Procrastinate Differently To Achieve Your Goals In 3 Simple Steps02-Jan-2009 In the beginning, those three magic words, “work from home” were music to your ears. But just lately, you’ve noticed (maybe with a sinking feeling?) that this has transformed into “What work? I love being at home!” or “Oh yes, work… I’ll do that after I hang out the washing, do some more research and meet my networking group for lunch.”
Days go by, weeks go by, and still, you may be no closer to achieving your business goals! This rather insidious habit goes by the name of procrastination. When you had a job, there was less opportunity to procrastinate, as your boss, your peers and your customers kept you focused on the task at hand.
As a business owner, freedom of choice can be your biggest opportunity or your biggest challenge. For many, the problem is that those tasks you are now avoiding still need to be done if you are to run a successful business!
The bad news? Unless you can overcome procrastination and discover the secrets to taking profitable action, everyday, you’ll be back in a JOB before you know it! The good news is that there are some simple but powerful secrets to taking control of your time and energy. But first, let’s bust a major myth…
Contrary to what some people will tell you, overcoming procrastination is not about willpower or positive thinking. Procrastination comes about because our mental programming is hardwired in a faulty way. In effect, you become ‘paralyzed’ by deep-seated limiting beliefs and habits which are subconsciously influencing your willingness to undertake a specific task. Trying to ‘talk yourself into’ doing something that you don’t want to do is one of the least effective ways of achieving your goal – just try it!
So what does procrastination look like up close? It’s a habit. It’s a fear. It can be played out as resistance, resentment or rebelliousness. You are probably feeling stressed, guilty or even ashamed about what you haven’t done. You may be terrified to start, or, you may be terrified to finish! You may use it as a way of avoiding change or discomfort. You may tell yourself you ‘work better under pressure’. Whatever your specific symptoms may be, I am sure that the pain is using you! Wouldn’t you rather use this pain productively to achieve beyond your wildest imaginings? It’s time to release the pain!
Choose a task which is very important to your business success, but which you have been avoiding. Here are three simple but powerful steps to getting this task done. Imagine the sense of relief you will feel knowing you no longer have to think about it!
Step 1: Connect the Dots – Link Your Pain to Your Pleasure!
You are in business for a reason. Do you remember the burning passion you had at the beginning? Are you still focused on your ‘big-picture’ goals? If not, you need to reconnect strongly with the dreams that provide you with the fuel, the fire and the desire to run your own business.
Once you are clear on your purpose, connect the procrastination task clearly with your big goals. Specifically, how will this task help you achieve these goals? When you have a strong enough motivator, it is easier to overcome resistance. Your procrastination task needs to become the fuel for your fire!
Step 2: Recognise Your Limiting BeliefsThe building blocks of procrastination are habits and beliefs which are often based on common fears such as:
• Fear of failure
• Fear of success
• Fear of embarrassment / looking stupid
• Fear of feeling inadequate
• Fear of being imperfect etc…
There are some excellent techniques available for getting to the bottom of these and then resolving them so that you are no longer controlled by your past habits. For now, ask yourself the following questions:
What is the pay-off for me in avoiding this task?
What are the three biggest obstacles to starting/completing this task?
What is the absolute worst thing that can happen to me if I start/complete this task?
From the answers to these questions, you will start to see how your habits and beliefs are controlling your actions. Changing these habits, feelings and beliefs is a choice. Your choice! Do you want to live in freedom or in slavery? Aim to get tough on your bad habits, and kinder on yourself...
Step 3: Chunk It! (AND Think Outside The Box…)Break your task down into as many small actions as you can. List them down a page and then procrastinate differently…
- Is this action essential to the outcome? If not, get rid of ‘busy work’.
- Can I delegate this task to anyone? Find someone who can do it faster or better, or who would appreciate the experience!
- Can I outsource this task to anyone? Paying to alleviate pain is smart!
- Who can give me some support? A coach, a mentor or a support buddy will keep you focused.
- In ten minutes, could I complete any part of this task? If so, do it now!
What happens next? I’ll leave the last words to management guru Peter Drucker: “The best way to predict the future is to create it." In other words... it's up to you!