5 Tips for Dealing with Procrastination

Are you a procrastinator? Are there certain things you KNOW you need to do, but you put off doing them for as long as you possibly can, even though you know that doing so isn’t helping you or your business grow?  Don’t you wish there was a simple way that you could beat procrastination and get everything done on your to-do list, even if it’s a mental list?  Today I’d like to tackle procrastination head on, and give you my top 5 tips for dealing with procrastination, tips that have helped me transform from a lazy-ass avoider, to a, well, somewhat less lazy-ass achiever!

1. Explore WHY you are procrastinating.

What is it that you procrastinate about?  What are those tasks that you put off doing until you can’t put off any longer.  Nowadays for me, washing my makeup brushes is a BIG one, its just such a drag!!  When I was first starting out, one of the biggest things I used to procrastinate about was reaching out to wedding venue planners and photographers I wanted to work with.

So the idea here is to look at WHY you are procrastinating about these tasks.  Remember all human behaviour is motivated by the desire to either move away from pain, or towards pleasure.  I don’t think there would be many artists who would disagree that washing brushes is more painful than pleasurable, right?  When it comes to approaching people I wanted to network with, clearly I was procrastinating because of the POTENTIAL pain of them rejecting me, saying NO they don’t want to work with me. Fear of Rejection is a big one for many people, and leads them (us) to procrastinate.

Take some time to explore what those tasks are that you put off doing, and why…


2. Remember WHY you are here.

Now that you have identified what you are procrastinating about, and why, its time to remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place.  WHY are you pursuing a career as a makeup artist or hairstylist?  What is it about this industry that really excites you? What are you passionate about?  What is your VISION that you have for yourself as a successful artist?

Next time you catch yourself procrastinating, remind yourself of this vision.  See it vividly, and FEEL it.  Connecting with those positive emotions (remember – human behaviour is also driven by moving TOWARDS pleasure) of the moment your client looks in the mirror and says “Oh my god, I love it” will help you push through the temporary pain of washing your brushes for the next 20 minutes!!

As makeup artists and hairstylists we are visual creatives, so you will probably find that visualising will work well for you.  Whether that be creating a vision board, or just sitting with eyes closed visualising the career that you want, there is power in seeing those images and connecting to those emotions.

3. Write a LIST

How many of you groaned internally when I mentioned the L word?  My ex-husband used to always ridicule me for writing lists for EVERYTHING (maybe that’s why he’s not very successful, and also why we’re not together anymore, but anyways…) but being organised and having a PLAN is one of the keys to success.

However, the important thing with a plan or a list is, to not have too many things on your list. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed, because when you feel overwhelmed, you often tend to do nothing!  This year I am working with a Diary/Planner that was created by one of my mentors, Tash Corbin, and in this planner there is only space for 4 items on the To-Do list.  Tash’s thinking behind this is exactly that: if there are too many things on the list, it leads to overwhelm and inaction.  (I will admit, there are times that I add a sneaky #5 to my list!)

The other tip with your To-Do list is to chunk it down.  Just put small actions on the list, each step in your plan, as it were, rather than the whole project.

For example, if you are working on putting a shoot together for submission, rather than putting “Organise submission shoot” on your To-Do list, you could list the individual tasks you are planning to do today – maybe “Create Moodboard in Pinterest” or “Organise Model for submission shoot”

Do you see how those smaller tasks are much more achievable and less overwhelming than the mammoth task of organising the whole shoot, where you might not even know where to start?

If you know you want to reach out to 10 new contacts to network with this week, why not commit to contacting 2 each day and put that on your Daily Actions list, rather than 10 all at once?  It will take less time, and be less “painful”.  And who knows, once you start you might get on a roll and keep calling!


4. Bargain with yourself

Do you ever catch yourself thinking “Oh I’ll just watch MAFS* and then I will wash my brushes” but then after the episode, you spend the next few hours discussing how horrid that one contestant is and how the other one’s contour wasn’t blended properly tonight, and before you know it, you’re WAY too exhausted to think about washing your brushes, and anyway, you don’t have a job tomorrow, so you can just do them then…


“OK, before I start calling these photographers I just need to tidy my desk, because you know, I need to have everything organised so I can take notes, and I can’t find my favourite notebook and I really need to take everything off the desk and clean it…..”

Yeah, I get it…  I catch myself in this sort of thinking ALL the time.  Procrastination at its absolute finest!!  The key here is to catch yourself, and then flip it.  Learn to treat those distractions as “rewards” for getting stuff done.

So, take it one step further, and set it up like that.  Strike a bargain with yourself that you will wash your brushes BEFORE tonight’s episode of MAFS, and then you can sit down guilt-free, watch the episode and enjoy gossiping with your besties all over Facebook about it afterwards.

Do I REALLY have to wash them again???


5. Celebrate your Wins

This really is the big one. Its not human nature to celebrate our wins or achievements, especially the small daily ones – do I really deserve a virtual pat on the back because I called two photographers today?  But I won’t hesitate in berating myself if I DON’T do it?  Does anyone else feel like this?

Successful people have all learned the secret of reflecting on their successes NO MATTER HOW SMALL and celebrating them.  I spent last year working with a life coach who encouraged me to celebrate my achievements at the end of every day.  Now I’ll admit I rarely did that, but I DO make sure that it is something I do each week, on a Sunday, I review the week that was and look at all the ticks** on my Daily Actions list (and because there is a maximum of 4 on the list each day, there’s usually at least 3 ticks!) and I focus on the ticks rather than the crosses.

Celebrating your wins, and feeling good about them will really help you to become less likely to procrastinate next time.


Remember that change is a process, and the goal should always be progress not perfection.  It’s like a muscle that needs constant exercise. You can’t do these things once and be “cured” of procrastination forever, and it takes time to make things habit.  So again, take it one small step at a time, and work at it consistently.

Success isn’t a matter of what you do occasionally; it’s what you do consistently.  The daily habits and routines that you develop can make all the difference between a life of mediocrity and a life of huge success.

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Photo Credits:

Savannah @ Verge Girl
Paul Giggle


*MAFS or Married At First Sight is an Australian Reality TV program.  It’s wildly popular, and for a couple of hours after it airs, that’s almost all I read about on my Facebook feed.  I may be one of the only people in Australia who has never seen an episode of MAFS!


** Aussie translation for our North American readers:  A tick is the same as a check mark.