How Do You Tackle Procrastination?

How Do You Tackle Procrastination?

By Rich Steve Beck

Even the most passionate audio engineers aren't immune to procrastination. Whether you're seasoned or just starting out, the freedom of running your own business can sometimes create the perfect storm for stalling: overwhelming tasks, lack of external deadlines, and the siren call of distractions. But procrastination isn't just about wasting time, it undermines your productivity, business growth, and ultimately your satisfaction. Let's break the cycle!

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Why Audio Engineers Are Susceptible

  • Perfectionism: Striving for sonic perfection can make it paralyzing to even start a project for fear of it not being "good enough."
  • Open-ended Projects: Mixing and mastering often lack clear end dates unlike, say, a live recording event. This makes it tempting to push things indefinitely.
  • Isolation: Working alone, it's easier to get lost in tinkering without the accountability that comes from a team or external client deadlines.
  • Admin Overload: The unglamorous tasks of bookkeeping, marketing, etc., can be the biggest procrastination culprits.

Strategies to Win the Procrastination Battle

  • Break It Down: Don't face a project as a monolith. Chunk it into small, achievable tasks, making starting less intimidating.
  • "Just 15 Minutes" Trick: Commit to working for just 15 minutes. Often, this breaks the inertia and you'll find yourself going longer.
  • Pomodoro Technique: Use a timer to alternate work sprints (25 mins) with short breaks, promoting focused effort.
  • Change Your Scenery: Sometimes a new environment (coffee shop, library) provides the mental jumpstart you need.
  • Tackle the Ugly First: Get the admin, or dreaded task, out of the way early in the day for a huge momentum boost.
  • Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge completing even small tasks. This reinforces positive momentum.
  • Outsourcing: If certain tasks (accounting, website updates) are major hurdles, consider if outsourcing fits your budget to free up mental space.
  • Accountability Partner: Find a fellow engineer to swap progress updates – even a little friendly pressure helps!

Mindset Shift: Procrastination vs. Recharge

Learn to distinguish between procrastination as avoidance and taking necessary breaks. If you're truly burnt out, a walk or creative hobby time could be MORE productive in the long run.

The Bottom Line

Procrastination is a habit, and like any habit, it can be broken. By employing these strategies and understanding why you procrastinate, you'll gain control over your workflow, reduce stress, and boost your business success.

Discussion: Do you have any unique procrastination-busting tips? What type of task triggers procrastination for you most often?

Rich Steve Beck is the creator and owner of Produce Mix Fix Conquer/We Are PMFC and PMFC Atlas. As well as being a Mastering Engineer, Blogger, Podcast Interviewer and Community Leader, Rich has 20 years + experience in finance, insurance, account management and online marketing. This will be a regular series supporting new up and coming audio engineers and producers as well as hopefully throwing around some fresh ideas to industry veterans to help assist sustainability. Cherry pick what is helpful, leave behind what you don't need. Good luck on your audio adventures! 

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