Abraham Lincoln said it best – “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
That pretty much sums it up. No matter how much you procrastinate, you will NOT be making things easier for yourself. What needs to be done, MUST be done.
If you are an entrepreneur who wishes to build a successful business, there will be a plethora of tasks ranging from the mundane to the challenging. You will have to get them done one way or another.
Procrastinating the tasks that are important will only delay your success and reduce the amount of time available for you to get the job done. So it’s best to get it over and done with.
- Why do we procrastinate?
You may notice that we often procrastinate on the most important tasks. If you are a writer, sitting down to write may be the most difficult task of the day. You may rearrange your folders, do research, create storylines, etc.
You will do everything EXCEPT write.
The same applies to most people in the creative arts or those who are running a business and have tons of important work.
We procrastinate because our minds view these tasks as ‘painful and uncomfortable’. So our minds conjure up excuses and we find other activities to do.
The illusion of being busy fools us into thinking that we are doing important work. We are not. Important work is important work – and it is the one we are shirking.
- Do what matters first
The best way to overcome procrastination will be to complete the tasks you are dreading FIRST. Get them done and out of the way. The moment you do that, you will feel like a load is off your shoulders.
You will then have a sense of accomplishment and will breeze through the rest of the tasks. This is definitely better than doing the easier tasks and when you are tired, you still have the important ones you are dreading to get through.
Procrastination will make you tell yourself that you will do it tomorrow and this insidious cycle will repeat itself.
- Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
The best way to convince yourself to get the job done will be to come to terms with the fact that the task is not pleasant. But you are an entrepreneur, right?
This is par for the course. You need to get the job done. Don not think too much about it and follow the Nike slogan – JUST DO IT.
You have a choice in the matter here. No one is forcing you to do anything. Once you realize that you choose to do the difficult work instead of being forced to do it, you will get comfortable being uncomfortable.
With time, you will get better at being self-disciplined.
- Give yourself 5 minutes
No matter how much you dread a task, make a promise to yourself that you will just do it for 5 minutes. If you are not in the mood after that, you can stop.
Very often, the biggest hurdle is getting started. Once you actually begin working on the task, you will become absorbed in it and the time will fly… and you will complete it efficiently.
Giving yourself that 5 minutes will prevent your mind from being overwhelmed. It is a simple trick that works. Anybody can do something for 5 minutes. So, you will start… and after that, you will keep going.
If you are really not in the mood for it, then stop. Come back to it later and try again for another 5 minutes and see how it goes. It is a very powerful technique to get you used to do what you’re dreading and avoid procrastination.
- It doesn’t really get easier
With time, you will procrastinate less because your self-discipline has increased. However, as you take on more challenging goals, your tasks will be more formidable. This is to be expected.
You may once again occasionally encounter situations where your mind tells you to procrastinate. But you are wiser now… and know what is at stake.
Apply the 5-minute technique and do what you have to. If you ever procrastinate on one day, make sure you get the job done the next day. NEVER procrastinate 2 days in a row.
It is very easy to slip into a state of inertia where you lose the mood to do any work and your business starts spiralling downwards. Procrastination is the thief of time. Do not let it steal your time and dreams. Send it packing every single day.
- The daily list
Before leaving the office each day, or if at home, before leaving your workspace, make the list of tasks for the following day, placing the most important at the top and working down from there.
If you have any tasks left over from the day, list them as such. As you complete a task, mark it as done.
Should you see the same task appearing day after day, psychologically we tend to complete that task quickly, as we feel a little guilty transferring it day after day.
Sometimes those are of the important tasks we have procrastinated on, and it is just another check to complete them swiftly.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
Alex J Nagel
June 06 2022