Article #87, November, 2009
"2 Solutions for Procrastination"
To solve procrastination, you must first understand it. By understanding the two main reasons for procrastination, you can then solve the problem!
I have found that the two main reasons people procrastinate are perfectionism and poor time management.
Perfectionists are hesitant to put anything out to the world until it is perfect. I have seen this most often when it comes to websites. You know you need a website, and you really want one, but you don’t want a bad website! So you work on it a little, then put it off, then study what others are doing, then waffle, then work on it a little, then ask everyone you know what they think… Sound familiar?
The solution to this problem is to manage the scope, reconcile with the fact that it will never be perfect, and have a great plan.
To manage the scope, perhaps you can go live with only 3 pages – the home page, a page of FAQs (frequently asked questions, with your answers) and the ‘about me/us’ page are good to start. You can add more pages any time you want.
Understand that it will never be perfect. Starting small, plus educating yourself on website standards, helps you to be OK with that. If you get conflicting information, go with your gut or with the more established expert’s opinion.
Often, setting deadlines and being accountable to someone really helps get it done.
A plan works hand-in-hand with scope management and being ok with good. Create a list of all the small steps you know it will take to get the website up. Do you need to study your competition? Do you need to hire professionals to help? Put every step into a chronological list, with deadlines. Now get to work on it!
Time management is another term, like procrastination, that belies a bigger problem. The most common reason for a small business owner to have a time management problem is when she puts way too much on her plate. When it is impossible to ever get everything done, you will appear to have a time management problem.
What you really have in this situation, is a business plan management problem! Perhaps you have committed to doing too much networking, including volunteering at these networking organizations to increase your visibility.
Networking is a fabulous marketing strategy – don’t get me wrong – but it only works if you do it right. You need to really commit to the groups you join, attend every meeting, get to know people and follow-up. It is difficult to do all this if you’re always behind because you’re over-committed. You may find that culling down your memberships brings you more business.
Writing and following an action plan is a key to eliminating ‘procrastination.’ By writing down exactly, step-by-step, what you plan to accomplish – with deadlines - you are more likely to do it. You will get that website up, even if it is just really good and not perfect.
You will also be able to recognize when you are over-doing it. Writing down everything you are doing and everything you plan to do, along with when you are doing it, gives you visibility you just don’t have by keeping it all in your head. Write down everything you plan to accomplish and then evaluate what you have written.
If, when you look at it, you feel a tightening in your chest that makes you feel like, “Oh geez – I’ll never get all that done in a year!” you may have over-committed! Start moving tasks, strategies and goals into the next year until you feel confident you can accomplish everything on the plan and still have at least a little bit of a personal life.
You will be amazed at how quickly your procrastination dissipates!