?

People aren’t going to read this.
I should start planning a video for it instead, so they don’t have to read. Every page of the website and blog post needs a video. No, I haven’t got time for that. Shall I take another day to think about sharing this?

I’ll have a quick game on Call of Duty.
Maybe two. To take my mind of all this and before I head off to sit on the motorway for a couple of hours.

Tips and resources to overcome procrastination

By 6am I’ve finished writing the list of things that were playing on my mind. I take a few minutes just standing in the garden in my PJ’s. The sun is trying to break through the clouds over Delph. I think about how writing a blog takes up so much time to get right. And is it even worth my while? Only one way to find out, keep writing! But first, I’ve got to get to work.

Let's continue this in the office (mobile-office that is!)

It’s 8:33 when I arrive at APS following an hour and a half on the M60. The drive took more energy out of me than I’d hoped and now I’m craving more caffeine, but just a few more lines of text and maybe a couple of photos before I head in and start doing work. That’ll help.

Learning to overcome procrastination

Time for some nourishment and a power-nap back at the office.

Lunchtime. After spending the morning removing the clouds from a panoramic photo of Stockholm, then replacing it with another sky that’s animated, I’m wondering if this post will see the light of day today. I’ve only got an hour for lunch and half the day has gone already.

I keep tapping on my phone screen as I walk through the woods at Abney Hall, one thing’s for sure this Grammarly keyboard app has got to go, it’s slowing me down.

I get back from Greggs, tummy filled with a ham salad roll, a cheese and onion bake, and half an hour to spare. So I head back to the mobile office, put my seat back, set a timer for 20 mins, load up Headspace.

Tips to overcome procrastination

Okay, so I didn’t get my post out yesterday, but I did sleep a whole lot better.

It was around 18:50 when I got to Ogden Reservoir to do a 7km run with my dad and brother – We’re doing Tough Mudder at the weekend, and my dad hasn’t been running much, so we needed to get him out. Better late than never.

It had gone 9pm when I got home and sat down to enjoy a bowl of Vietnamese Pho, followed by a shower; then I sat down with Jacky to watch a bit of Masterchef. I was struggling to keep my eyes open by 10pm, so I went to bed and didn’t wake up until 6:30am.

Overcome procrastination

Six tips for learning to overcome procrastination

Procrastination [noun] The action of delaying or postponing something.

Imposter Syndrome [noun] A psychological pattern, anxiety and self-doubt in which someone doubts their accomplishments and has a fear of their competence in achieving success.

These are terms that I’ve only recently started to hear about, but now I’m aware of them I keep hearing them everywhere. But how do you overcome it? By hiring experts? Writing better lists? The importance of mental health in the digital industry is so importance these days. I’m still trying to figure it all out. But these are five ways that are helping me deal with it today.

Friends and family
My new number one task for every day is to try and stay in touch with friends and family. To share at least one thing from my day that might spark up a conversation. Even if I don’t feel like I have nothing to talk about or nothing particularly exciting has happened in my day. We’re all busy going about our days, but if you can just let those you care about know you’re okay and thinking about them, then that’s good.

Just ask
You don’t need to do everything yourself. There are people out there who can help with practically any service you can think of – websites, email marketing, written content, social media, most will even do a better job of it than you can. Some may also have payment plans or packages to get start-ups and entrepreneurs up and running. And, maybe it won’t cost as much as you imagine it will.

Get rid of everything that litters your hard-drive, Google Docs and desk drawers. Keep only the things that actually serve a purpose, that you absolutely love, or definitely want to put into action. Anything else can either be deleted, archived or put into a back-burner folder for another day. Try to keep just one list of tasks.

Plan and simplify
Watch less TV, put your phone in airplane mode, then review and schedule your tasks properly at the end of each day. Organise those tasks into daily, weekly, monthly and yearly tasks. Work only on the most important tasks first and check them off one by one. Plan what you’re going to do for the next day. With any luck, it will give you just one or two things to think about before falling asleep rather than umpteen.

Just get out
Staring at a screen for 8+ hours a day is no good for anyone. I have been making a conscious effort to get out more. I’ve joined the local running club, do pilates with the wife, and even do dance classes (only because it makes Jacky happy, honest!) every week. Plus, I get to meet new people with potential work prospects. I find something therapeutic about being out in nature too. Even using a pencil and paper outdoors instead of a keyboard is relaxing.

Be quiet
Take some time out to try and shut out all of the noise and distractions and be alone with your thoughts. Feel what makes you tick, figure out what you’re good at, what excites you about the future, and how you’re going to bring your dreams into existence.

Seven apps that will help you organise your tasks, and your mind

Notes – This is my go-to app for writing and making notes on the go. Simple interface, basic styling, and you can drop photos and other media into without hassle.

Things 3 – A brilliant app for making and organising tasks. Create as many folders and sections as you like and arrange tasks in a way that works for you.

Monday – It’s not cheap but as far as project management software goes this one is my favourite. It’s intuitive, user-friendly, and works.

MindNode – This node style app is awesome for brainstorming and getting things in order.

Grammarly – If you’re serious about writing content for humans and not just Google, and making sure all of your grammar and spelling is correct, then try this.

Paper by Dropbox – I love simplicity. So when it comes to creating content with ease, has simple styling options, and I can import my media, and it arrange it in a presentable way, this is what I use.

Headspace – Perfect for those who want to practice meditation or try to sleep better.

Has this post helped?

Leave a comment if you too are learning to overcome procrastination and want someone to talk to about it. Why not share it if you think it might help someone else to overcome procrastination? Subscribe to my mailing list too for future insights and topics that you might enjoy.

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  1. Jacqueline Green

    Loved reading this. Hopefully, it will help not just yourself but others who may feel in the same way too who are consumed by work, worries, and life. Proud wife and I’ve learnt a few words and their meanings too. You are super-duper talented and deserve all the credit and acknowledgement that goes with that X

  2. John Ardern

    Hi Scott, this is far too many!!

    Please see my comments and suggestions I posted to you in Northern Creative Collective Facebook Group. Let me know what you think – and do!!


  3. Scott Green

    Noted. Thanks John, I’ll be in touch.

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