Procrastinating in your business?
7 Things you may be lacking & 7 ways to fix them
“I’ll do it later…or tomorrow…or next week.”
“I’m happy where I am, I don’t want to try anything new or do anything different – just leave me in my comfort zone.”
“Some days I accomplish a lot, others … I still find the procrastination monster looming.”
Are you guilty of putting off until tomorrow what you can do today? Everyone procrastinates now and then, but if it’s affecting your job or your business then you may have a problem. We’ve identified seven areas that you may be lacking in and what you can do about it. If you can pinpoint where you are lacking our tips may be all you need to stop procrastinating and get on with the job.
1. Lacking belief in yourself or your product/service
Believing in yourself is a major key to success. If you are lacking in this belief and in fact are constantly worried as to whether you can really do it, or whether your product or service is up to scratch – you may very well be a big procrastinator. One voice in your head is telling you to “Go for it” while another voice is shouting “You’ll never succeed!”
Solution: Get Rid of the Fear
The “you’ll never succeed” voice is the fear factor. You could be afraid of failure or you could be afraid of success. Failure is actually not an entity, it is an element of success – in order to succeed you generally experience a couple of ‘failed tests’ along the way, and that’s all failure really is.
Success on the other hand requires change, and change has both positive and negative consequences. Often while people claim to want to succeed at something, the reality is that the negatives outweigh the positives. One way to overcome this problem is to consciously think about what the negatives are, and then uproot them one by one. Uprooting a negative side effect could mean figuring out how to eliminate it completely, or it could mean just accepting it and learning to live with it.
It’s certainly helpful to focus on the positive side of a goal. But don’t forget to take an occasional survey of the dark side and accept that you’re going to have to deal with that too.
2. Lack of direction
Perhaps it may feel like, right now, your life has no meaning; but what you may find is that you are lacking direction. Do you have a vision for what your future and your business holds or are you just going to wing it?
Solution: Get into the Daily Plan habit
At the end of each day spend about 5 minutes writing a quick schedule for tomorrow. That’s all it should take, with everything fresh in your mind from today’s activities. Waiting until the morning means going back over what you did the day before and trying to remember what it is you were going to do today. Too Hard. Result? Procrastination.
This is just the first step towards planning, but it is an important one and a great remedy for procrastination. When you feel the familiar bug washing over you just refer to your To Do list and get on with the job. Once you have achieved this why not set aside some time to write down some long term goals and targets and make-up your To Do lists to achieve these.
3. Lack of focus
It’s hard to focus when you don’t really know what it is you are focusing on. You may have come up with a big idea or even just started your business, but unless you know what you really want to achieve and in fact, what it is you ultimately want out life, lack of focus could be materialising as procrastination.
Solution: Turn Off Distractions
You know you have to produce that video, create that website, test that product or just simply get on with the job… yet somehow you are living in a state of distraction. Constantly checking emails, answering the phone, or tidying up your office – again – it’s not going to get the job done. Turn off all those distractions. Focus on the task at hand. When it’s time to work, work. Start at the beginning of the task and don’t EVER let yourself be distracted until you have reached the end.
Keep telling yourself, “I am achieving, I AM achieving. I will finish this and move onto the next task (which I’m really going to enjoy).” Funny thing is, after you have finished that task you WILL feel a real sense of achievement!
4. Lack of belief or passion
This is a doozy. Maybe you just don’t think that passion plays a part in your business. That passion is something reserved for after hours and that 9 to 5 is all buttoned up, all serious and all business. So do you love what you’re doing or are you just trying to earn a living?
Solution: Re-ignite the passion and get profitable
Remember back to when you first started your business or when you first came up with your idea. How good did you feel? Didn’t you love it? Time to re-ignite the passion! By focusing on what really drives your passion you will find the motivation to achieve your dream. Set out each day to do the most profitable activities first – there’s no greater driver than cashflow! It might be creating that new product, writing sales copy, or contacting potential partners for your upcoming project.
It is also a great idea to do a marketing activity everyday to generate new business (even when you’re busy). It could be as small as adding five new keyword phrases to your Adwords account, running one ezine ad, or phoning a client. Whatever it takes to keep your business ticking over - make sure you’re doing something to generate new business on a daily basis.
5. Lack of Interest
We all have those tasks we don’t want to do – you may find it unpleasant, boring or it may be overwhelming – so large, it’s mind-boggling and you just keep putting it off.
Solution: Work out your plan of attack
Break it down into small manageable chunks. Perhaps there are parts of it you can delegate or farm out. Think about the first steps you can take now to get the ball rolling. By doing a little at a time you won’t be overwhelmed and you will suddenly find you have achieved a lot.
As for the boring or unpleasant tasks – try scheduling those in at the beginning of the day, when you are fresh. That way it is not hanging over your head all day long. Think of how great you will feel to have it done – that’s a reward in itself!
6. Lack of resources
Is your To Do list longer than your arm – than your street in fact? So much so that you just don’t know where to start so therefore you don’t?
Chipping away at that list could be as simple as making yourself accountable. But accountable to whom? If you have a few employees, set up a task force and meet at a particular time each day to go through the list of tasks. Your task force could consist of just you and one other, or it could consist of a few people. You may even be able to delegate some of these tasks to them. Make sure you meet at the same time everyday to go through your list. You will find yourself striving to achieve more and more so that you have something good to report in these meetings.
If you’re a sole trader working alone, why not enlist a friend or colleague on a weekly basis, someone to whom you can tell your weekly tasks and goals and they can tell you theirs. Compare this to having an exercise partner – the competitive factor combined with the fact that you can’t let your friend down, motivates you to keep going. The same principle applies.
Having someone who is relying on you in business can also produce the same results.
For example, if you want to really make sure your project is done on time, make a commitment to others. Let those affiliates know when the new product is releasing. Tell your customers what is coming up. In other words, assign your own public accountability.
7. Lack of energy or oomph
Is it physical, or is it just a case of reduced brain-power? Has your afternoon slump turned into an all-dayer? As hard as you try, do you find it difficult to get motivated?
Solution: Reward Yourself
Perhaps you just need to catch up on a bit of much needed sleep, change your diet to something healthier or even take a refresher break like a trip to the day-spa or a weekend away. But if deep inside you know there’s more to it than that, then think about rewarding yourself.
Set milestones. Maybe your goal today is to finish your stock take. Knowing that you are going to reward yourself by finishing early if you get this done on time, the motivation factor kicks in and you may find yourself finishing a lot earlier than anticipated! Perhaps you want to complete the stock take by COB Thursday and if you achieve this you will reward yourself by taking Friday off and enjoying a long weekend. Make up rewards that really appeal to you – little rewards for reaching your daily targets and more substantial rewards for weekly targets!
That’s it! Seven tips to survive the slump. So what are you waiting for? Get on with it. Stop procrastinating!
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