How To Beat Procrastination While Working From Home

Remote workers with dog

Working from home can have some mega perks: You don’t need to wear pants, shower is out of the question, you can eat that stinky left-over food without a cube-mate complaining about the smell. Pretty great. Best of all, you can make your own hours.

Though there are quite a few perks of working from home, there are some negative aspects that could wind up hurting your career if you are not careful.

When you work from home, you can put off reaching out to potential clients and actually doing your work. Procrastination finds a way to creeps in. You lazily eat your breakfast, check emails from clients (“Will get to those later..”), you snuggle onto the couch with a fluffy blanket. Three hours later after watching the “Today” show, the “Price is Right,” and a random few episodes of “Seinfeld” you realize it’s lunchtime.

You get the picture. Before you know it, a whole day is blown and you’re up super late catching up on emails and your to-do list. Not the ideal day for someone who makes their own schedule because productivity is at an all-time low when these habits start taking over.

How To Beat Procrastination 

According to Charles Duhigg in his book “Power of Habit,” you can beat procrastination by forming strong habits. We’ve all heard it takes 21 days to form a great habit, but there’s more to it than just gritting your teeth and doing It.

He recommends a 3-step process:

CUE – ACTION – REWARD

Let’s break it down.

Step 1 – CUE

The thing that “triggers” you to do something.

When you are hungry, you know because your stomach starts getting a slight pain. Your brain is then triggered that “Hey, my stomach is empty, I need to fill it up.” The choice of whether you eat a salad or a burger is a completely different habit! The cue’s can come to life when you receive that email from your partner, requesting an update on your current audit engagement. It might trigger your heart to beat faster or your palms to start sweating. This is when you know, you have had your “Cue”.

Step 2 – ACTION

The actual “doing” of what needs to done.

Usually, when forming habits, it revolves around something you would rather not do or isn’t the easiest choice to make. When you are in the middle of a diet, the Action could potentially be going for a walk rather than watching TV. It’d be easier to simply stay and watch the tube, but a Cue pushed you to think about going out the door and the Action is the actual going for a walk. This is what needs to be formed into a daily habit. What will push you to begin knocking off that work to-do list?

Step 3 – REWARD

The treat you give yourself after completing the Action.

As mentioned, usually the Action is not one of your favorite tasks, so you need to Reward yourself for taking the action. It’s how your brain starts transitioning from “ I don’t want to do this” into “Hey, this is great and helps me out.” Think of yourself like a dog. When you train a dog, you give them a treat when teaching them to “sit.” After periods of training, the dog will soon just sit on their own when you command them without the treat. It’s because it’s now a habit. You are the same way!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should be more like a dog. Instead, find ways to integrate rewards when you have “smalI wins”. Maybe it’s when you have finished the financial statements and have treated yourself to a date night with your significant other. Or knocked out all the work on the client’s engagement, finishing under budget, and reward yourself with a trip to your local bakery. Whatever it needs to be, sprinkle in rewards throughout your to-do list to keep motivating you to be productive while working from home.

Creating Good Habits While Working from Home

You’re going to need to plan for a habit before you can do the habit. Let’s start:

Step 1 – Where Do You Procrastinate The Most?

Write down the one area you procrastinate in when working from home.

Don’t write 10, just write one. Let’s use an example.

“I struggle with mustering up the courage to contact new prospects. I don’t like the rejection. Instead, I’ll usually read some more articles online about prospecting or simply turn on the TV.”

This is good start in learning how to beat procrastination and what many struggle with themselves.

Step 2 – Create A Plan

Plan out when you plan to do this habit regularly:

“I plan to prospect for new clients every Tuesday and Thursday from 1pm5pm.

Now, you have a plan. The worst thing is to just say, “Yes, I’ll prospect this week.” Make it concrete. Perhaps, even better, it’s more concrete to say, “I will contact 25 potential prospects each week.” Try both, what are you most comfortable with?

Step 3 – Set Up Your Cue

Set a CUE for this Action. For this, you could use a reminder in your phone, an alarm. Perhaps, you read an article to pump yourself up beforehand, etc.

“I set an Alarm in my phone for 12:30pm on Tuesday and Thursday. At that point, I’ll read a couple content pieces to motivate myself and also to sharpen my sales pitch.”

Step 4 – DO the Action

Start small and slowly. Building a habit takes time.

Step 5 – Reward Yourself

Create something that is rewarding that you do only after doing your Action when trying to beat procrastination.

“After my prospecting is over for the day, and I feel I’ve done my best, I can go to the Golf Club and hit some balls for an hour. Afterwards, I’ll pick up a treat for myself. Slushies!”

What you’ll find is after doing this for a couple weeks, it’ll start to become more a part of your routine rather than a chore. It’ll become easier and more enjoyable as you see more results from it.

Then, you can use it for any aspect of your life! What tips do you have for forming great habits and beat procrastination while working at home?

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