Procrastinating? Ask Yourself These 3 Questions! | By Fiona Walsh

Strong Client with folded arms who knows standing at desk not to procrastinate

I have seen a number of clients—all passionate business owners—procrastinate about getting important things done to grow their business. They make excuses, dither, and wait to get other things done first. Is this you?

Procrastination is the number one trait that undoes more business owners than any other. I see clients get bogged down and endlessly putting off what they need to do to make their businesses more successful. With coaches this is usually related to sales and business development—the money-making part of the business. And this, if approached right, is supposed to be the fun part of managing your business!

So, Do You Do Any of These?

  • Avoid planning out your day, because you have so much to do you'd rather just get "stuck-in".
  • End up filling your day with lower priority tasks and email.
  • Say to yourself, "I'll do it later", but never get round to later...
  • Read emails several times before eventually responding, filing or deleting.
  • Complete tasks for other people with vigour, but run out of time to do your own?
  • Finally start a high-priority task, only to make a phonecall, check social media, make a cup of tea or check your e-mails.
  • Repeatedly ignore or avoid doing an important task on your "To-Do" List.

If so, you are procrastinating—and are certainly not being as effective as you could be.

Well, recently I came across a new favourite quote:

Time is a created thing. To say, 'I don't have time' is to say 'I don't want to' Lao Tzu

What I like about this quote is that it is says: Face it. We all have the same amount of time. If you consistently don't "have time" to do something, then you probably don't want to do it. So why keep dragging this stuff around with you?

Procrastination is normal

We all procrastinate at times and the reasons we do so are endless. But what happens when you keep procrastinating on important stuff?

  • Think for a moment: What opportunities have you missed out on in your life because you procrastinated?

And remember that as well as the 'negative' outcomes from your own procrastination, you also waste time moving the item from one to-do list to the next, probably drag yourself down worrying, beat yourself up and feel guilty about not getting around to it. You are negatively impacting your own success!

So, next time you notice you're procrastinating, ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. Do I really need to do it? If the answer is no, scratch it off your list and forget about it!
  2. Am I not doing it because I don't know how to do it? If yes, then figure out what you need to know to get moving and find a resource—an expert in the field, a friend, a webinar, online course, book, website—to give you the skills you need to get it done.
  3. Am I not doing it because it's stuff I hate doing? If yes, then source it out. Sure, you're a small business and can't afford to hire someone... But can you better afford to keep wasting time and energy beating yourself up for not doing it? Can you afford to keep missing opportunities?

Final thought

Get clear on where you're getting in your own way. Face up to it, then take actions that truly benefit you.

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Contributing Author:

Fiona Walsh is the Assistant Dean and Director of the Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre at UBC's (University of British Columbia, Canada) Sauder School of Business. She leads a team of 24 people who provide career development and recruitment services for Sauder students and alumni. Her background is in sales and business development in the corporate world. Immediately prior to joining UBC nearly three years ago, she was a Business Coach - and she still has a few select business coaching clients.

Learn more about Fiona & see all their articles here >>

Image of Strong Client with folded arms at desk who knows standing how not to procrastinate by Jacob Lund via Shutterstock

Image of Woman on bench looking thoughtful via Unsplash

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