Sometimes, getting started on something can be very hard to do. This is especially true when it’s something you don’t really feel like doing for any number of reasons. As a result you find yourself procrastinating – putting off what you need to be doing.
In small business, time-usage is critical. There is literally no time to waste – there is always something to do. That’s why we’re stopping here to take a hard look at procrastination – what it is, how it is a problem, what causes it, and how it can be overcome.
What is Procrastination?
The human ability to create things that can be done rather than things that should be done is immense and mysterious. The definition of procrastination is:
Putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention. (Dictionary.com)
This is a benign definition, and sometimes procrastination is viewed as a somewhat benign concern – a tolerable inefficiency. However, it is far from harmless. Procrastination can cut deep into the heart of the human spirit. It can stop things from happening, and kill growth.
Signs of Procrastination
The core problem with putting off what needs to be done is this: when things aren’t getting done, no results are produced. This absence of results creates pressure which can weigh heavily, because it’s compounded by the knowledge that the capacity to produce the results is not being utilised.
Because no results are being produced, no momentum is being created. Momentum is all important in sport, life and business.
The product of procrastination is the opposite of momentum – it’s stagnation. This stagnation permeates all aspects of life and removes the joy from everything. The bigger the procrastination, the greater the effect. It applies to any kind of procrastination in any part of life. The greater the avoidance, the more detrimental the effect.
Procrastination can make people feel irritable, listless, joyless, purposeless, lost, low-energy, distracted, and disengaged. It can take you away from the present moment. It’s a real bitch. It also tends to sneak up over time.
Procrastination can create real problems, and the harder you procrastinate, the worse it gets!
More about Momentum
So, why not just get started? Starting can be hard because there is no momentum. It’s like a steam train sitting at the station. None of the parts are moving. It’s going to be tough to get started and then, laborious to continue. It’s a dead weight.
Perception of this challenge of starting can prevent beginning anything daunting at all – it’s easier to just procrastinate! Over time, cracks in this solution start to appear.
Starting the Engine
So how do we get our train moving down the tracks?
First of all, here’s an encouraging reminder of purpose.
With momentum, the train will roll down the tracks and there’s not much that can stand in its way. Obstacles, perceived and real, will be flung from sight as the undeniable force arrives.
In other words, not only can you begin, but beginning is worthwhile.
Secondly, the engine is full of thousands of parts. All of the parts work in relation to each other. They all depend on each other. Perhaps these parts are things you need to do, or complexities that you need to solve. None of them are more important than the heart of the engine – the fire that creates the steam.
No fire – no steam – no movement.
To get yourself moving, you need to fire up. You need to get motivated and get moving. The lethargy, diversions, avoidance. You need to develop momentum!
Fire up with these 6 steps to get started.
1. Start NOW
Why now? Why not tomorrow? Because that’s procrastination!
2. Tell the Truth
Got some convenient half-truths to convince your friends you can’t begin? Be honest with yourself. It’s as simple as realising what you need to do and then doing it.
3. Get Moving
When was the last time you broke a sweat? Create and drive momentum with a shift in your physical routine. Go for a run, walk or swim. It’s possible!
4. Get Perspective
Have you forgotten why you are doing anything? Remember your goals. If you don’t have any, this is a powerful time to create some. Think big. When we procrastinate, we bury our heads in the sand. It’s time to look around and remember who we are and what we’re all about.
5. Take Action
The enemy of procrastination is action. Sometimes we procrastinate because action doesn’t seem to be accessible or meaningful. It always is. Find 3 things you can do straight away and get them done. Momentum begins with small movements.
6. Recognise Results
Momentum is a mystical thing. It’s part reality, part mental. If you don’t recognise your achievements, then you may not be getting the full benefit of them as deposits in your bank of your momentum. Take the time to consider what you’ve done well today or recently. Give yourself a pat on the back.