3 Keys to Stop Procrastination
We’ve all done it. Looked at that item on your to-do list and thought??
It’s not really THAT critical??
I’ll do that after I? (have a snack, pick up the kids, take a nap??
Procrastination is a problem as significant as overwhelm, which I believe is the #1 challenge facing entrepreneurs these days.
So what do you do? How do you fight it? Glad you asked 🙂
Here are the 3 keys to stop procrastination:
1. Discover the reason you’re procrastinating.
This can be tougher than it sounds. Basically there are four reasons that we procrastinate:
1. We are uncomfortable with the activity.
No one likes taking out the trash or changing the kitty litter. If you don’t like sales conversations, or networking events, you?re going to procrastinate doing them. This is the simplest and most straightforward type of procrastination, and is rarely the most damaging for entrepreneurs.
2. We are uncomfortable or afraid of the outcome.
In this case, you’re not uncomfortable with the activity itself, but you fear what happens when the activity is complete. You may love writing your book, but what happens when the book is published? It could be criticized, or rejected. For many people, that’s a good reason (although sometimes hidden reason) for them to procrastinate finishing a book or other business project.
3. We aren’t clear how to do what we are procrastinating.
If I gave you the instructions to reach out and call 10 potential referral partners, could you do it? Most of us know how to write an email or pick up the phone, but if you don’t know who to call, or what to say, you’ll procrastinate this activity. You may also have emotions around making these reach outs, but just not knowing how can be an initial stopper.
4. We are missing a tool or component.
If you want to change the screen door on the back of your house, but you don’t have the right tools, or don’t have the new door, every time you think of this activity, you’ll put it off. Because there is an initial step called ‘get equipment.’ Many people procrastinate because they haven’t made sure that they’re starting at step 1.
2. Solve the strategic challenges.
While it may be hard to identify the emotional stoppers, it’s easier to identify the strategic ones. Here are the questions to ask to help you solve those challenges.
- Do I know what each of the steps is, to accomplish this project or task?
- Am I clear on what my first/next step is?
- Do I know how to do each step that comes after that?
- Do I have all the tools or components that I need to accomplish this?
Once you answer all those questions, you’ll be in much better shape to complete a project on time.
3. Reframe the emotional stoppers, or get help with it.
The emotional resistance can be the hardest to identify, and the hardest to overcome. The following questions can help you identify whether there is resistance.
- When I think of doing this, how do I feel? (excited, or anxious, or something else)
- What is the thought that is causing me that feeling? (for example, ‘this will be hard’ or ‘no one wants to talk to me anyway.’
- Can I substitute another thought that might give me a different feeling?
- Is there a particular time of day when this would be easier for me to do? (sometimes we are most powerful during a particular time of day.)
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