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Ten Easy Pointers to Help You Put an End to Procrastination
By Victoria Munro

If you find yourself putting off difficult projects that you don’t enjoy, and if these unfinished tasks tend to move forward on your calendar from one day to the next, then procrastination could be costing you money and increasing your stress. There is a solution!

Procrastination carries a high potential for painful consequences. It often produces feelings of guilt, anxiety and discouragement that decrease our productivity and result in missed opportunities, unmet goals and failure to move a business ahead on schedule. Addressing this issue will prove a good investment of your time and energy.

If you suffer from procrastination, you’re not alone. The majority of small business owners face challenges in this area. Being your own boss can make it more difficult to get things done. Because we have no one to answer to for how we spend our time, it’s easy to get sidetracked with “busywork” instead of tackling those unpleasant but important projects in a timely manner.

We have faced challenges ourselves in this area, have worked with scores of other business owners, and have found practical solutions. Below we’ve listed some suggestions that have helped others to beat procrastination and enjoy more peace of mind as they build their businesses.

10 Easy Pointers to Put an End to Procrastination:

1. Acknowledge the problem. Recognize and accept your own strengths and weaknesses.
2. Take a look inside and discover the root cause – the real reason why you keep putting off a job that must be done. Perhaps ask, “What am I afraid of here?” “What is it about this project that I find so difficult?” Or, “What am I trying to avoid here?”
3. Set clear, realistic goals for yourself and always keep them in front of you. When writing goals, it’s important to include all the benefits that achieving them will bring to you and your business.
4. Don’t try to eat the elephant all at once! Break large, challenging tasks down into bite-sized steps that can ideally be accomplished in 30 minutes or less. No matter how much you dislike something, you can cope with almost any task for that long, and you’ll usually find that you get involved in the job and continue for longer. Write out all the necessary steps and add these to your daily plan.
5. Use your time management tool to schedule your day. Prioritize your tasks and block out time on your calendar for those tough tasks first. The rest will then flow more easily.
6. Be aware of your self-talk – make sure you aren’t sabotaging yourself. If you habitually declare, “I’ll never get this done,” or “I’m just lazy,” then that will become your reality. Learn to substitute positive affirmations such as, “I’m going to get started on this project now, and I will finish it on time.” Change your approach and commit to developing a can-do attitude. If necessary, eliminate words like “can’t” and “later” from your vocabulary.
7. Set up a rewards system for yourself. At the completion of a project, promise yourself an immediate reward: a walk in the park, a yummy snack, a favorite TV show. When I started a sportswear business some years ago, I had to make cold calls to set up appointments with buyers I didn’t know who were being called by dozens of other sales reps. It appeared a daunting task, so I decided to reward myself after every three calls with a chocolate kiss. Each time I set an appointment, I took a ten-minute break outside in the sun. It worked! The appointment schedule was fully booked, I had a great season and I built a valuable database for the company.
8. Understand your avoidance strategies and don’t give in to them. If you’re prone to distractions, like checking email every time you hear a new message arrive, close Outlook (or your email editor) and schedule set times to check and respond to emails.
9. Make sure you have an efficient work environment. Make whatever changes are necessary to facilitate maximum efficiency, with everything you need close at hand.
10. Find someone to hold you accountable to do what you committed to do, when you said you’d do it. Set an appointment to meet face to face or over the phone. Ask that they check up on your progress and accept no excuses!

A Note to Perfectionists

Perfectionism often goes hand-in-hand with procrastination. As perfectionists, we sometimes avoid tackling a project because we feel it must be 100% perfect. Because we simply don’t have the time that would take, or we fear that the result may be less than perfect, we have difficulty getting started. We want to do it right or not at all, and we don’t want to face the possibility of making a mistake. It can become a no-win situation.

Acknowledging that you’re human and will inevitably make mistakes, then recognizing mistakes as valuable opportunities to learn really helps. Also, remember that allowing others to see your “humanness” makes you much more appealing and approachable.

Take Action!

Look over the above pointers and make note of changes that would be helpful for you to implement. Don’t allow procrastination to continue stealing your time. Be proactive, put your plans for change in place, and get started now I guarantee you’ll feel terrific about it!

About the Author: Victoria Munro is co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly® LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for small-business owners through creatively designed programs and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different businesses. To receive FREE business success articles with tips to help you with your business, sign up for their award-winning ezine, “In-Flight Refueling,” at:, and receive a free copy of the eBook, Get More Done in Less Time: 101 Quick and Easy Time Tactics & Tips.

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Copyright © 2007 Victoria Munro. All rights reserved.