“Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.” – Victor Kiam
Procrastination is a bad habit that plagues many entrepreneurs today. Many business owners unintentionally sabotage their own business as a result of procrastinating. When running a business, time management is a must-have skill if you want to achieve success. Procrastination is one of the main reasons why so many fail to effectively manage their time.
What is Procrastination?
Simply put, procrastination is the habit of putting off tasks that we should be doing now. You delay these tasks and instead do other menial tasks to avoid the ones you should be doing. Unfortunately this can lead to bigger problems down the line.
Why Do We Procrastinate?
There are many reasons why people procrastinate. Some people do it because they are overwhelmed, lack focus, fear failure, or they simply lack motivation. Others do it to avoid unpleasant tasks. Whatever your reasons, procrastination can negatively affect your business in a number of ways.
Some Consequences of Procrastination in Your Business
- Reputational Damage
If you continuously miss deadlines, or don’t deliver on time, your company’s reputation will eventually be tarnished. Nobody wants to do business with a company that has a bad reputation.
- Missed Opportunities
Procrastination often leads to missed opportunities. When an opportunity presents itself, and you wait until the last minute to act, you risk losing that opportunity to another business.
- Poor Decision-Making
Waiting until the last second forces you to make hasty, and often bad decisions which could cost your company.
- Poor Customer Relationships
Procrastination can ruin the relationships you have with your customers. Missing deadlines, not responding to customer queries in a timely manner, and not delivering orders on time can lead to the trust between your business and your customers being betrayed, and the relationship eventually ruined.
Overcoming procrastination is a challenge for many, but it is possible. Below are a few tips to help you get out of the procrastination trap and move forward.
Tips to Overcome Procrastination
- Become Aware
Make a conscious effort to pay attention to procrastination. Notice when you have an intention to complete a task, but don’t follow through. Also take note of the excuses you give yourself for not starting or completing tasks. Identify your most commonly used excuses or self-deceptions. We sometimes overestimate the difficulty of a task. Getting started can change our perception.
- Break it Down
Nobody can concentrate for hours at a time on a single task. Break big tasks down into smaller, more manageable parts.
Social media can be the enemy of productive work. If you find yourself constantly distracted by the endless supply of entertainment and social media, go offline and work without distraction when you have a big task to complete.
- Don’t Wait for the Perfect Moment
Don’t put off something that needs your attention, even if you’re not in the mood. All you have to do is get started. Starting is often the biggest step.
- Know your Power Hour
If you’re a morning person, tackle your most tedious tasks in the morning when you are most productive.
- Set an Artificial Deadline
If a project is due on Tuesday, then set an artificial deadline for Monday. This will force you to tackle the project sooner, and you won’t have to rush it at the last moment.
- Streamline Processes with Commercient SYNC
Use technology to reduce your workload, simplify your tasks and streamline dreaded jobs. Commercient offers apps like SYNC that can connect your information systems, and give you a 360 degree view of sales, marketing, and much more.
Procrastination is a deterrent that sabotages our own efforts. Overcoming it is essential if you want your business to succeed. Start by recognizing that you are procrastinating, get organized, and then find a method that works for you.
About the Author
Anna Kinnear is a Sage Financials Consultant at Edgeware, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting Science from the University of South Africa. She has always had a passion for reading and writing.