We went into business to be our own boss, earn more money and have the lifestyle we only dreamed about while working for someone else. However, most business owners I speak to complain about:
- working longer hours than they ever imagined
- always having a fire to fight
- worrying where the next customer and dollar will come from
- missing out on events and having very little to no free time.
I find that it’s our bad business habits that get in the way of having a successful business and another bad habit is procrastination – a slow but lethal business and dream-killer.
When it comes to bad business habits, procrastination or consistently choosing to do the wrong tasks, are just as bad as chasing too many rabbits which was also covered in the bad business habits series.
When we procrastinate on the important but non-urgent tasks in our business, it’s normally because we’re afraid.
Deep down, we know the task will help us get more clients, make more money, set us free or help us to be seen, but:
- we’re afraid of the consequences of taking the action – fear of failure and fear of success OR
- we dislike doing the task or find it boring like accounting OR
- we don’t know how to do the task, so we put it off.
Whether we stay busy with the wrong things, do too many things at once or do nothing… the results are always the same. We’re left disappointed in ourselves for not reaching our goals, growing our business or starting to live our dream.
“Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.”
~ CHRISTOPHER PARKER
Bad Business Habits (Part 2) Procrastination
TRACK YOUR TRIGGERS
Procrastination can be triggered by any task that scares you on some level e.g.
You may dread:
- making follow-up calls to potential clients
- calling a client when a problem arises
- developing a new product or service
- preparing quotes
- doing marketing
- making sales calls
- reaching out for help…
So instead of doing the tasks that will grow your business, you do low-level tasks that keep you busy, but also stuck.
Start tracking what triggers your procrastination habits over the next week or month to look for patterns in your behaviour. Once you know this, you can start working on a solution.
- outsource the task
- learn the skills needed to perform the task with confidence and ease e.g. enrolling in sales training or engaging a consultant to help you with a specific business area like marketing
- get accountability to keep you on track – get a buddy or a business coach
- face the underlying fears that keep you from doing the task e.g work on your mindset to address a fear of failure or success.
Popular go-to procrastination habits are checking email, scrolling social media or having a meeting.
KNOW YOUR EXCUSES
Business owners justify their compulsive checking of email and social media feeds by saying “my customers need me”.
Yes, your customers do need you to…
- communicate a problem on a project
- communicate an extended deadline
- send them the quote you said you’ll send ASAP
- improve your customer service, and
- improve your products or services.
Over the next 30 days, identify when and how you tend to procrastinate when you’re trying to do important work. Notice the excuses you use to justify your behaviour to yourself or to others.
Remember, by not doing the important work in your business, you hurt your confidence and your business.
- Note the tasks you struggle to get done
- Pinpoint your go-to procrastination habits when you face these tasks
- Come up with a few simple steps to help you overcome the urge to procrastinate
- Schedule enough time to get the tasks done each day
- Remove all temptations when you sit down to do the work e.g. turn off all notifications during this time.
CLARIFYING QUESTIONS – ASK YOURSELF:
- Which tasks do I regularly avoid doing on a daily/ weekly basis?
- What is my go-to procrastination habit when I’m faced with a difficult task?
- What steps will I put in place to curb this bad habit?
What is your Top Tip for overcoming procrastination? Leave your comment below.
Author: ALICIA MENKVELD | Alicia Menkveld is an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 21 years who loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to small business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy and sales for individuals and teams. Streamline your business to support your lifestyle.