[John Ingrisano here, posting the following piece by Dennis E. Hensley, Ph.D, a dear friend, a great writer, and an on-the-money biz consultant. Enjoy. — JRIngrisano]
Procrastination is as much a psychological barrier as it is a business challenge. If you are stalling at getting to your main project, it could be because of four reasons that can be overcome.
First, if you are fearful, you will delay confronting a task or problem. What if the bank doesn’t authorize my loan? What if the client thinks my proposal flat-out stinks?
You overcome fear by creating a Plan B. Ask for the loan. If you get turned down, find out why. Use this informational experience to show you how to upgrade your application’s weaknesses, and then apply at other banks when you are in a stronger position.
If the client deep-sixes your proposal, find out why. If you failed to address a certain need or situation, request an opportunity to go back and revise and then resubmit your proposal. However, if the prospect offers an insurmountable objection (no money, no need, no interest) or is so vague about a “hidden agenda” you cannot uncover, move on and forget about this prospect. Make it into a positive experience to get over your fears by using any situation as an information gathering experience that will help you develop a Plan B.
Second, you will procrastinate if you have ethical issues with a circumstance. How can I develop an ad campaign for a product I know is inferior?
You overcome ethical issue procrastination by realizing you are in a double dilemma. If you force yourself to develop an ad campaign for something you don’t believe in, it will make you heartsick, and your work will be second rate. It’ll be a lose-lose situation. Speak up early and avoid getting yourself hemmed in. However, if you are forced to join the team, play devil’s advocate regularly about what is a lie, misleading, or unethical. You’ll be able to look at yourself in a mirror each morning.
Third, you will procrastinate if you think the project is overwhelming. How can I write a 375 page book, put together that 14-module training program or deliver 5,000 units of my product on deadline?
You defeat feeling overwhelmed by changing your perspective on a task. Don’t face a 375 page book project. Instead, create a table of contents with 25 chapters. Say to yourself, “This week I’ll write a 15 page chapter.” That’s much more reasonable. Do the same with all projects. Break them down into manageable pieces.
Fourth, you will procrastinate if you have a job to do that you just hate. It’s Saturday, but I don’t want to spend the day cleaning the garage.
You can confront hated jobs in two ways. For one thing, you can choose the lesser of two painful evils and spend money to hire someone else to do the job for you. High school kids can be hired to rake leaves, shovel snow, or clean garages…for a price.
If you want to save the money by doing the work yourself, then break the hated job into smaller units and add an element of pleasure to the task. One Saturday, just sweep the garage floor and organize your workbench, while listening to the football game on radio. The next Saturday, wash the windows, repair the side door’s broken hinge, and throw away all the empty boxes and worn out sports equipment, while listening to another game. It works the same in business. Divide the distasteful job into smaller daily tasks and get them out of the way early in the day. Then, as a reward, you get to do something more pleasant the rest of the day.
Facing procrastination is vital if you plan to succeed in business or in your personal affairs. Problems don’t just “go away,” and tasks don’t complete themselves. Thus, the time to beat procrastination is…now.
— Dennis E. Hensley