We all do it, and to some extent it is simply normal. But procrastination can hurt you and your business in many ways. It’s best to be aware of it and manage it; versus deny it and become overwhelmed by it. That’s when it can become a very serious issue.
Defined at Wikipedia: “… procrastination refers to the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of low-priority, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time.”
Studies have shown that procrastination, or “putting things off,” costs businesses over $50 BILLION dollars per year. That’s a staggering number!
Many believe it’s getting worse, in part because of technology and our “plugged-in” lifestyles. For example, Facebook has more than 700 million members. 135 million of those are in the US and ½ of the people who have Facebook accounts login DAILY!
Procrastination often leads to:
- Problems in the workplace
- Loss of productivity
- Health problems
- Problems with personal relationships
Here are some of the ideas I share with my clients to help them with procrastination:
Take a few minutes each day, at the start of your day, to plan out your day. One of my clients calls it a “Day Map.” I also recommend that people take a few moments on Sunday night to plan out their week. Don’t try to do everything all at once and remember to delegate things to others if you can.
This is a critical part of eliminating or minimizing procrastination. You must focus on prioritizing your activities and to-do items. Have you heard about GTD (Getting Things Done). Stop by David Allen’s website for information about this incredibly powerful work-life management approach.
If you have a HUGE project you might find procrastination tugging at your psyche. If you break big projects down into little steps they suddenly aren’t as overwhelming.
I know it’s very difficult, but the most successful business owners and managers I’ve met have learned how to minimize distractions. Set times when your staff knows you MUST NOT be interrupted. Turn off your cell phone (and text messaging). If you have a home office, get a “Do Not Disturb” sign for it!
Stay Clear on Your Goals and Outcomes
Keep your goals and desired outcomes close by you at all times. When you are focused on these two things, it becomes less likely that you will put off high-priority items for lesser priority tasks.
Reward Yourself with “Me” Time
We all work hard and many of the business owners and managers I work with are working harder than ever before. Everyone is doing more with fewer people. As a result, you may find yourself with less personal time – time for the things YOU like to do. I tell people to reward themselves for NOT procrastinating with “Me” time. It can be an afternoon off from work, a lunch at your favorite restaurant, or simply a walk in the park. Whatever it is, make sure you reward yourself for all your hard work by making time for yourself – “ME” time!
Have you been putting off organizing your office or clearing the piles of files and clutter from your desk? Maybe it’s time for professional help. Call me today at (978) 922-6136. I can change your life in as little as 180 minutes. I call it the Three Hour Transformation – and it works!