I procrastinated and watched my first company tread water for two years. Other entrepreneurs got stuff done and I wondered what made them special. Here’s how to kill procrastination and hit your company goals.
In my case, I was procrastinating on doing business development. I was getting referrals, but I knew to really grow I needed to do more BD. I’d show up each day, do the work in front of me (hey, it’s easy, it’s coming right to me) … but wasn’t developing new sources of leads.
So I built a complete plan – speaking engagements, outreach to key partners, etc. Felt really good about the plan. Solid. It would work.
That was good progress the first week.
Second week rolls by, and a client crisis hits. No BD gets done.
Two months in? Well… There was always something to justify not executing the plan. “I do have a doctor’s appointment which will kind of kill Wednesday afternoon. And I’m taking a long weekend starting Friday morning…”
I had a problem, and its name was procrastination.
So how did I solve it?
First, I needed to understand what was causing it. I got to the root of the problem by asking “WHY am I procrastinating?” Was it:
- Don’t have a plan
- Have a plan, but I’m not sold on it
- Don’t like doing what the plan calls for
- Don’t have the resources handy
- Don’t have the budget
- Don’t believe the team can get it done
In my case it was #3 (hated dong something in the plan), but let’s run through all of these procrastination causing problems in case it’s your situation.
1. I Don’t have a plan
Well, duh, make a plan. Solved.
OK, ok, I’m being flip.
So how do you make a plan? Funny you should ask, I’ve written a long twitter thread on how to Always Nail Your Strategic Plan.
2. I have a plan, but I’m not sold on it
This is an insidious one, because you might not even realize it’s happening.
You might have a plan – but deep down you know there’s a defect. Maybe your target is to aggressive, or you know you don’t have the time to get it done.
BOTTOM LINE: If you don’t sell yourself on the plan, it won’t get done.
How to fix it:
a) Redo the plan to be achievable, or
b) Get help making a strategic plan you believe in
3. You don’t like doing what the plan calls for
Sometimes, we just don’t like the thing we need to do.
Frankly, I hate networking. And that was what I had committed myself to doing. Networking, when I should know that I will resist doing it because I hate it. I could tell you to just grit your teeth and “tough it out, Nancy” (like I could have told myself) – but before that, ask:
a) can I accomplish the same goal changing the plan to sub in something I want to do?, or
b) Is there someone I can delegate to who will love doing this?
If you can do either of those, you’ll un-stick procrastination.
4. I don’t have the resources handy.
Something you don’t have, or don’t know, is blocking you.
Easy. Tell yourself the big project is on pause. Your new goal is to solve that one little piece. Make it a smaller chunk, and you’ll get it done.
5. I don’t have the budget
This trips up most pre-scale companies. Often you’re choosing between $ you take home, and execution. You’re procrastinating because you’re more tied to the cash than the idea.
This reduces to item # 2 – you have a plan, but you haven’t sold yourself on the investment. It could be that it’s a bad investment. Or it’s a good one – but you need to spend time on why it’s important. Go to # 2 above, do not pass go, certainly do not collect $200.
6. I don’t believe the team can get it done
Sometimes we procrastinate believing that if we start a project, the team will just screw it up – making a big mess for us to clean up.
Don’t blame you, it’s probably happened to you before. If so, it’s because of one thing-
The team screwed up because the project wasn’t delegated correctly (by you).
If you’re delegating right, the risk is small and manageable.
Learn how to delegate properly in our article on How To Delegate For More Freedom In Your Business
What to Do Next
Now you see procrastination is just a symptom. Addressing the underlying cause will get you unstuck.
BUT – there’s one other nut to crack: sticking to executing. Procrastination is you stuck with ONE thing NOW – but you need a process for hitting your business goals, always. For more on how to always hit your goals, get a weekly list of short, actionable steps to scale your company with simplicity in the Boardroom Bulletin™.