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tips for making deadlines (when you're a procrastinator)

When I (Robyn) tell people I work from a home office they tend to either have one of two reactions: 'That sounds amazing' or 'I could never get anything done'.

I fall in between the two.

Some days can be super productive and other days it can take a lot of effort to get anything done. The flexibility of being able to work from home makes life easier (especially with two little ones who do not have 9-5 schedules). But I also often fall into the trap that scares most people from the idea: procrastination.

In the last couple of months I’ve had to quickly learn to embrace what I used to explain away as a normal journalist’s practice: an adrenaline junky that gets their best work done on a tight deadline.

But in reality there’s no sugar coating it; procrastination is the devil that rears its ugly head on a daily basis and can so easily derail those of us who have to hold ourselves accountable.

Here are three ways I’ve found to help me make my deadlines:

Embrace it.

It may seem counterproductive but sometimes I do give into procrastination. Walking away from a project that’s giving me trouble can help me break through an idea and actually get work done. I just try to make sure that whatever I chose to distract myself is productive for another part of my life – this is not a time for Netflix and chill! Many of my ideas have been formulated on a run – and it’s a two for one deal: it gives my brain some space and I’m working towards my (sometimes elusive) healthy living goals.

Compile lists.

Even if it’s just quickly scribbled down on a piece of paper or on a phone’s memo pad or productivity app, before I start working I get an idea of what my to-do list looks like which helps me get control of the day (and even the week) and makes things feel less chaotic. My day goes off the rails on a pretty regular basis, but if I have my tasks written down I can get an idea of what has a deadline looming and make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. I use a mix of both technology and good, old-fashioned paper and pen (I have a soft spot for good stationery!) and have task lists in every conceivable place. When I have more time I pull all of those task lists together to plan out a little better what the week/month looks like ahead and try and give priority to the most pressing deadlines.

Connect with others.

When you work remotely you can feel very disconnected. It’s especially important for me to meet regularly to make sure that I’m staying on target with my goals and also just to be inspired to keep doing what I’m doing. Even if you are forging ahead in a business all on your own you can seek out like-minded people, others working remotely or even coffee with a friend willing to listen and chat and hold you accountable to your goals. Networking events such as lunch and learns can be a good place to get out and chat with people about your business. I have found that talking about the work I’m doing is often the best way to keep me on track and pumped up to stay on track.

Now it's your turn: Tell us, what helps you stay focused and win the battle against procrastination?

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