How to Beat Procrastination
What If Tomorrow Runs Out?
Here you are….
Deep in thought.
Staring blankly on an eternal abyss.
And then something clicked…
An AHA! Moment that you can’t simply ignore!
“This is an awesome business idea! It’ll be big for sure! Ooh, I’m going to this!”
A new idea was born. And you can’t help but think about it all day. The excitement, urge, drive or motivation — call it whatever you want — is keeping you awake all night.
You find yourself planning your move, developing your business strategies without losing sight of the prize ahead. “I’m definitely going to this”, you always told yourself.
And in most cases, your friends too!
The days slowly turned to weeks then weeks turned to months. The AHA! Idea is still nothing but a pigment of your imagination.
With the excitement now gone, what used to be the “I’m going to this” drive is now replaced by the infamous line: “I’ll do it tomorrow”
What happened? I’m sure this is not what you want. But somewhere along the way, something had quenched the fire that used to burn inside you.
You can still rekindle that fire today. And I’ll show you how to do it. But first let’s take a quick look at the dangers of procrastination.
Procrastination: The “I’ll Do it Tomorrow” Attitude
I have known a lot of entrepreneurs and almost all of them have brilliant ideas in mind.
Unfortunately, so few of them were able to materialize those ideas — not because they don’t have the resources but because they simply did not act on it.
They became victims of procrastination, voluntarily creating distractions and postponing their plans (or tasks) until they no longer have the drive or motivation to make it happen.
Sad but true. If you are not careful, procrastination can lead to failure, not only in business but also in life.
Below are some of the dangers of procrastination.
Danger #1. “Cramming” won’t Work
When you are a student, did cramming worked for you? Probably for a few exams. But did you learn anything? Most likely not.
The same is true in business. Haste makes waste. Hasty efforts do not only invite a lot of errors, it also produce low quality results.
At the end of the day, cramming will cost you a lot of resources, especially money. Because of poor outputs, your business’ reputation may suffer too!
Danger #2. Procrastination is Nasty Habit
Who wants to develop bad habits? Absolutely no one! But do you know that you are developing a bad habit when you are procrastinating?
Allowing a task to sit until the last moment and then being able “survive” it is like sending a message that says “Oh! I can actually make something happen at the last minute. Perhaps, I’ll do this every time. It’s cool!” to yourself.
That’s not good because you and I know that procrastinating and then cramming will do more harm than good in the long run.
Even if your delays don’t seem to cause some damage, if procrastinating becomes your habit, you will eventually pay the price.
Procrastinating is a nasty habit that can creep into your personal and family life — be careful!
Danger #3. A Virus that Spreads
Procrastination is like a virus. Remember, the “target” of procrastination is not the task at hand. It’s your mentality and your ability to focus.
Procrastination leaves a feeling of guilt hanging over your head — “If only I’ve done this, we could have won that project” or “If only I’ve finished my report on time, we could have kept that client.”
This guilt can affect other areas of your business too. It compromises your ability to make sound decisions and lowers your self-esteem.
The sooner you stop procrastination, the quicker you can stop its virus from spreading into other areas of your life!
The Root Cause of the Problem
Based on personal experience and some research, I realized that procrastination is just a “superficial expression” of underlying chronic problems. I was able to identify two of these problems:
1. Entrepreneurs procrastinate because they are afraid of failure and are concerned about what others might think of them
2. Entrepreneurs procrastinate because they don’t know where to start.
Now that we’ve identified the root cause of the problem, let’s talk about some ways on how to beat them!
How to Beat Procrastination, Fear and Move Your Business Forward
Fear is our mind’s way of telling us that there’s danger ahead.
However, despite its obvious advantage in our survival as a human being, fear can still wreak havoc on the entrepreneurial spirit. Therefore, it must be conquered. Here’s how to do it.
“Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is” – German Proverb
1. Failure Will Happen, So Accept It!
We fear because we don’t know what’s ahead. Will this business idea succeed? Will I earn millions or will I go bankrupt? If you want to overcome fear, you must get rid of the unknown. How?
By accepting that somewhere along the way, failure will happen.
Failure is just a matter of perspective. We tend to think that it’s a bad thing but actually it is not. It’s like seeing a glass half-empty or half-full. If you failed, so what?
Instead of grieving, take a look at the things you’ve gained — the lessons you’ve learned. And when you do, you’ll realize that your failure took you one step closer to success.
As Thomas Edison once said, “I failed my way to success.”
2. Fear is Energy, Use It!
If you’re going through tough times, keep in mind that you are not alone. Every entrepreneurs went through the refiner’s fire.
Fear is an energy that you can use as a fuel to move your business forward. When Richard Branson started his company, the Virgin Atlantic, the bank manager came to his house and threatened to shut down his company.
Shocked and terrified, Branson gathered his team together and came up with creative ideas to solve the problem. Of course, it was not easy. But Branson and his team were able to pull it off.
Fear is an energy that you can use as a fuel to move your business forward
As you can see, Branson had two choices: (1) be afraid and let his company slip away or (2) be afraid and use that fear as a fuel to overcome challenges and move his company forward.
He chose the second. And you can too.
3. Find Your True Fear
When we fear, we are admitting to ourselves that there is something bigger than we are — a very crucial point in human development.
You can’t take this opportunity to grow for granted. Fear is a vague word. To overcome fear means finding the monsters that always freak you out.
And then exterminating them. When you say “I’m afraid that my business might fail”, ask yourself: What am I really afraid of?
- Are you afraid because your marketing is crappy?
- Are you afraid because your products or services aren’t competitive enough?
- Are you afraid because your team is not as productive as you thought it would be?
By knowing your true fear and narrowing them down to specific, concrete challenges, you can develop ways on how to overcome each of them. “Divide and conquer” — don’t forget that!
Keep your eyes focused on your goals. Never let fear cloud that vision. As you may have known from experience, your fears are not worth being afraid of.
As David Joseph Schwartz puts it, “Do what you fear, and fear disappears.”
How to Prioritize when Every Task Seems So Appealing
I feel you. As an entrepreneur, every idea is exciting, every task seems so appealing — I’ve been there.
And I’ve also experienced how frustrating it is to be busy doing a lot of tasks every day and then realizing that at the end, you did not actually accomplished anything!
Messed up priorities is actually one of the major reasons why many entrepreneurs procrastinate
Have you ever experienced waking up in the morning knowing that you have a lot of things to do but you don’t know where to start?
Messed up priorities is actually one of the major reasons why many entrepreneurs procrastinate. Don’t worry, we will beat that problem today. Here’s how to do it:
1. Plan Your Day
First things first. When you wake up in the morning, make a list of everything that needs to get done.
Classify your tasks depending on its level of urgency. Keep this list handy so you can refer to it throughout the day.
2. Assess the Value of Each Task
Look at your list and asses the value of each task. Which has more benefits? Which task will help you achieve your short term goals? How about your long term goals?
3. Be True to Yourself
Even machines break down from overuse. Be honest when making a list of your priorities. Be realistic about your capabilities.
Avoid overworking yourself to death.
4. Be Flexible
You can control your day but not 100% of it. When making your priorities, leave some room for flexibility.
You’ll never know, opportunity might come knocking at your door. Take additional tasks as they come and decide whether they’re urgent or not.
Prioritizing is a skill that can’t be learned overnight
Prioritizing is a skill that can’t be learned overnight. As you practice every day, you’ll eventually realize that everything is manageable.
And if your priorities are aligned with your goals, be proud and say, “I’ve accomplished something today!”
There are only two people in this world: (1) the ones who act and (2) the ones who are acted upon. Choose to act and beat procrastination today!
We like to hear from you! Do you have any suggestions on how to overcome procrastination?
Let us know in the comments below!