7 Ways to Overcome Procrastination: Advice from Successful People

We may have experienced procrastination every once in a while. Resistance to doing the most important things comes in different forms at different times in our lives. However, we must seek ways to overcome the procrastination that prevents us from achieving our greatest potential. 

Below is the list of 7 effective and simple ways to overcome procrastination, which you can apply immediately! 

We’ve also made a handy list of these 7 methods into a downloadable PDF at the end of the article! Check it out!

What is procrastination? 

Procrastination is “putting off intentionally and habitually” a task or a decision. 

Every day, we encounter some good examples of procrastination. Even famous people face procrastination just as much as we do. 

Margaret Atwood, Canadian’s prolific writer, shared her story of how she produced 14 novels and other short stories and screenplays. She described herself as a world-class procrastinator and admitted that her daily routine generally consisted of waiting around until anxiety built up until she finally wrote in the afternoon. 

However, Atwood is not alone.

Herman Melville, the famous author of Moby-Dick, had to ask his wife to chain him to the desk while he was wrestling with completing his epic novel.

Tenzin Gyatso, the respected 14th Dalai Lama, recalled how he was a lazy student who would not study and work unless there was a deadline. His teaching is as insightful and resonating as his advocacy about compassion “You must not procrastinate. Rather you should make preparations so that even if you die tonight, you would have no regrets.”  

14th Dalai Lama on overcoming procrastination.

Why do we procrastinate? 

Resistance is among the main factors that stop us from doing what we set out to do. In other words, it makes us struggle to overcome procrastination. 

Steven Pressfield, in his “The War of Art,” defined the characteristics of the resistance that leads to procrastination: 

  • Resistance is invisible — “Resistance cannot be seen, heard, touched, or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential.”
  • Resistance is insidious — Resistance keeps you from doing the important work. 
  • Resistance is impersonal. 
  • Resistance is infallible.
  • Resistance is universal. 
  • Resistance never sleeps. 
  • Resistance plays for keeps.

What are 7 ways to overcome procrastination? 

1. Know thy enemy. 

Knowing that you are procrastinating is crucial. Resistance drives procrastination. We experience resistance to doing the things that will make our life better. 

Steven Pressfield framed procrastination in a simple way that we could find ourselves in a similar situation once in a while — “We don’t tell ourselves, I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead, we say, “I’m going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow” (The War of Art).

However, resistance is created by fear. But fear is good. Because when we are scared of doing something, we are more sure that we need to do it. The thing that we put off doing usually is important.  

2. Become a professional. 

There are differences between amateurs and professionals. 

Amateurs act when they feel inspired and are driven by moods. They are not committed. They also set their goals focused on fun, money, and status. 

Meanwhile, the professionals make work a priority. They are committed to success and determined to follow their inner drive. Their goals focus on passions. 

The only way we can deal with resistance is to become professionals. 

If you are a professional, you’ll feel proud of your work. You’ll show up daily no matter what. You’ll work through adversity and be open to criticism and improvement. A professional also understands that fear is just a part of the work. Finally, as a professional, you recognize that you’ll have to battle resistance daily.

3. Reward yourself for a good behavior.  

If you achieve your goal, there will be a reward. 

Don’t let yourself get swept up in your new Netflix show, check your social media, or have lunch until you finish what you have scheduled. Instead of using these tasks and distractions to avoid working, make them contingent on you actually finishing what you schedule yourself to do.

And celebrate as soon as you complete an important task! Even a small reward can be a great motivator- maybe it’s a coffee break, a walk around the block, or even a mini-vacation. Thanking yourself for your successes will make a big difference in your life!

You might be interested in: 

32 Awesome Ways to Pamper Yourself

You’ve earned it: Learn about the benefits of rewarding yourself

4. Simplify the decision-making process.

Having to make decisions over and over again wears you out. The process is especially true if you need to spend your brainpower on smaller tasks like resisting the urge to check your email. 

James Clear mentioned in his book – The Atomic Habits how decision fatigue makes you give in to procrastination. 

His point is important for us to follow and apply in overcoming procrastination: “constraints can make it easier to stick to good habits by eliminating the number of decisions you need to make to move forward.” 

In other words, you can focus on getting things done by eliminating the number of decisions you need each day.

5. Overcome the initial resistance phase.

Suppose you can sit down and start doing the work, even from a really small task. In that case, you’ll get yourself through procrastination. Things will slowly start into place. 
After the initial resistance stage, you become more engaged in doing the work and continue so without much thinking – “At this time, you enter a state of flow” (Matt D’Avella – “How to Stop Procrastinating”).

