Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.- Napoleon Hill
Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy. - Wayne Gretzky
Have you ever put something off that needed to be done ? Join the club, right ? I’ve known salespeople ( and did this myself at one point in my career until I learned the hard way) that procrastinate completing their weekly expenses. They wait for weeks on end, and send in one month of expenses at a time. Ouch. How can you even begin to construct an accurate account of your expenditures four weeks later ?
We tend to delay doing things that are uncomfortable or unpleasant. We shun the more difficult tasks, and turn towards the path of least resistance. I recently cleaned out one side of my garage. I schlepped in a trash can, a recycle bin, and backed up my Honda to receive items for the thrift store. It took me hours to sort, throw away, and toss unwanted items into my SUV ; but at the end of the day when I was driving to the local Habitat for Humanity with a car full of “ stuff”, I felt great. I asked myself, “ why did you put this off for so long ? “ I dreaded the thought of how bad that task could be, and I was wrong. The feeling of accomplishment was so much better than the feeling of dread. Granted, some projects do require a larger block of time to accomplish ; and this may require more organization and planning. But what about the things related to our business that we know we should be doing on a daily or weekly basis , like prospecting, cold calling, or following up on leads?
I find it interesting that the very meaning of the word “ procrastination” , according to Noah Webster is “ to-morrow “. I can definitely acknowledge that we sometimes do not possess the emotional bandwidth to deal with certain things, so we avoid them. They do have a way of circling back again to bite us. Have you ever noticed when they do resurface they look like they've been working out?They're bigger ! They've grown like a middle schooler on summer break !
Procrastination also brings his friends, “guilt and shame” . I literally felt ashamed of my garage and the condition it was in. Like a teenager hiding alcohol in his room, I was sensitive about this space, knowing that I was putting off doing something about it . I found so many other things in the house to focus on rather than doing the one tough thing that needed to be tackled. I even usurped some of wife's jobs, so I could avoid dejunking my garage. Have you ever done that with your business ? Our tendency is to focus on something easy, something that doesn’t require much bandwidth, that makes us have the appearance of staying “ busy “. The fact remains that while we are doing the “busy” work, our business plan remains untouched. That claim situation with an unhappy customer is festering because of neglect. That potential client remains uncontacted, because we are tied up. We tend to substitute easy and manageable things for the harder and more exacting tasks. It’s more convenient to get caught up in checking our email and texts, than to pick up the phone and prospect new opportunities.
So how do we break the procrastination cycle ? My wife shared a book with me called “ Eat That Frog “ in which author Brian Tracy helps overwhelmed readers overcome and conquer procrastination. One of his main tactics is to tackle the “ big frog “ first. That huge item or action that is literally hanging over our head like a dark summer rain cloud. Brian teaches us to jump on that big task first and get it out of the way, instead of putting it off until later, and maybe not getting to it at all. Once we eat the frog, everything else on our list seems so much easier ! What’s on your frog list ? What key items that are connected to your business have you been putting off doing ?
Maybe it's time to break out the Tabasco sauce and eat that frog. Decide that you will act on it TODAY and not tomorrow. Break the habit of procrastination, and feel the good dopamine chemicals hit your brain because you chose to get things done NOW !
Procrastination is like a credit card; it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill. - Christopher Parker
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