Overcoming procrastination will bring you joy and increase your bottom line.
Procrastination costs entrepreneurs both energy and money and typically results in one of two outcomes:
- Important tasks are not completed, because they are continually put off until tomorrow. For example, if sales and marketing initiatives do not get done, this affects the amount of money made.
- The tasks are completed, but at a high emotional cost due to the anxiety and stress caused by the procrastination.
Examine both the internal and external consequences of your actions (or lack thereof) in a particular situation to determine procrastination’s effect on your life and business and whether implementing a process for overcoming procrastination is needed. For example, let’s consider what happens if you procrastinate the writing of a report to use as a free opt-in gift on your website. This report is the key to collecting the email addresses of your website visitors that opt-in. These are the potential consequences:
External – you lose the opportunity to connect with potential customers since you aren’t capturing their email addresses.
Internal – this consequence varies based upon the value you put on the external consequence. In this case, if you desire to grow your email list, the internal consequence could be feeling disappointed in yourself for not following through with the creation of the opt-in gift, feeling hopeless because procrastination is a pattern, or worse.
If the internal consequence leaves you feeling bad about yourself, then it’s time to implement a process for overcoming procrastination. Following the five-step Conscious Transformation Process™ will make overcoming procrastination easier for you. The five steps are:
Announce – analyze your procrastination to gain clarity about why, when and how you procrastinate. You may discover some limiting beliefs that need to be released with the help of a coach or use the Transformations Breakthrough Process™ from my website to help you out. Be sure to let go of those limiting beliefs before you move on to the next steps. However, don’t make overcoming procrastination a procrastination technique that keeps you from doing important work!
Once you’ve analyzed your procrastination patterns, determine how you want to BE when procrastination is no longer part of your life. You may want to be productive, energetic, joyful, timely, relaxed, etc. You can use the free Contrast Brings Clearness tool on my website to help you gain clarity about your state of being as a non-procrastinator.
Align – adopt techniques that help you get back into balance when you notice that you are procrastinating. For example, you might use affirmations, visualization or journaling to return to the state of being you identified in the Announce step.
Act – create a productivity plan of action based upon inspiration, incorporating activities that resonate with you. Some example actions that help with overcoming procrastination include:
Start each day with a plan and goals. Decide one thing that you are going to do to be productive that day and be specific. For example, make 10 calls to set up one-on-one sales appointments between 9 am and 10 am.
Create a productive environment. Work in a place where you aren’t distracted, turn off your Internet, or close your office door. Do whatever makes sense for you to be productive.
Set a time limit. If you are working on a large project, decide to just work for one or two hours each day until the project is completed. Or maybe you just need 15 minutes a day. Choose the amount of time that seems right for you to complete your project on time.
Account - track your daily progress in applying the new actions you selected in the preceding step. Download the Daily Accountability Tracking Sheet from the FREE tools page of my website to help with tracking. In the top columns, write your commitments to take certain actions for overcoming procrastination, such as those listed in the Act step above. Monitor your progress for the days that are listed in the rows.
At the end of your work day complete your daily accountability tracking sheet. This step is not meant to make you feel bad if you didn’t take the actions you specified on the tracking sheet, but is to help you learn about yourself so you can ultimately achieve your goal of overcoming procrastination.
If you don’t keep a daily accountability tracking sheet, you can just as easily think to yourself, I’ll start again tomorrow. But then tomorrow never comes, does it? However, if you keep the tracking sheet, you can learn about yourself; maybe the new action was too ambitious, maybe it wasn’t grounded in your values, maybe you need a coach to help you get into action and hold you accountable; this is your opportunity to really analyze why you aren’t taking the actions and do something about it!
Allow - in order to succeed in overcoming procrastination, you must believe in yourself, detach from the outcome and be grateful throughout the process. Be gentle with yourself and when you notice self-critical thoughts, stop those in their tracks and repeat, repeat, repeat your affirmations to get yourself back into alignment.
Don’t forget to reward yourself for making progress and be grateful along the way.
There’s no quick fix for overcoming procrastination, but if you follow these five steps, you will notice a slow but sure transformation from procrastination to productivity.
About the author. Pat Altvater partners with solo entrepreneurs to implement a sales and marketing process and plan that brings them joy and increases their bottom line. She is the author of Choose Success - Ignite the Power Within and President of Transformations Institute. Learn more about perfectionism and procrastination at her blog Patti Perfect’s Perfectionism Blog.