When you fully understand the reason(s) behind your procrastination, you'll know exactly what to do to kick the habit.
Entrepreneurs tend to get down on themselves for putting things off, so when a business owner develops a habit of procrastination, it will eventually damage the business–and the psyche. It's worthwhile to get to the root of this problem, rather than steep in blame and shame.
You may believe you have a time management issue, but you'd be wrong–sort of. Procrastination does lead to time management issues, but that's only a symptom of the bigger picture.
And, nope, it's not laziness; some of my most ambitious, successful clients used to procrastinate (oh, and I've done my share of it too), so it's not that.
What is procrastination? It's usually a stress response, not a time management issue or a blasé faire attitude. We all know that being an entrepreneur can be stressful, and it gets even worse if you're unclear and/or unhappy about your vision and goals.
Procrastination can get out of control.
Have you noticed that the longer you put something off, the more difficult it is to get it done? More things pile on, and you're too deep to climb out before you know it. This results in something called the procrastination accumulation effect. The resulting stress may include feelings of inadequacy, guilt about what is left undone, and fear of failure.
Ok, Marla, I'm stressed out, and I procrastinate. Now what? I have one word for you: Clarity!
Do you know what your vision is? Are you confident about its viability? Do you have a step-by-step plan to achieve your goals? If you don't know where you're going, you can't possibly get there. Of course, you will get lost in some form of procrastination. You may engage in busy work and not use your time efficiently. Odds are, if you haven't gotten really clear on your vision, model, strategy, values, and passion by now, you probably won't. Not until you get qualified help (raising my hand!) to create clarity and a plan.
Procrastination may be a sign that you hate what you do.
One of the leading causes of stress in entrepreneurs is a lack of money, which means they believe they can't afford hiring or outsourcing. You've taken on so much of the work required to keep the business going that you don't have the time to grow your business. It's frustrating that you procrastinate on this tedious work because it's not what you were born to do. It would help if you had clarity here too.
In reality, the savings that you associate with doing the work yourself is an illusion. If you had an extra 20-hours a week to work on growth, could you increase your revenue? Sure, you could. Spend your time focusing on the work that drives profits, and you'll be able to bankroll a part-time person before long.
Self-doubt and fear lead to procrastinative habits.
Fear is at the root of stress-related behavior, including procrastination. If you didn't have anxiety (or perhaps subconscious worries), you would have already achieved your vision or gotten close to it by now, right?
Imposter Syndrome feeds procrastination.
Many entrepreneurs suffer from Imposter Syndrome. Therefore, they procrastinate because it wards off any risk of being exposed to the negative consequences that they perceive as inevitable. Again, this is common and normal–there is nothing wrong with you.
Fortunately, the stigma associated with therapy and coaching has finally shifted. Entrepreneurs understand that they should not be on their journey alone. Whether you work with a coach and/or a therapist, your odds of success will exponentially increase once you believe in yourself and your vision. Let's get to work!