We can all fall foul of the procrastination trap, putting something off until another time. But when time is of a premium, entrepreneurs, solo operators and small business enterprises cannot afford to get distracted. If you want to get the results you desire then you need to focus your energy to get the job done – this means living in the moment and not allowing your mind to wander off and distract you from the task in hand. Below are some tips on how to avoid the pitfalls of everyday disturbances and get things done.
The first thing you need to be good at is spotting when you are procrastinating. If you are spending time responding to emails, text messages or surfing Facebook, rather than getting on with the activity then you are procrastinating. If you are leaving an item on your To Do list for too long or waiting for the right time to start a task then you are causing a disruption in your work flow and procrastinating. All of this can be a drain on your energy and you may wonder why you never get things done. Take decisive action and do the following.
Make sure you go to bed early. Yep – this really is important for a lot of things in business. If you get enough sleep you will find that you have more energy and determination to be able to kick-start the day in the right way.
Robin Sharma recommends that successful business people get up an hour earlier. I have to say that when I put this tactic into practice it really makes a difference to the productivity of my day.
Another recommendation from Sharma but also other successful business people like Sir Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey is to exercise daily. By exercising first thing in the morning you release the endorphins that turbo-charge your productivity. Sharma also suggests that you exercise twice a day, in the morning and the early evening so that you get a ‘second wind’ and can be productive in the evening. I have to admit this works wonders but it certainly makes you tired – hence the going to bed early!
Make the task you are putting off the first thing you do that day. Don’t open your email, twitter, Facebook or any other social media until you have completed that task.
Set your timer for 60 minutes and work continuously without interruption – no coffee, no bathroom break, no answering the phone – just focus on your work. Once the time has gone give yourself a work-break of 20 minutes where you respond to some email, make yourself a hot drink etc and then set the timer again for another 60 minute intensive work session.
One of my favourite sayings is ‘a journey of 1000 miles starts with one small step’. Sometimes a project can be overwhelming and as a result you might find yourself putting off starting it. You need to get to grips with project planning so that you can break down a large project into bite-size chunks that makes the work more realistic. Start with the small, quick tasks so that you feel that you have achieved something before moving on to a larger section of the project.
Procrastination can be the kiss of death for a small business if entrepreneurs don’t do enough to keep their own minds focussed and their tasks being ticked off. But if you follow the above recommendations then you should soon be on the path to productivity and you’ll be ready for the challenges that lie in wait.
If you find yourself procrastinating and have been trying to break the habit then we would love to hear from you, so please tell us your views and opinions in the comments section below.