How do you drive focus in the present moment? One of the big ways to do it is you release dopamine. Five different flow triggers are all dopamine triggers. So risk produces dopamine…whenever we take a risk, we get dopamine. Dopamine is how the brain fires up to take that risk. Whenever we encounter novelty, we get dopamine. Complexity produces dopamine. Unpredictability produces dopamine. And so does pattern recognition, which is the linking of ideas together.

Steven Kotler, a specialist in flow study, authoring “Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance.”

What matters is to start and beat the resistance. 


Also, Mel Robbin points out that if you give yourself 5 seconds to get up and start working on a task before your mind convinces you to do otherwise, you already win the procrastination battle. The “5 second-rule” creates a process to combat the subconscious mind, forcing us to act on our ideas.

6. Lower your standard to avoid paralysis stemming from perfection. 

Perfection, quoted by Ryan Holiday in his talk about “How I Beat Procrastination With Stoicism” from Winston Churchill, is “nothing but perfection, maybe spelled paralysis.” Perfection makes us focus on getting everything right, scaring us from even getting started. 

We continue struggling with procrastination because we put things off for the fear of not doing it right. 

How about we decrease our expectations of perfection and begin doing the work? We remind ourselves we can always improve ourselves and our work. We need to set our actions in motion.

Winston Churchill advised against perfection to overcome procrastination.

7. Do the little things; start small. 

The famous stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius said, “You have to assemble your life yourself – action by action.” 

??If we can do one little thing every day, we will soon realize that the task is not so overwhelming. 

Marcus Aurelius explained how small actions override procrastination.

Conclusion

We tend to resist when the tasks are important, which is a great sign showing us that we are on the right path. What we need to do right now is put in the work and apply the seven tips above to overcome procrastination. If we can do one thing every day, that’s what counts. In the end, everything adds up, and we achieve our goals without much interference. 

7 Ways to overcome procrastination infographics!

Reference books in this article


About Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed is a receipt management application that turns your receipts and business documents into a digital format in just one click by taking a picture straight from your smartphone or scanning a pdf. It automatically extracts, categorizes, and human-verifies important data from your receipts so that you can go over and check your records anytime with ease. Shoeboxed ensures you will always have your receipts securely stored and ready for tax purposes.

Access your Shoeboxed account from your web browser or smartphone app. Stay audit-ready with Shoeboxed for FREE now!

What Are the Most Useful Learning Websites and Job Search Sites for Bookkeepers?

While bookkeeping professionals are in high demand, the job search process can sometimes be challenging. As a result, competition can be fierce and frustrating. No matter if you’re an experienced or entry-level bookkeeping professional, you need to update yourself continuously to meet the latest government regulations and standards, and to be competitive with other applicants. 

This article will introduce you to the most useful learning websites and job search sites for bookkeepers. 

Most famous learning websites for bookkeepers

AccountingCoach, LL

AccountingCoach, LLC is a web-based educational platform that offers newbie bookkeepers the chance to learn the basics of bookkeeping for free. The founder, Harold Averkamp, is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who holds a Master in Business Administration (MBA) and has more than 25 years of experience in the accounting field. 

Users can access various accounting courses covering accounting basics, bookkeeping, and financial statements. You can also take practice quizzes and solve puzzles for another way to learn, and of course, for free. 

If you’d like to advance your learning, you can upgrade your account for additional video courses, quick assessments, business forms, and flashcards. You can even gain certificates of achievement for completing the courses. 

Udemy

Udemy is a worldwide learning website that connects all kinds of students with experts in their fields of interest. The company has over 185,000 courses, over 64,000 instructors, and over 49 million loyal users.

Udemy’s most popular bookkeeping course is “Bookkeeping Basics #1,” taught by Ron Trucks, an experienced small business coach and college instructor with more than 25 years of experience in the field. It is designed for customers of all backgrounds, whether you are a student, an entrepreneur, or if you just want to understand more about bookkeeping.

Newbie bookkeepers can learn the basic foundations of bookkeeping from concepts and tools, tracking expenses, reading financial reports, and so much more.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is a branch of LinkedIn that the professional network site added in 2016. Today, it offers more than 17,500 different online courses in seven languages, with topics taught by professionals in their respective fields.

The course “Accounting Foundations: Bookkeeping” is the best for fundamentals, based upon the short length of the class. Users can get an overview of bookkeeping basics in about one and a half hours from accounting professors from a top university.

