Topping my axis of evil list for business is procrastination. This activity, or lack thereof, is a pure poison with no purpose other than to add stress and anxiety to humans, including the builders of big dreams and future success stories, entrepreneurs like us.
So how does such an ugly topic make my blog this week? Well it started with my important list of things to do staring at me this morning at 8 AM. And by 2 PM it was still starring and the list had no fewer items on it.
Translation. I had a case of Sunday procrastination fever!!!!!! No temperature. No chills and not an ache in my body, just a million reasons why I should delay, postpone and not do my tasks.
Since I’ve suffered from this evil behavior before, not as a chronic offender, but as an occasional one—I knew just what to do—find that book by Edwin C. Bliss; Doing it Now: how to cure procrastination and achieve your goals in 12 easy steps, immediately. I keep a special stash of classic remedy books on hand. I recommend you do too.
Here’s my reference, remedy book list, including Doing it Now
Stress for Success, by James E. Loehr
Working Wounded, by Bob Rosner
Your Erroneous Zones, by Wayne W. Dyer
The Book of Answers, by Carol Bolt
When Smart People Fail, by Carol Hyatt and Linda Gottlieb
How to be Happy, Dammit, by Karen Salmansohn
I’ve read them all at least 10 times. Each one is a quick fix for just about any business and life drama, stress and or a progress hold up like I was experiencing today.
While I love all of these reads, none really introduce anything I don’t already know. But they do refresh my sometimes memory-challenged brain on how to change habits. Which procrastination is one of those bad boy habits that creeps back uninvited.
So you or I don’t dilly dally anymore today and get to the important things we know we need to do, I’m going to make my list of procrastination tips as direct as possible.
1) Know why you are procrastinating. This is an important 1st step. And then take corrective actions RIGHT NOW.
Fatigue – take a nap
Distraction – change your environment
Fear of failure or success – change the story in your head. Failure or success should not be feared but welcomed. They are both vital in achieving progress and goals.
Lack of information – get the data
Conflicting priorities – make decisions or get clarity from others who gave you the task
2) Have a reality chat with your self.
Remind yourself (out loud) that delaying stuff can quickly triple your stress and anxiety. So if you think doing the task is uncomfortable now, you haven’t felt anything yet. Which can have serious consequences, clients can bail, employees can quit and cash flow can significantly be impacted.
3) Raise your energy level not your alcohol level.
Eat right, exercise, take a walk and breathe correctly so you get the oxygen you need. Don’t pig out on comfort foods, like 3 servings of Mac and cheese, don’t nap too much or hydrate with wine, whiskey or other adult beverages. This will just keep you in la la land, you need to return to reality.
4) Back into an overwhelming project by breaking down the goals into a step-by-step micro plan of activities. And limit the amount of time to work on them, i.e., 30 minutes, 1-hour.
This is much easier than it sounds. The detail or process map will zap away that “OMG it’s soooo big” and transform it into a bite size, breeze through, and manageable list of much easier tasks. General, vague goals will appear much bigger than they are and can overwhelm you quicker.
Example-Old way (Vague and too general)
Create new product for Oddpodz
Example-New micro, bite-size way
- 1 hour limit, Evaluate current product, what’s selling now?
- Set product deadlines
- Select three new titles
- Write product goal, one a day
- Write product outline, one a day
- Handoff for proofing
- Write sell copy for estore
- Post in store
- Promote to a niche on Linkedin
- Tweet about
- Create a banner ad
5) Create a balance sheet of pros and cons.
Write two lists, one with all consequences of delaying the action item and the second one with the benefits of doing the activity now. Print 10 copies and post them everywhere.
Here’s to a productive day!
And next time you are considering procrastinating, just delay it, put it off for now.