We all procrastinate to some extent or other. It is human nature. But understanding WHY you are procrastinating on a particular task can help you put strategies in place to get it done and move forward (after all you can’t steer a parked car…)
1) Lack of motivation
You know you should but you can’t face it. Everything feels more important this right now. The accounts can wait. Sound familiar?
- First step is to CHANGE THE LANGUAGE. How different does it sound to hear “I MUST or I WILL do the accounts today’? This instantly reprogrammes the brain and puts it in the driving seat.
- Secondly, the task will take your time which is precious so what would give this task value to you? What would the reward for getting it done be, and make the time spent worth it? Could you finish early today and go for a run or treat yourself to something once it’s done?
- Some of the tasks involved in running your own business are dull. No two ways about it. So how can they be made more fun? After all you have the huge advantage of being the boss. An afternoon of admin can vanish in a happy cloud of smug-inducing productivity whilst listening to your favourite music, catching up on a useful podcast or even having a well-loved film playing in the background.
- The good old 2 minute promise is always a great way to just get started. Don’t want to go for that run….just two minutes and you can stop. Don’t want to sort out those invoices….just two minutes and the rest can wait. Starting is almost always the hardest part and when you get cracking you’ll want to see the job done.
- If in doubt roll out the tomato!! The Pomodoro technique (named after the tomato shaped kitchen timer) is a great way of chunking down a task and getting it done as efficiently as possible. The theory is simple. Decide on the job to be done and break it down into manageable tasks. Set a timer to 25 mins Work on the task. End work when the timer rings and take a short break (5 minutes for a cup of tea). Tackle the next task and when you have tackled 4 of them take a longer break (15–30 minutes) and see where you are at. Then go again. Simple but it works. Try https://tomato-timer.com
- Will doing this now save you time, effort and tears next time?? So often we go the long way round the seemingly huge obstacle, like the printer running out of ink, only to find that every time we need to print we are taking three times as long with ten times the angst than if we had taken the time to solve the root cause by replacing the cartridge.
2) The wrong goal
Sometimes the reason we don’t want to do something is because it is the wrong goal for us.
- Check the language as above.If you can’t easily change it to I will or I want to then why not? Whose desire is it and what do you ACTUALLY want to do? Reframe it in a meaningful way for you.
- Look past the task. Procrastination happens because we value doing one thing more than another. So create a greater value in the task. What will completing this unwanted task give you? What do you stand to gain? What if filing those 1000 photographs meant you could show your grandchildren your life together. What if making that call could mean you could go on that holiday next year? What if filing that tax return meant you could go out on Saturday night without a care in the world and spend the £100 you’ll save on being fined for not doing it! Change the goal, change the mindset, change the results.
3) A genuine blockage
Sometimes we procrastinate because it genuinely feels as if we can’t move forward. Like we are stuck. Generally this comes down to a limiting belief that we hold about ourselves. And they can be challenging to get past. Working with a coach can help. And so can taking some time to see if the evidence actually exists or whether you have created it. Why can’t you do it? How do you know? Have you tried? What facts do you have that mean you can’t do it? What evidence might you find to suggest you can? What would happen if you tried? What is the worst thing that can happen? How do you feel about proving the world wrong and trying, right now? Are you certain that actually you don’t feel that you have more to gain by NOT doing it (often the case where there is a fear of failing)
And it can be helpful remember that this is your business. Your success story. It is up to you how it unfolds. No one is making you do this, you are in control and can choose what to do and what not to do. After all, at the end of the day it is you those decisions will affect.