My cousin called up asking for advice. She had closed a new deal with a new client and didn’t know what to do, where to start, how to start working on the new project. It seems like she kept postponing getting started but she had to begin working on this otherwise she wouldn’t make it on time.
So I asked her several questions to see if I could understand what was happening. To begin with I asked her if she knew exactly what she had to do. In other words, did she have a clear understanding of what the client needed and expected. The reality is that when we negotiate with a new client, we have to ask questions to understand what we need to accomplish. Later we can sign the contract based on those needs and expectations. Only after having a clear understanding we can begin to work and this will help avoid procrastinating.
I later asked her if she was worried she wouldn’t meet the client’s expectations. She admitted that she was scared of failure. Her past projects had been successful and she didn’t want to experience a different result. This client she had agreed to work with was complicated, had a bit of a temper and she feared he’d cause trouble with the project and could point out a list of problems rather than positive feedback.
Sometimes we don’t have the option to choose who to work for and which client to refuse or accept. My cousin was worried because she simply doubted her skills and felt she couldn’t meet the objectives set. I think we all run into this from time to time, we question our work and wonder if we are qualified to do the job.
The truth is, if we accept working on a project that is within our skillsets, then we obviously are prepared and could do the job. When doubting we could look back at other projects and confirm we have done similar jobs so we can definitely work on this one as well. On top of that we may have recommendations or we may have received reviews which we could use to see how satisfied other clients were with the outcome of the projects. This can help us gain confidence again and see that we are right for the job and capable of doing it.
One last thing I feel has helped me avoid procrastination is to organize my week and have a clear to-do-list to work on every day. It’s easy to leave one task aside when we know other tasks are urgent. This also happens when that specific task we are leaving aside is not the most interesting one or we simply don’t know where to start. By organizing our tasks, having a clear agenda and knowing when our deadlines are up, we can avoid delaying tasks and getting down to business.
This can be a challenge when freelancing and not having anyone setting the priorities straight for you and when you know you are the only person in charge. How do you fight procrastination? What do you do?