Let’s be honest, how many tasks have you completed today which had the sole purpose of giving you an excuse not to do something else?
Think checking your emails when you should be focusing on a project or updating your Twitter bio when there are more important tasks to attend to.
This is a big problem for small business owners who are the drivers of their own destiny – perhaps you’re even procrastinating now, reading this article!
Lucky for you, you’ve picked the right article to procrastinate on as we’ve got some tips on how you can stop procrastinating and start doing some work.
Procrastination is normal, but that doesn’t make it a good thing
Procrastination is painfully human. We all do it.
You might think you procrastinate most often when you’re faced with the mundane tasks such as logging expenses on your accounting system. However, it often occurs with the big workloads and projects, and it’s then that it becomes a real problem.
Often procrastination is a means of avoiding the task that we’re finding overwhelming. It’s used to delay starting tasks which take more energy, effort and commitment. It’s also used when we’re scared of the consequences of getting something wrong.
Acknowledge and recognise the fear
Your first step to removing the stumbling block of procrastination is to realise that the driving factor of it is fear. This even applies even if it’s the simple dread of boredom from a long laborious job.
Subconsciously (sometimes consciously) we think that if we put off doing something it will become easier, or may even disappear altogether. In reality, you know that’s not true.
However, if we acknowledge the fear then we don’t give it room to grow. This is particularly the case with much larger procrastinations; perhaps when putting off launching a business for example. The reality is, fears tend to grow not diminish if left unchecked.
Once you’ve acknowledged the fear you can then take steps to banish the procrastination.
Steps to banish procrastination
Banishing procrastination will take some effort. However, the rewards are worth it. Here are our top suggestions for kicking procrastination in to touch.
- Write it down: Whether you’re a fan of to-do lists, Excel spreadsheets or a different method, write things down. Write down your business goals and tasks and then prioritise them. This isn’t an excuse to bump that dreaded task down the list, but instead give it the right priority and refuse to shift it down. Assign deadlines and put them in your diary.
- Break it up: We often procrastinate over bigger tasks in favour of smaller ones. Knock this on the head by breaking bigger tasks in to smaller ones. For example, if you need to revamp your website then break it down in to more manageable chunks. Similarly, with your accounting if you do little and often then it’s far easier to manage than saving it all up for the end of year tax return panic.
- Keep an eye on the end: Chances are that if you’re procrastinating about something big then you don’t feel too great underneath it all. Knowing you’ve got that task looming in the background isn’t exactly conducive to relaxation. So remind yourself how good it will feel once the task is completed. This also works by visualising what you don’t want to happen if you leave it too late or until the last minute.
- Make yourself accountable: Say what you’re planning to do, tell your employees, tell your partners, maybe even tell the bank manager! Get someone else checking in that you are doing what you’ve said you will. This may even be an opportunity to get others on board.
- Make a start: It may not be the perfect start, but getting going is usually the hardest part. Get started and soon you’ll build momentum. So no matter how small, make a start.
What business endeavour are you procrastinating on? Identify it, recognise it, and get started overcoming it today.