There are no limits to what you can accomplish when you are supposed to be doing something else.
Procrastination is right up there with negativity, both business killers
Procrastination is one of the root causes of poor business performance at all levels. It is basically the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time.
Procrastination can take hold on any aspect of your life. Putting off writing a letter, repairing a broken printer, seeing a doctor or dentist, submitting a report or having a potentially stressful issue with a colleague or family member. Procrastination can lead to feelings of guilt, anxiety, inadequacy, depression and self-doubt, just to name a few.
I know that stopping procrastination can be very difficult for some if they don’t have anyone to help them. Sometimes, procrastination takes place until the very last minute before a deadline, frustrating everyone involved.
The problem most people have is understanding the fundamental causes of their procrastination. But, once you understand the causes and the extent of a problem you may be facing, you can start punching holes in whatever it is you want to accomplish.
“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion”. Parkinson’s Law
I have four suggestions that I know work to minimise procrastination
Firstly, rework your to-do-list, preferably an electronic one. Delegate or outsource all the things you don’t like doing and the tasks that are not going to progress you towards your goals. You will then have time to focus on the important tasks that will propel you into the future you want.
Secondly, procrastination is more often than not about a perennial struggle such as no direction, financial problems, relationship problems, health and well-being issues to name a few.Usually, the procrastinator has never been shown how to plan for the future, how to set a direction they would like to go, to overcome adversity.
They lack the ability to predict anything to do with their future beyond today, apart from perhaps planning a holiday. Procrastinators may say they perform better under pressure, but more often than not that’s their way of justifying putting things off.
So, create and develop a business plan that’s tailored to your business. This can be a great procrastination stopper, and get you excited about you business if it is done well. Choose between a simple one-page plan to keep your direction and objectives top of mind, or a detailed written plan. It doesn’t matter what you choose as long as you start and keep going through a planning process.
Watch your procrastination dissipate as you become excited about making a few thing happen, particularly if you have been wanting to do them for a long time. Monitoring and measuring your progress towards achieving your personal and business goals will help with your motivation to keep on keeping on. Failing that, engage someone to who has practical planning skills and experience.
Thirdly, the trick is to stop dragging out tasks you don’t like doing by delegating or outsourcing to others. If you have to do the task yourself, set a deadline and go all out to complete the task. Become a ‘finisher’.
Fourthly, set a time limit on each task and go all out starting with the most important one. If you have some unpleasant phone calls to make, or unpleasant relationships to take care of, do them first. Don’t procrastinate any longer, get that bad stuff out of the way so you have a clear mind to do the things you like doing.
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When I feel myself procrastinating, what I do is change what I am doing. I play with my dog, go tend to my vegetable, screw a few pieces of timber together, or go take some photographs. Yes, they are my hobbies and because I have a home office I can make the changes without any additional drama.