LinkedIn Learning’s “Accounting Foundations: Bookkeeping” is our pick for the fundamentals because it offers a lot of expert advice in an approximately one-and-a-half-hour foundational bookkeeping course. This class is taught by accounting professors Kay Stice and Jim Stice from Brigham Young University. 

During the course, you’ll get a quick overview of how bookkeeping works, learn to create balance sheets and income statements, define journal entries, and get an understanding of how financial statements work. 

Coursera

Coursera is an education platform founded in 2012 by Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, both computer science professors at Stanford, with all courses taught by experienced professionals from top universities or companies. 

Coursera’s “Financial Accounting Fundamentals” class is the most significant bookkeeping course for entrepreneurs and small business owners to get a better understanding of their finances. The course is taught by Luann J. Lynch, a professor of business administration at Darden with an MBA from Duke University and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina.

During the 14-hour video course, you’ll gain a better overview of your bookkeeping and even learn to prepare financial statements. Each section includes quizzes, so you can always check your knowledge after learning. 

Most famous job search site for bookkeepers

Bookkeeper.com

Founded in 1987, Bookkeeper.com offers a wide range of accounting, financial planning, and tax services to individuals and small businesses. If Bookkeeper.com hires you and places you in a bookkeeper role, you’ll perform or assist with bookkeeping tasks like journal entries, monthly closes, accounts receivables and payables, and financial reporting.

Accounting Jobs Today 

AccountingJobsToday.com is a one-stop-shop for your accounting job search needs. You can post a resume or search for available accounting positions on this platform. Moreover, the site provides useful information about continuing education and offers a variety of job tools, resume assistance, and other resources.

Accounting.com

Accounting.com is a great job search site for bookkeeping professionals. The site’s features include a comprehensive job board, information about continuing education opportunities, and other helpful career resources. Available jobs range from entry-level to senior-level positions.

Accountingfly

Accountingfly is another niche accounting site offering both traditional and non-traditional job listing opportunities. This job search site can be a great way to connect with everything from cloud accounting positions to remote jobs.

Accounting Crossing

Accounting Crossing is a job search site that features many jobs you won’t find on public search boards. The site provides access to job listings that include accounting roles in the private sector, government agencies, and other organizations.

Bonus: Job search sites for freelance bookkeepers

Unlike certified bookkeepers, you don’t need any formal experience or certification to start your freelance bookkeeping career. If you’re looking for a freelance bookkeeping opportunity for small businesses, here is the good news: Most clients are more interested in your ability to complete the task than your background and certifications.

In such cases, completing a bookkeeping course can help you impress your clients faster and be more confident working with them. 

You can try freelance marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr to find freelance bookkeeping jobs that don’t require experience. Clients on these job search sites aren’t always seeking world-class bookkeepers, so they’re great places to start your bookkeeping career from the ground up or find some side jobs.

If you’re looking for remote bookkeeping opportunities, go for Belay. This job search site offers both freelancing and corporate jobs for its clients. Belay prefers but doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree. However, you might need to show some experience.

The bottom line

When finding a new bookkeeping job, it’s important to rely on the right resource. We hope that our suggested learning website and job search site for bookkeepers can help you find your new job. By that, you can stop worrying and start aiming for that next great opportunity.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Shoeboxed blog for more helpful accounting and bookkeeping knowledge tailored for different industries! 

About Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed is a receipt management application that turns your receipts and business documents into a digital format in just one click by taking a picture straight from your smartphone or scanning a pdf. It automatically extracts, categorizes, and human-verifies important data from your receipts so that you can go over and check your records anytime with ease. Shoeboxed ensures you will always have your receipts securely stored and ready for tax purposes.

Access your Shoeboxed account from your web browser or smartphone app. Stay audit-ready with Shoeboxed for FREE now!

Double-entry Bookkeeping Best Practices for Small Businesses

If you’re a small business owner setting up your bookkeeping, you must decide on your accounting system: double-entry or single-entry?

Though single-entry bookkeeping is very straightforward and easy to implement, it can’t provide a business with sufficient financial data and a secure, accurate recording system. 

That’s why double-entry bookkeeping might be more beneficial to your business, and if so, this article is written just for you. 

In this article, we’ll explain double-entry accounting as simply as possible and show you the best practices for using this bookkeeping method. 

What Is Double-Entry Accounting?

Double-entry accounting, or double-entry bookkeeping, is a bookkeeping method that helps you keep track of your business’s financial activities. With double-entry, each financial transaction creates two entries: one debit and one credit. Corresponding to these two entries are two accounts that the transaction affects. For example, your business just sold a product for $500. This transaction will make a debit on the cash account as it increases $500 in cash and create a credit on the inventory account as a $500 good has been gone (we will explain in detail later what creates a debit or a credit.) 

