Would you consider yourself to be a procrastinator? If so, you aren’t alone. Studies suggest that “Twenty percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators.”
At one time or another, we’ve all been guilty of putting things off in business. However, according to Psychology Today, “there are many ways to avoid success in life, but the most sure-fire just might be procrastination. Procrastinators sabotage themselves. They put obstacles in their own path. They actually choose paths that hurt their performance.”
In the interest of getting you where you want to be in this lifetime, here are five tried-and-true tips to help you stop procrastinating and start taking action.
1. Remember: Done is better than perfect.
It’s time to get the company website redesign completed or send out the direct mailer you’ve been talking about. Get that project done, make the sales call or launch the event … even though you’re not totally ready yet! Nobody cares, or will probably even notice, that everything is not 100 percent perfect, but if you keep procrastinating nothing will get done. Then you’re guaranteed to never get it perfect, because you never started in the first place.
2. Take note of where you stop.
When you’re working on company projects, or whatever you’re pretending to work on (i.e. busy work), where exactly do you stop? Is it when you have to do research? Make the scary sales call? Figure out how to raise money? Right after you start? When you have to commit? When it started getting good? Right before it takes off? Before you even get out of bed?
If you can pinpoint the exact moment in which you get a serious case of procrastination fever, you can immediately train yourself to say “Screw it!” — ultimately preparing yourself to hit the proverbial oil slick without actually slipping and falling.
3. Make a bet with someone mean.
A good way to make yourself accountable and prevent procrastination is to make a bet with someone who will hold you to it.
My friend Tara and I did something similar; although it was to prevent the consumption of adult beverages for 90 days. It wasn’t that either of us were alcoholics or that we had spent excessive amounts of money on it, but we wanted to find reason and purpose by defining who we are as people.
You want to make a bet with the kind of person that will make you feel humiliated and never let you live it down, in the unlikely event that you don’t follow through. And make sure you bet against something, or for something, that is not too painful to lose. Money is always a good motivator, for me at least. In any case, you will want to make sure that you take the bet seriously and that the payoff is worth it. In this case, “I’ll buy you dinner” won’t cut it.
4. Stop with the busy work, already.
If you’re the kind of person who blows everything off until the last minute, and you know this for certain about yourself, why waste your time freaking out about all the things you have to do? Go to the beach, have a cocktail, and when the pressure’s on … just started grinding it out.
There is nothing worse than to pretend to spend time doing something, when you’re actually just screwing off on Facebook or Sudoku puzzles. Instead, figure out how much time you need to do something, set a timer when you start doing it and when the timer goes off — stop. Keep it simple.
5. Love yourself.
Right now, wherever you’re at in life. Love yourself. Give yourself proof that what you are doing is working by rewarding yourself when you meet or exceed a certain goal. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but be sure and celebrate it.
Austin Roberson is the CEO of GrowSocial, a Kansas City-based marketing firm that provides startups and small businesses with economical and non-traditional solutions to the complicated world of online marketing. Want more stuff like this? Click here and get access to my 7 Day Entrepreneur Boot Camp. You’ll get access to our most coveted secrets, including how to leverage the power of the internet for your startup or small business.
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