Small Business Articles from Make-it-Fly®
Easy Pointers to Help You Put an End to Procrastination
By Victoria Munro
If you find yourself putting
off difficult projects that you don’t enjoy,
and if these unfinished tasks tend to move forward on
your calendar from one day to the next, then procrastination
could be costing you money and increasing your stress.
There is a solution!
Procrastination carries a
high potential for painful consequences. It often
produces feelings of guilt, anxiety and discouragement
that decrease our productivity and result in missed
opportunities, unmet goals and failure to move a business
ahead on schedule. Addressing this issue will prove
a good investment of your time and energy.
If you suffer from procrastination, you’re not
alone. The majority of small business owners face challenges
in this area. Being your own
boss can make it more difficult to get things done.
Because we have no one to answer to for how we spend
our time, it’s easy to
get sidetracked with “busywork” instead
of tackling those unpleasant but important projects
in a timely manner.
We have faced challenges ourselves in this area, have
worked with scores of other business owners, and have
found practical solutions. Below we’ve listed
some suggestions that have helped others to beat procrastination
and enjoy more peace of mind as they build their businesses.
10 Easy Pointers to Put an End to
the problem. Recognize and accept your own
strengths and weaknesses
a look inside and discover
the root cause – the real reason why
you keep putting off a job that must be done. Perhaps
ask, “What am I afraid of here?” “What
is it about this project that I find so difficult?”
Or, “What am I trying to avoid here?”
clear, realistic goals for yourself and always
keep them in front of you. When writing goals, it’s
important to include all the benefits that achieving
them will bring to you and your business.
try to eat the elephant all at once! Break
large, challenging tasks down into bite-sized steps
that can ideally be accomplished in 30 minutes or
less. No matter how much you dislike something,
you can cope with almost any task for that long,
and you’ll usually find that you get involved
in the job and continue for longer. Write out all
the necessary steps and add these to your daily
your time management tool to schedule your day.
Prioritize your tasks and block out time on your
calendar for those tough tasks first. The rest will
then flow more easily.
aware of your self-talk – make sure
you aren’t sabotaging yourself. If you habitually
declare, “I’ll never get this done,”
or “I’m just lazy,” then that
will become your reality. Learn to substitute positive
affirmations such as, “I’m going to
get started on this project now, and I will finish
it on time.” Change your approach and commit
to developing a can-do attitude. If necessary, eliminate
words like “can’t” and “later”
from your vocabulary.
up a rewards system for yourself. At the
completion of a project, promise yourself an immediate
reward: a walk in the park, a yummy snack, a favorite
TV show. When I started a sportswear business some
years ago, I had to make cold calls to set up appointments
with buyers I didn’t know who were being called
by dozens of other sales reps. It appeared a daunting
task, so I decided to reward myself after every
three calls with a chocolate kiss. Each time I set
an appointment, I took a ten-minute break outside
in the sun. It worked! The appointment schedule
was fully booked, I had a great season and I built
a valuable database for the company
your avoidance strategies and don’t
give in to them. If you’re prone to distractions,
like checking email every time you hear a new message
arrive, close Outlook (or your email editor) and
schedule set times to check and respond to emails.
sure you have an efficient work environment.
Make whatever changes are necessary to facilitate
maximum efficiency, with everything you need close
someone to hold you accountable to do what
you committed to do, when you said you’d do
it. Set an appointment to meet face to face or over
the phone. Ask that they check up on your progress
and accept no excuses!
A Note to Perfectionists
Perfectionism often goes hand-in-hand
with procrastination. As perfectionists, we sometimes
avoid tackling a project because we feel it must be
100% perfect. Because we simply don’t have the
time that would take, or we fear that the result may
be less than perfect, we have difficulty getting started.
We want to do it right or not at all, and we don’t
want to face the possibility of making a mistake. It
can become a no-win situation.
Acknowledging that you’re human and will inevitably
make mistakes, then recognizing mistakes as valuable
opportunities to learn really helps. Also, remember
that allowing others to see your “humanness”
makes you much more appealing and approachable.
Look over the above pointers and make note of changes
that would be helpful for you to implement. Don’t
allow procrastination to continue stealing your time.
Be proactive, put your plans for change in place and
get started now. I guarantee
you’ll feel terrific about it!
© 2005-2007 Victoria Munro.
for printable version.
About the Author: Victoria Munro is
co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly®
LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for
small-business owners through creatively designed programs
and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different
businesses. To receive FREE business success articles
with tips to help you with your business, sign up for
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More Done in Less Time: 101 Quick and Easy Time Tactics
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