If you record all the transactions correctly, the credit balance will be the same as the debit balance. This is why you will have fewer accounting errors, compared to the single-entry bookkeeping method. 

All public firms are required to use double-entry accounting.

You might also be interested in:

Accounting Solution Hack Now Financial Accounting in Business

Accounting Vs. Bookkeeping: What Are The Differences?

What Do Bookkeeping Services Include and How Can Your Business Benefit From Them?

The 4 double-entry best practices that you must know

We’ve gathered the top 4 practices for small businesses using the double-entry bookkeeping system. These practices will ensure you have an efficient and accurate recording procedure. 

Let’s check them out!

1. Always remember the golden rule of accounting

To ensure your double-entry bookkeeping is compliant and accurate, you must ingrain this equation into your mind:

Assets = Equity + Liabilities 

Assets: all economic resources owned by your company.

Equity: investments and retained earnings of your company. 

Liabilities: debts and financial obligations owed by your company.

All experienced accountants/bookkeepers are familiar with this accounting equation because this is the core mechanism that makes double-entry work. If both sides of the equation do not have the same figures, it means there’s at least one mistake in your books. 

2. Categorize your financial transactions 

You must know how to classify transactions—or in other words, put them in the correct accounts. 

Depending on your business’s nature, you can have several different accounts, but the following are the most fundamental ones that nearly every business has in its accounting system:

Asset accounts

  • Account receivables: the money owed to you from your buyers.
  • Petty cash: money available to pay small expenses.
  • Inventory: your goods and products .

Liability accounts

  • Account payables: expenses you have incurred but not yet paid for.
  • Sales tax: financial obligation to the government. 

Income accounts (revenue accounts)

  • Sales: money earned from selling products or services.
  • Earned interest: the amount of interest earned from your investments.

Expense accounts

  • Payroll: the amount you compensate for your employees’ work.
  • Rent: the cost for renting office.
  • Cost of goods sold (COGS): the money you spent to buy materials, goods and products to resell.

3. Have a double-entry accounting cheat sheet

Knowing only your accounts is not enough. You’ll also need to wrap your head around debits, credits, and how each kind of business transaction affects each account and financial statement. 

To make things a bit easier for you, we’ve prepared a cheat sheet to show you how debits and credits work under the double-entry bookkeeping system.

A double-entry accounting cheat sheet.

Also, remember to record debits on the left of a ledger sheet and credits on the right side. 

For example, if you make a $400 payment received on account from a customer, the journal entry for debits and credits would look like this:

4. Find suitable software tools 

With the advent of technology, it wouldn’t be wise to do everything by yourself manually, as it’s error-prone and costs time. Software can help you eliminate those issues. For instance, accounting software can help you keep your eyes close to your business’s finances and helps manage clients, reconcile bank accounts, and generate insightful financial reports that help your business grow robustly in the future. 

There are many popular options for accounting software now on the market, such as Quickbooks, Zoho Books, Freshbooks, Bench, etc. 

No less important than keeping your records accurate is to have your finance receipts organized and stored carefully. This is because the IRS requires you to provide receipts and other financial proof to be eligible for business deductions. Shoeboxed can help you with that. Shoeboxed is a receipt tracker that helps you digitize and categorize documents smartly in the cloud.  

Start having a smooth and errorless accounting system today with advanced technology tools for your business!   

You might be interested in:

6 Reasons to Invest in Bookkeeping Management Software for Restaurants

7 Bookkeeping Practices Every Business Should Implement

Bookkeeping For Cannabis Industry Must-knows 4 Proven Best Practices

Final thoughts 

The double-entry bookkeeping system has been used and proven to be effective and productive for decades in the business world. If you opt to do the same for your business, we hope this article has clarified what you can do to have a smooth and highly-functional accounting system. 


About Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed is a receipt management application that turns your receipts and business documents into a digital format in just one click by taking a picture straight from your smartphone or scanning a pdf. It automatically extracts, categorizes, and human-verifies important data from your receipts so that you can go over and check your records anytime with ease. Shoeboxed ensures you will always have your receipts securely stored and ready for tax purposes. More importantly, Shoeboxed helps you track mileage using your phone’s built-in GPS for unmatched ease and accuracy. Access your Shoeboxed account from your web browser or smartphone app.

Stay audit-ready with Shoeboxed for FREE now!