Lots of people, especially when first starting out their business, are struggling. But there are many ways for entrepreneurs to overcome procrastination.
Do you have times when you know exactly what you want to do, you want to do it and just don’t? Or do you sometimes struggle with knowing exactly what you need to do and then just distract yourself to get rid of that awkward feeling? Or do you sometimes know what you need to do but just don’t want to do it? Then just keep reading. This article’s for you. P.S. procrastination is also a habit, click here to learn about interrupting patterns and habits.
Five ways to overcome putting things o
- DADO: Delete, Automate, Delegate, Outsource
- What do you really, really want?
- Divide and Conquer
- Light a fire under your behind
- Get leverage on yourself
1. DADO: Delete, Automate, Delegate, Outsource
There are potentially an infinite amount of reasons one would procrastinate, and I will not waste my time and yours going into why someone might procrastinate. Instead, I’m going to get right into it and give you some of the best strategies that I’ve seen so far. One of the most potent strategies for overcoming procrastination I call DADO for short and it comes from Delete, Automate, Delegate, Outsource. They seem like four different strategies, but at the core, they are all part of the same strategy. The strategy is to take your problem and make it go away with as little effort from you as possible.
Say you want to buy a new apartment and at the same time want to start a new business. You don’t have money to do both and you procrastinate on both. Because in essence, you don’t want to choose between them. You could apply the Delete part of the strategy and completely give up one of them. If you’re not sure which one to give up, just pick one, go ahead with it and you’ll know almost immediately if you’ve made the right choice.
You just launched your new Software as a Service company and it takes you a while to set up your clients manually and it’s boring you out of your mind so you’ve started to procrastinate on doing it. This is a perfect opportunity to apply the Automate part of the strategy and spend some time automating as much of the process as possible. One bonus is that usually, the more boring the process is, the easier it is to automate.
Your new business is now doing pretty good and clients are using your services, but you’ve started to answer way too many support calls and the questions are unique enough so they can’t be automated. This is the best opportunity to Delegate your problem to someone in your team who’ll specialize in customer service.
You’ve been using a WordPress website you made yourself for your business and it worked great but your client’s needs have evolved and your old site is no longer effectively meeting those needs. You don’t have the resources to Delegate this. This is the perfect opportunity to Outsource the creation of your new website.
The same principles can be easily applied to almost all personal issues as well.
2. What do you really, really want?
The easiest way to overcome procrastination is sometimes the simplest as well. Sometimes just by switching the question from “Why am I procrastinating” ot “What do I really want here?” can make all the difference in the world.
This is because sometimes when you procrastinate you actually want something different than the thing you’re procrastinating. The most basic examples are in your personal life. There are very few people who like the gym for the sake of the gym. Most people want the results of going to the gym, the amazing physique, the health benefits, general fitness. If they could have the results without the work, most people would prefer the end results.
If you can’t DADO, it sometimes pays to examine your motivations more deeply. What do you really want?
Example: Your business has been doing great, you embark on a complete overhaul of your services. You spend time, money, personnel in the overhaul and your business stagnates for a long time and the overhaul seems to never be ready. What do you really want? Do you want the new overhauled service? Or do you want your business to develop? Or maybe something else completely.
This very simple tool can get you out of literal and figurative dead ends.
3. Divide and Conquer
“The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step” — Chinese Proverb
What this tool and the proverb illustrate is that even the most difficult and the longest journeys in your professional or personal life begin with small steps.
Say you’ve been wanting to start a brand new business and the journey to the operating business seems so great that it’s almost impossible to even imagine yourself there.
What are big chunks that need to happen before you get there?
What about smaller chunks that need to happen for each of the big chunks that need to happen?
Can you split them to the smallest chunks that you need to get done for the first big chunk to be done completely?
Really STOP for a moment. Think about a current project where you think the end result is too far away. Now ask yourself the questions above going from the one-line idea into as many tasks as possible.
You’ve got them, now go execute!
4. Light a fire under your behind
Sometimes you feel you don’t have the energy or the motivation to do the things you want most. What usually gets you all fired up? Is it a tight deadline? Is it the prospect of losing something?
One way to light a fire under your behind is to put money on the line. This is one of the best ways for entrepreneurs to overcome procrastination.
A favorite tool of Tim Ferris is the site https://stickk.com/ where you can add your goal and put some money on the line, the money you’ll lose in case you don’t stick to your goal.
Research has shown that people are much more likely to react when there’s a danger of losing something they already possess instead of the possibility of gaining something new.
One other way of lighting a fire is to set for yourself a deadline that would be difficult but not impossible to meet. Combine this with the possibility to lose something important and you’ll have a raging fire and lots of energy.
Bonus: What always gets people going like nothing else is when they feel indignation. If you link what you want to do with the feeling of indignation, you’re much more likely to act towards your goals and not stop until you achieve them.
Lighting fires under yourself to get things done also works as a positive feedback loop with self-discipline.
5. Get leverage on yourself
Tony Robbins talks a lot about leverage when talking about influencing yourself and others. This is the most potent tool in this arsenal, but it can also be the most difficult to wield.
What this means is to find out what makes you tick and use that to set yourself up for winning.
For example, like the tool above with using indignation. Let’s say you hate it so much when people say “No!” to you that you get tremendous energy to prove them wrong.
You could find yourself some people that are very negative in their words to you and call upon their negativity to strategically frustrate you when you need an extra oomph to do something that you were putting off for a while.
Procrastination is something that is much too complex to solve with only a single tool. Like the old American saying goes, “If you only have a hammer, then everything starts looking like a nail”.
The best way for entrepreneurs to overcome procrastination is to have a whole toolbox of strategies and to be much better equipped to handle any situation that seems too challenging.