What does your day look like? How do you get past the mental barrier?

Help! I am the worst procrastinator. Unfortunately I feel like a school kid that needs to work for someone so that it forces me to get stuff done because then I have a sense of responsibility. 

I have some money saved up, and no kids so I also don’t have the motivation of “there are ppl relying on me” or “you need to make money for food”.

However, I know this money will soon run out, at which point I’m worried my fear will over take me and I’ll just go back to my profession to earn money because it’s safer than giving this a fair go.

Basically I need a massive kick in the ass.

I’m 31 and female. I see the look on peoples face when I tell them that I’m starting up and it’s that patronizing look of ‘oh isn’t she sweet, she has no business knowledge and it probably won’t work out but good on her for trying’. This, and other influences, messes with my brain every time it happens and has created a major mental block of ‘why bother’.

So, my questions –

1- how do you structure your day?

2 – how do you get your mind over, around or under the issue of ‘it’s too hard’ or ‘I can’t’  or ‘why bother’?

Thank you guys!! Love this forum! Tough love and hard advice welcome!!!!


  • I’m a male CEO, and also a massive procrastinator. You are not alone in this situation. But being a procrastinator is not necessarily a weakness. What are you doing when you procrastinate ? That’s the key. When I procrastinate, it’s because I don’t feel good about how shit must be done. Most of the time, shit can be done tomorrow, and I usually find a better way to do it, or something better to do in place when I just procrastinate until the good idea comes out of my mind.

    Currently, I’m procrastinating. Writing this post is pure procrastination. I have something precise to do, I know how to do it, but I feel I will have a better idea soon. So I don’t start this work.

    As soon as procrastination is a way to mature your thoughts, it’s ok. If you learn something valuable during those times it’s ok. Usually, I read some scientific or technical stuff for my pleasure when I don’t want to get shit done right now. But I don’t become a couch potato watching TV with a beer in hand :o)

    About other people vision on you: it is not because you are female. It is because you are young and have entrepreneurial spirit. Less than 1% people can understand that. Today you are the brave little girl, and when you will be successful, they will look at you like if you were a superior human being.

    About the feeling “it’s too hard, I can’t”. Maybe I can’t give good advice because I don’t feel it. What I feel sometimes is “It will take too much time”. What seems to hard means you lack necessary knowledge. But you can learn. This phase can be long, but is rarely impossible. If you feel secure about your learning capabilities, you can always think in terms of time to spend in doing difficult tasks, including learning curve. Then it becomes easy to balance this time taken from your life and the expected benefits to decide if you do or do not.

  • Each one of us function differently. For me, breaking down every task in smaller ones worked. “Easy wins”, everyday, are important to keep me motivated and focused.

    • Agree. Do the easy things first each day. As a procrastinator this helps give me some momentum to tackle harder tasks and often end up doing more easy tasks too.

  • Is your procrastination because of uncertainty as to course of action or because of some other reason?

    If there are things you MUST do and these are being procrastinated, then you have no place in a startup. In a startup, there are already an infinite number of things you need to do without having the time ; losing more time because you can’t get started is pretty much an irretrievable problem.

    Maybe then the real problem is that you don’t understand just how much has to be done?

    This isn’t to say that running around like a rat on meth is what is necessary – the question is: Do I know all that I need to do, and are they getting done?

    Between fundraising, sales, marketing, product direction, strategy, product development, customer service, legal, accounting, networking, family – do you really believe you’re not dropping the ball somewhere? If not, great!

  • I’ve suffered from procrastination all my life. I always attributed it to ADD that I just can’t focus on the boring menial stuff like paperwork. But then I realized I also procrastinated on working on big projects.

    Personally, I’ve come to the realization that my procrastination is due to overwhelm. Whenever I try to make myself do too many things, my subconscious fights back by basically making me unable to focus so whenever I feel like I’m procrastinating too much, I immediately schedule a half day off to plan.

    That’s how I “reset”. When I take time to replan all the activities, including breaking down big tasks to chunks I realize how long things will take and I space them out. My mind then recovers from the overwhelm, knows the exact things I need to do and I just get right to it.

    I still fight with procrastination daily, but this has helped me cope with it.

  • Don’t beat yourself up – ignore the comment about the “rough ride”. Nonsense.

    Many driven successful people have been procrastinators: Winston Churchill, Howard Hughes, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Dickens, Abraham Lincoln, Da Vinci, even the Dalai Lama.

    Procrastinators can move with blinding speed when the time calls for it (the 4-minute Gettysburg Address and any speech by Churchill come to mind). This is probably because they’ve spent hours and hours noodling about how something should be.

    Procrastinators tend to be perfectionist. They think and think about something until it’s honed down in their mind to the clearest and best outcome.

    When procrastination hits get your mind off whatever is overwhelming you. Try reading something (biographies do it for me); write a little (a response on SA can help), go outside and take a walk in an inspiring location.

    Then take a shot at the project. Just start with the first sentence, slide, email – whatever to get started. Things will start to flow from there…

  • As a female founder, having worked in corporate, in a funded startup, been self employed (non-tech but also mostly male industry) and later a sole founder of a tech startup thats won an award or two. I can tell you that a tech startup is absolutely the hardest undertaking I have ever done and I have worked my entire adult and teen life & at times, in very difficult stressful ‘impossible’ job tasks & roles. Real talk: A tech startup demands are neverending, isolating, mentally trying & success will make it harder not easier. On the flip, there are many positives & rewards of course but are not in every startup and are not timely & predictable like in a regular job. If you TRULY believe in the VALUE of what you are building, that should keep you motivated whenever you start veering away too long. That is the #1 reason that has kept me focused to get shit ultimately done & get to the next ‘chunk’ of tasks. I agree with the point that some procrastination comes from lack of experience/knowledge in what tasks you are trying to do (not wanting to do it wrong or lose time). Startups are a learning process, as are all self employed businesses, and on your own dime in every sense of the word. As for people speaking down to you about your endeavor, as a woman, get some tough skin & get used to it. They will change their tune when you’re successful. Maybe you should consider going to work for a startup for a bit. See how shit gets done when a startup has funding & motivation. Then decide what you want to do and be more knowledgable & comitted in doing it. From that I think your motivation will appear. Good luck.

  • To me procrastination simply means that your heart isn’t in it anymore and you might be happier working a job.

    If the procrastination is just about a certain aspect of your startup that you don’t like – consider hiring someone to do it, so you can focus on the other parts that you don’t hate.

  • 1- how do you structure your day?

    My Answer: In a startup there is no structured approach really, you’ll manage things and stuff as they happen. I work 15 hours straight(on drugs) getting my mind really active during my time at office.

    2 – how do you get your mind over, around or under the issue of ‘it’s too hard’ or ‘I can’t’ or ‘why bother’?

    Well I would suggest meditation. If you have depression problem like me, you can get some STUFF if you know what i mean 🙂

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