by Ranka Burzan
Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.
The costs of procrastinating can be higher than we may think. According to Pies Steel, a human resources professor at the University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business, 95 percent of us procrastinate at times, while 25 percent of us are chronic offenders, who procrastinate in every area of life. Each year, thousands of businesses fail, adversely affecting people’s financial situations and forcing them to settle for less than they deserve. In many cases, this could be avoided if business owners became more proactive participants in their businesses, and here procrastination may play a part.
There are two types of procrastination.
The first type is deliberate procrastination:
“I’m going to wait until tomorrow; I don’t need it until Wednesday.”
This I-work-better-under-pressure attitude backfires and seldom works. By
postponing decisions, we eliminate our choices and set ourselves up for
The second type of procrastination is productive procrastination.
This kind is more deceptive. We are busy doing mundane chores, instead of doing
what will bring us more clients and revenue. You have to make a few
calls, but do everything possible to avoid it.
Suddenly your filing system needs purging, your furniture needs dusting, and a friend calls about that sale you were discussing. At the end of the day, you happily cross off your to-do list. But it’s a false sense of accomplishment, for you are no closer to your goal of making your business more successful.
Many of us fear failure, which is linked to perfectionism. It is hard to motivate yourself if you are not able to do something well. It is difficult to approach a potential client if you don’t have confidence, or you feel overwhelmed, tired, and defeated before you even start.
Sometimes, though, we procrastinate because we are afraid of success. It goes something like this: “If I succeed in my business, I’ll have to travel and leave my kids. I’ll have to work 24 hours a day to keep up. I might as well stay small so I don’t have to think about the many steps required if I grow.”
This is also the fear of the unknown. There are many reasons that we procrastinate, but to succeed we need to move into action. My favourite quote from Og Mandino is “Action will destroy your procrastination.” What do you need to do to move into action?
There are steps to follow that will move you closer to active participation. The first step is identifying what you REALLY want. Learn everything you can, then line up what you need to do a good job: your resources, your time frame, and reward system.
Ask yourself this question: “Do I really want to do this project, or am I feeling pressured by something or someone?” When we are pressured to do a project that we find hard or boring, we resist until it becomes unbearable. Eventually, we quit, leaving ourselves disappointed.
I’d like to suggest taking time to create a simple plan of action. Whatever project you decide to do, big or small, break it down into manageable, small steps and work at it every day for at least 30 minutes.
Remember also, put a deadline on your project, so procrastination doesn’t get a chance to take hold.
Take time to create a beautiful and functional environment in your home or office, a place you love and one that is welcoming to your family, friends, and clients.
If your office looks like a public storage space, you will avoid working there. Making our space more attractive and functional will put us on the road to being more motivated and productive