Haven’t you started YET?
As I addressed in last week’s post, procrastination is a fabulous way to quickly and efficiently derail your success. If this sounds less than appealing, here are some more ways to fight your put-it-off tendencies and, instead, propel yourself forward.
Anticipate the relief of having gotten the task out of the way.
You’re no masochist; of course you’d like to avoid experiencing emotional discomfort.
The problem with procrastination as a strategy for avoiding discomfort is that it inevitably backfires. Delay in addressing a challenging situation very often makes said situation – and the accompanying discomfort – even worse. And even on those very rare occasions when the situation “goes away” if you ignore it long enough, you’ve still been stuck with the anticipatory discomfort. Can you say “lose/lose”?
So rather than get hung up on any negative emotions that may come along with addressing the situation promptly, make the powerful choice to instead focus your attention on the amazing relief you’ll feel to have gotten the damn albatross off your neck. No more looming yuckiness – just a quick swallow of the nasty medicine, and then it’s done and you can relax.
This is a terrific complement to the following strategy.
Focus on the nuts-and-bolts payoff you’re likely to enjoy after having completed the work.
I doubt there’s an entrepreneur alive who has not, at some point, started to work on an important task then gotten distracted by something shinier, easier, or more “fun”. Following the lure of that distraction is, in my opinion, one of the most common and easy-to-misinterpret forms of procrastination out there.
Let’s face it: Getting any sort of notification on your tablet, laptop, or smart phone is a powerful distraction and a great excuse to put off whatever you’re currently working on. However, the fact that you ARE procrastinating on that project may well be an indication that it’s a Quadrant II item: an opportunity that has major potential payoff for your business, even though it often has no deadline associated with it.
So when the sweet siren song of a Facebook notification sounds in your ear, use that as a cue to take a moment and think about what will yield the greater payoff: watching yet another cute puppy video your friend has posted, or completing the project you’re trying to put off until hell freezes over. Which will you save money? Make you money? Enable you to decrease stress and aggravation by outsourcing an activity you stink at?
Keeping your eyes on the positive prize will help you push through any temptation to “get back to this later.”
Here’s a case in point (and a demonstration of why I can write with absolute authority about the sheer stupidity of procrastinating):
One of my Mastermind buddies and I were recently discussing the value of increasing the number of highly qualified prospects on our mailing lists. We had very modest expectations: no risk, fast and easy implementation, low break-even point, high ROI – you know, the usual. ☺
A few days after this conversation, I received an offer from a very successful serial entrepreneur whose mailing list I subscribed to several years ago. He was offering a step-by-step training program on “how to grow your email list”, backed by a 100%, money-back guarantee. Since this particular person has started (and profitably sold) multiple businesses which have generated millions of dollars in revenues, I figured it would make sense to graciously take him up on his NO-risk offer. Easy decision! What’s to procrastinate over?
Unfortunately, I was able to answer that question.
- I’d only planned on going to one major professional-development conference this year, but it turns out I had the opportunity to go to three important ones. That wasn’t in the budget! How can I justify incurring yet another significant, unplanned expense?
- If I go ahead and buy it, what if it’s not as easy to follow his do-it-yourself steps as I expect it to be?
- What if his ideas don’t work in my industry?
As you can tell, I did an excellent job of talking myself out of taking action, even though I knew in my gut that this would be an important step in up-leveling my business. You know: Build a list of the right people, give them what they want and need with outstanding content, make lots of well-earned money. Unfortunately – Oops! – I missed the deadline for signing up for this limited-enrollment program. Can you say, “What were you thinking, Kath?!?”
As it happened, however, the program’s creator inadvertently sent a “Welcome to the program!” email to everyone on his mailing list, not just those who had actually purchased his list-building program. So, to apologize, he re-opened enrollment.
Are you willing to trust that a missed opportunity will come again?
I may sometimes be slow, but I’m not that slow. Although I still didn’t particularly want to afford the program, I realized I’d gotten a pretty firm whap upside the head from the Universe in the form of a second chance that would allow me to correct my earlier procrastination screw-up – as well as a reminder that it won’t always be so easy to dodge the bullet of missed opportunities.
I’ve completed the Introduction and the first module in the program, and I move on to Module 2 tomorrow.
Which of these tactics do you think will work best for you? What sort of success did you have using last week’s tools?
Or haven’t you gotten around to trying any of them yet?
If that’s the sad truth, maybe I can help.
I specialize in showing overwhelmed and distracted entrepreneurs how to identify what’s slowing them down, toss that crap aside, and take purposeful action that WILL move them toward their important goals.
Is that something I can help you with? I don’t know…but wouldn’t it be interesting to find out?
That’s easy to do; we can figure out if each of us is a good fit for the other through a simple, no-risk phone call. The only thing either one of us commits to in that call is a chance to get acquainted enough to confidently say, “Yes, we’re a great fit” or “No, we’re not.”
If that sounds worthwhile, you can set up that get-acquainted call by emailing me with “I’m getting around to it!” in the subject line. We’ll set up a time to talk and see what we see.
(By the way, thanks to BK and Kenny Louie for posting the Ben Franklin quote in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)This entry was posted in effectiveness, productivity and tagged procrastination. Bookmark the permalink.
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