Procrastination is universal, although some do it more than others. Even successful entrepreneurs do it. Maybe it’s because the upcoming task is unpleasant. Maybe they’re just feeling lazy. Whatever the reason, they find a way to work through it. The good news is, their efforts can be replicated. Here are a few things you can do to stop procrastinating.
- Be Accountable to Yourself and Others
- Be Self-Aware
- They Break Tasks Down
- Remove All Distractions
Accountability is a strangely effective motivator. It may seem as though, as an entrepreneur, you are free to simply ignore your responsibilities. However, that is usually not the case. The fact that it’s your idea and your start-up can motivate you to push past your laziness and get to work.
There are plenty of ways to make yourself accountable, from writing goals down, creating a daily to-do list, and setting reminders and alarms on your phone. For the more creatively minded, you can place notes in different places, like in your lunch box or wallet. The notes can remind you to do things, or they can ask if you’re finished with a certain task. There is an element of guilt in this, but this kind of guilt can be useful, especially if it relates to something you should be doing in the first place.
Accountability doesn’t end with you. You can also use others to help beat procrastination. If you tell people about your goals, you’ll feel guilty when you’re not working toward them. It’s best to tell friends and family; it is less awkward than talking to strangers, and the emotional connection will inspire you to work harder.
The most subtly dangerous thing in the world is a lack of self-awareness. You can’t begin solving a problem if you don’t know it’s there. You also can’t solve the problem if you don’t know why it’s there.
Developing self-awareness requires introspection and honesty. In the name of keeping your confidence up so you can perform at your best, you may choose to ignore your weaknesses. But you must be honest if you want to improve. Find out why you’re procrastinating. Ask yourself what’s holding you back. Are you lazy? Are you afraid? If the latter, are you afraid of failing or of the consequences of failure?
Procrastination can be the result of facing down a massive task. It’s hard to get up in the morning when what you have to do seems impossible. Facing a goal such as breaking into a highly competitive market can take the wind out of your sails.
You can get through this wall by breaking things down into more manageable tasks. Creating a successful start-up seems insurmountable. However, choosing a name is a simple task. Finding the right employees is easier than creating a profitable company. Start small and build on those small victories. They’re easier to handle mentally and emotionally, and give you a clearer idea of what you need to do.
Distractions are deadly. They keep you from focusing on your entrepreneur-related tasks. YouTube seems harmless, until you realize it takes up most of your day. When you realize you’re using social media to procrastinate instead of work, it’s time to get rid of it.
There are plenty of tools available that temporarily block distracting sites. Other tools block specific parts of these sites, like the newsfeed, so you can still work on them. It may seem an extreme measure, but it’s effective. Take this approach with any and all distractions, and leave yourself no choice but to work.
The word “quit” is anathema to many entrepreneurs. No one ever achieved success by quitting, so they’ve taken the word out of their vocabulary. They’ll push on when many others would have turned their attention elsewhere. Unfortunately, there are situations wherein quitting is the right call.
Some projects just turn sour. Just because you put money and effort into them doesn’t mean you have to finish them, especially when they no longer give you the advantage or benefit you seek. Pushing on a project that seems doomed can make your efforts feel pointless. Think about why you’re procrastinating about something, and whether it’s because you could be working on something that is more likely to work out.
Procrastination seems harmless, until it makes you late for an important meeting or causes you to miss a deadline. Every moment you pass on work is an opportunity for the competition to get ahead. Do whatever you can to fight off the urge to procrastinate.