Procrastination is like that friend who tends to bring out the worst in you. The guy or girl who always says things like “just skip that so we can go to the bar” or “trust me, we have plenty of time to do this tomorrow. I’ll help you. I promise. ” You live in the moment and then realize that the person was no friend at all and had no intention of helping you later. They made your life harder, not easier. That’s procrastination.
It’s hard to play from behind. Once you start getting behind, catching up seems damn near impossible. You skip working out for a month and then think about how painful it will be on that next workout. You watch 100 e-mails become 1,000 e-mails in your inbox and decide that maybe you want to bring back the hand written note. Who doesn’t like a personalized touch anyway? When we get behind, our first instinct is to shut down. Our focus then becomes trying not to worry about it.
It’s natural to want to shut it down when you get behind. Seeing a pile of work that needs to be done is overwhelming. However, at some point, you are going to have to pay your debt.
We all get behind at times. The question is not if procrastination will happen but when. If you find yourself getting behind, here are some things to do to get on the right track and stay on the right track.
- Do an activity inventory for yourself
Sometimes you need to take a step back to take a step forward. If you find yourself getting behind, carve out time to assess everything that needs to be done. Then divide those items into what you will commit to doing and what you won’t commit to doing. You may realize that you have a lot of outstanding items that you have no business doing at all. So don’t do them and see item number four below.
- Set Objectives
If everything is important in your business then nothing is. Using the excuse of not having time is just that, an excuse. We all have the same amount of time to play with. What separates the highly productive from the frantic is in being proactive with how that time is chosen. Identifying your most crucial activities that you will commit to work on is essential.
- Create Time and Space
For your important activities, create time and space on your calendar to get these things done. If you don’t make the time, someone or something else will make it for you. If you know that you have created the time to get something done, you have won half the battle in your mind.
Most serial procrastinators suffer from rugged individualism. They want to do everything themselves. What good is a team if you don’t utilize it? Get your team involved in the high level work that needs to be done in your business.
I am not going to lie to you and tell you that you will never get behind again on your work. The good news is you don’t have to get it all done tomorrow. Put down the drink. Stop biting your nails and start taking the little steps listed above that will help you be massively productive now, keep more current, and stress free in the future.