You’ve just started your business work day and low and behold you quickly discover that the things you wanted to get done didn’t quite make the deadline. After putting in some extra hours you finally get caught up, but this could all be avoided by tackling one word: Procrastination.
Procrastination: To put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done. ~ Webster’s definition
According to an article on CNBC this one word is a hidden cost for businesses with the average employee spending around two hours a day doing non-job related activities. As the CEO of your own venture it can be even more tempting to fill your time with other things while putting off important tasks.
Before getting any further into the new year take an honest assessment of your daily activities and find out what this is actually costing you in wasted hours that could be used in building your business instead.
Procrastination has become a growing problem for both business owners and workers. Marketing expert, Brandon Gaille, outlines 19 statistics in this telling infographic (click on the image to view the full version):
So what is causing us to put things off until the last minute at the risk of hurting our own businesses? Here a are a few reasons to ponder:
- A lifelong habit that hasn’t been addressed yet
- Fear of failure
- Overloading our schedule
- Not setting personal deadlines and boundaries
- No accountability
- Loss of passion for your job or career
- Lack of knowledge
- No energy
- Other distractions such as mobile devices and social media
The fallacy of being lazy as a result of procrastination is just simply untrue. As you can see from some of the issues listed above it is more of a battle within ourselves, and the best way to conquer this is to find the root of the problem and tackle it. Use these simple strategies to become more focused and productive so that you can get more done in less time (and make more money!):
1 – Jump right in
Many times we wait for just the right time or moment in order to get started on something, especially when it comes to writing. Decide to get started the moment you have a deadline, even if you think you may not get it all done. I often surprise myself by how much I’ve accomplished just by taking this approach.
2 – Find a schedule that works for you
Some of us are early risers while others prefer the late night shift. What is the best time of day where you do your best work? If you’re trying to place a strict 9 to 5 schedule on yourself this may not be working for how you are wired. While some businesses require this many who do freelance work can set their own schedules. Create deadlines for projects that fit well into your creative zone.
3 – Enlist of help of others and/or tools
A common cause of procrastination is simply due to the fact that you’ve taken on way too much by yourself. Maybe it’s time to allocate some of your tasks to a freelancer or invest in helpful software or tools that can help you manage your work better? Some of these can also help you be accountable to yourself by setting timers and monitoring your Internet time and usage.
4 – Adjust your environment
If your home office is not the best for you this could be another cause of losing your focus. Try different setups, designs, lighting, and sound control to make it a more productive experience. For example, I like to work next to my dog with classical music playing in the background. This breaks up the monotony and helps me to become more creative with my projects.
5 – Take a break from the action and reward yourself
It doesn’t take much time in your work day to get out of your environment — even if it’s for just 30 minutes. Talk a walk, go grab a cup of coffee, do some simple exercises, read scripture and pray, spend some prep time in the kitchen, ect. Once you return to work you’ll feel refreshed and able to take on what’s next.
You can break the procrastination cycle by focusing on the most important tasks first, and then moving into the easier ones. In order to thrive this year be aware of the areas in your business that are being affected negatively by putting things off then tackle these problems one at a time. Awareness is the biggest key to change followed by daily action to overcome the problem. Sometimes we need an accountability partner to help us along if things have become too out of hand — find someone you can trust who can come alongside you and help you become the leader you were meant to be.
It’s not hard to become an online freelancer or start your own business while working in a full-time job. Just download my free eBook, and get started on your career today: