10 Ways to stop procrastinating and boost profits

I once knew someone who was a master procrastinator.  He loved procrastinating. He procrastinated too long in submitting a proposal that could turn around his business. On the due date he realized his mistake, and quickly compiled the proposal.  Then he found out that a courier service would take 24 hours to deliver the proposal.  This would mean his proposal would be late.  In the end, he personally flew to a neighbouring country to submit it on time!  Needless to say, because his proposal was hastily slapped together, he was not awarded the contract.  He had however, wasted a whole lot of time and money.

Although this is an extreme example, procrastination can lead to all sorts of problems in a business.  We all procrastinate at some time or other.

Is there any way to overcome procrastination?  Some ideas are listed below:

  • Say to yourself:  “I can do anything for 15 minutes.”  Often starting a task is the most difficult part.  Once you are in motion, it is easier to stick with it.
  • Do the task you dread doing first thing in the morning. Not only will it be behind you, but you will have a pleasant feeling of accomplishment all day.
  • Work with the time available to you.  (Procrastinators tend to have an unrealistic perception of time).  If you estimate that a project will take 10 hours to complete, break it up in to manageable pieces.  Write down each detail of the project, so that when you have a 5 minute break, you can quickly scan the tasks and make a phone call, or schedule an appointment, etc.
  • If you really don’t have time for a task, rethink your priorities.  If something is important enough to you, you will find the time to do it, even if it means getting up 30 minutes earlier in the mornings to fit it in.
  • You don’t always have to start at the beginning of a project. Sometimes starting in the middle makes it easier to go back to the hardest part.
  • Set small deadlines for yourself, and reward yourself after reaching each deadline.  After the project is completed, you can have a bigger reward.
  • Ask yourself if there is a simpler way to do it.  You could be making the task more difficult than it is.
  • Ask yourself what the worst is that could happen if you do the task.  A day enjoying the fruits of your productivity is better than a day wasted thinking how you’d feel about doing the work the next day.
  • Tell someone else what your deadline is.  Being accountable to someone else is often enough motivation to get it done.
  • Remember you are not the only person that can do the job well.  You can delegate it or hire someone else to do it for you.

What works for you?  If you have any good tips on overcoming procrastination, please share them with us in the comment section below!

11 reasons why we procrastinate

Procrastination is putting off tasks that you can do today.

Confucius says:  Do not do today what you can do tomorrow.

In running a business, this is a very sad state of affairs!  The results:

  • Missing opportunities to get new clients and build relationships
  • Customer dissatisfaction
  • Missing deadlines
  • Missing out chances to take your business to the next level
  • Less profit (if you’re lucky enough to even make a profit while procrastinating!)

A blog post on how not to lose employment states: “Making up lame excuses, even when there may be the slightest reality in it, will never justify the work undone.”

Do you procrastinate?

  • Do you often wait until the last minute to start a project?
  • Do you often put off making a decision about something?
  • Are you waiting for “the right time” to make that dreaded phone call, confront a lazy employee, or to prepare for your sales presentation?

Procrastination leaves us with an uneasy feeling of doom somewhere in the future.  Our productivity levels are impacted, because we cannot focus on the tasks at hand, knowing there is something we should do but we are avoiding.  Yet at some time or other, we are all guilty of procrastinating.

We know that procrastination is something to avoid, so why do we procrastinate?

Some reasons we procrastinate:

  • We feel overwhelmed (often because of an overload of information/details)
  • We get distracted
  • We think the task is more difficult than it is
  • We think the task will take more time than it does
  • Fear of success. If you complete it successfully, will you be able to keep up the momentum?
  • Fear of failure.  What if it is not good enough?
  • We’d rather be doing something else.
  • We hope if we wait long enough, the problem will go away.  The project will be cancelled, the employee will suddenly become productive, etc.
  • We want to do it perfectly.
  • We don’t want to assume responsibility.  After all, if I don’t do something, I cannot be criticised for it, can I?
  • We claim to enjoy the last-minute adrenaline rush.  We claim to thrive under pressure.

Can you identify with any of the above reasons?  Are there additional reasons you procrastinate?  Please share them with us below!