Procrastination has absolutely nothing to do with wasting time.
It’s true, and I know it seems unbelievable, because after all, when you procrastinate, time is exactly what you waste. But that is not the purpose of it. And the key to being able to stop procrastinating, is to understand why you do it...
You see, everything that you do has a positive intention. Literally everything! And so the first step to cutting out procrastination, is to understand what that intention is.
So, why? Well, 99 times out of a hundred, the reason that you do it is because procrastination is the physical manifestation of fear; in other words, you're trying to protect yourself from exposure to perceived danger - physical and/or emotional. And there's your positive intention.
Still not convinced?
Then, ask yourself: Have you ever spent the day doing unimportant jobs, like scrolling through social media, tidying your desk, or filing emails, when you have important sales calls to make that could make a significant difference in your career or business? Or have you ever spent an evening watching TV or surfing the net, when you knew you should be spending time on personal development or an important project? And how about perfecting, and re-perfecting your products or services rather than just getting them out to market?
If you're still reading, then I'm guessing you have. And, in each instance, you avoid doing the thing that is most important, because you’re afraid. Afraid of those phone calls in case you have to face objections and rejection; worried you’ll never reap the rewards of that big project, because they seem so distant and elusive; or anxious that your imperfect product or service will draw criticism and ruin your reputation.
So let’s take each of these examples in turn.
1. You’re Afraid of Objections and Rejections
The quickest way to overcome this feeling is to change your beliefs. So instead of allowing your mind to go crazy about how people won’t want to hear from you, won’t like what you have to say, won’t be interested in your products/services, and so on, just pay attention to the whirlwind in your mind and CHOOSE to think something else instead.
And it’s not a lie. At least no more of a lie than you were already telling yourself. It’s a belief. An empowering one. And, simply going into an uncomfortable situation, with this mindset, will enable you to be much more confident and comfortable in the interaction. What’s more, if you’re likely to be dealing with objections, then consider what the most common issues are likely to be, and pre-prepare compelling responses so that you’re not caught on the hop.
2. The Rewards Seem too Distant or Abstract
This is an incredibly common problem and one that can be fairly easily dealt with. Firstly, by setting smaller journey goals, that can be achieved along the way.
So, how about chunking down the work that needs to be done, and rewarding yourself each week that you stay on track? You could have a massage, go out for a nice dinner, or even buy yourself something special. The key here though, is to link it to completion of this most important task, and not taking the reward if you have not achieved it.
The second thing you should do, is work on your mind-set, so that your long term goal doesn’t seem like such a stretch. For example, if your big goal is to make £500k in the next 12 months, when last year you only made £50k, that can seem so intangible that it’s difficult to motivate yourself to do the work. Here, the key is to develop your self-belief on a daily basis (or even multiple times a day) until it becomes so much a part of you that you KNOW you will succeed, and are highly driven to put in the work. I like to do this with affirmations, recorded and stored on my smartphone, that I repeat alongside the recording, every morning when I’m working out, and at other times in the day, if I feel my motivation flagging. Visualisation, is also an excellent technique for allowing your subconscious mind to start to believe in your very real potential, and enable you to take much more ambitious actions.
3. You’re Being a Perfectionist
Perfectionism is a huge barrier to success and should only be adopted after you have put yourself out there. One of my favourite ever quotes, comes from LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, who says, “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” And, let’s be honest here, if it’s good enough for the founder of $30,000,000,000 organisation LinkedIn, then I’d suggest it’s good enough for you!
So, stop faffing and fussing, and trying to make your product AMAZING, because when you EVENTUALLY put it out there, people may want changes, and it’s going to break your heart to mess with the perfection you’ve created. So, take a leaf out of $287,000,000,000 organisation, Facebook, who use the mantra, “Done is Better than Perfect”. Get your stuff out there, and start making your mark in this world!
As it is, the more successful you become, the more criticism you will face, so it’s time to grow a thicker skin and learn to not take other people’s issues to heart. And anyway, nothing will ever truly be perfect, and spending your whole life trying to avoid criticism is a big, fat waste of your time. As time goes on, you can begin to move closer to perfection, as you tweak, improve and enhance your original, imperfect creations.
Of course, I could talk all day about how to kick procrastination to the curb, but the one big thing I want you to take away today is that it’s all a choice. A choice to give in to fear, or a choice to push the fear away, and take massive action anyway. So, today, I’m inviting you to say, “No More!” to procrastination, and really Sky-Rocket Your Success :)