Tomorrow is an entrepreneur’s enemy.
You had so many plans laid out for your business. You even sat down to turn your goals into daily actionable tasks. You started the year so well, everything was progressing well until it didn’t. Before you knew it, it felt like you were racing against time. You completed none of the daily most important tasks.
Worse still you have trouble convincing yourself to get any more work done. Not even the free time you got from self-isolation during this global pandemic has motivated you to work on those tasks. Instead, you are performing trivial activities. That business idea you had that could elevate you to the next level can wait for tomorrow.
It’s challenging to come to terms with the power of procrastination since it always feels like something you can snap out of any minute, but somehow it overpowers you. This is not a unique concept in the entrepreneurial world.
Procrastination hinders you from creating successful and sustainable businesses. Despite having incredible skills to operate their businesses and the resilience to endure the tough times, entrepreneurs also lose focus. Instead of looking for ways to generate more revenue, they waste time doing unrelated activities.
So why do Entrepreneurs Procrastinate, and why does this habit persist?
♦ Fear of the unknown
Fear may be a huge stumbling block for entrepreneurs, but it’s not the enemy. You are in your way. When our brains cannot grasp concepts that do not exist, we develop a fear of the unknown. All of a sudden, that fantastic E-Commerce idea you had a few weeks ago doesn’t make any sense. You talk yourself out of it, maybe now’s not the right time. You don’t have the capital anyway. All your efforts feel like a giant waste of time, effort and money. Fear takes over.
♦ Perceived judgement from people who matter to us
Make no mistake, entrepreneurs have big dreams. So big that sometimes saying them out loud to friends, family, or colleagues draws so much anxiety. The first thought that comes to mind is that no one would like your idea anyway. Perhaps you even have a history of being judged harshly by them, and it weighs you down.
♦ Striving for the elusive perfection
We know we cannot be perfect no matter how many times we try. We know the ideal time to grow a business does not exist. And yet, entrepreneurs haven fallen into this trap countless times. You feel you are not good enough to start, or you don’t have enough resources or tools to execute a task, or you’ll start that side hustle when you get enough money, or you’re going to do it wrong anyway so you tweak projects aimlessly or you stop altogether. Projects drag out. Doubt takes over. The truth is, things don’t line up how you want them to. You might be stuck in this loop for so long and with no signs of perfection coming into play.
♦ Progress doesn’t feel fast enough
We are living a results-oriented society, so when one starts a business endeavour or a project that doesn’t bear fruit after some time, they can get discouraged. The energy will fizzle, your mind will rebel, and you may lose all the motivation needed to push you on. The need for instant gratification will make it tough to acknowledge that little progress you are making.
How entrepreneurs should overcome procrastination
1. Mental shifts are necessary
Stay curious without judgement, challenge your perceptions and come up with alternatives. My mantra used to be “only delay tasks and projects if you know you’ll do a better job later.” Years later, I realized terrible habits are harder to change. The decisions you make tomorrow are hardly any better than the ones you make now. Create habits that tackle making decisions, rather than procrastinating.
2. Make space for fear; it’s not going anywhere
It’s okay not to have all the answers. If you have a fear of the unknown, be comfortable with the unknown. Embrace fear and let it inform you and your actions moving forward. The hidden treasure behind your fear will step forward.
3. The opinions, judgement or perception from other people have nothing to do with you and do not define you
More often than not, those are usually projected feelings. It’s not that they don’t believe you can actually open that e-commerce business and pick success from it. It’s because they don’t think they can pull that off.
4. Surround yourself with positive-minded people who believe in you and support your ideas no matter what
People who inspire and motivate you to even dream bigger. A community that share similar values and is excited to see the impact of your business. This positive energy will rub off on you even during difficult times and help you pursue your goals. Brainstorm solutions with your mentor to help establish clear priorities.
5. While you’re at it, quit approval addiction
After listening to other voices for so long, it’s time to step up and believe in your ability to guide yourself through the process. Ignore the misleading voices.
6. You have to let go of the perfection trap
Done is better than perfect. Imperfect action gets things done, leads to self-discovery and improvement. Work towards fixing the mistakes you make along the way. This will create momentum for your projects and even spawn better ideas. Go ahead and post that clip you feel is not good enough for your brand. If you complete a project to the best of your ability, that is more than good enough.
7. Delegate and outsource tasks
Figure out what you are best at and only concentrate on that. Delegate the other tasks to your employees or outsource if the business needs something more. When you enjoy what you do, you hardly procrastinate.
8. Switch gears to something different that could help jumpstart a better idea to help execute your tasks
Some entrepreneurs swear by reading non-fiction books while others listen to podcasts, or go for a nature walk, and so forth.
9. Schedule downtime to take breaks and celebrate your small wins
This time blocking method of productivity allows one to dedicate specific hours to specific tasks, and the rest of the time is spent on leisure activities that relax the mind. Utilize short time blocks so as not to overwork the brain and always acknowledge small wins.
Finally, accept that there are days your resolve will be tested, but you should not allow in negative thoughts to control how you go about your business.
Tell us, which projects have you been pushing aside this year?