Here’s a paradox for business owners: we are all busy in our businesses, yet we spend too much time staring at a blank screen or procrastinating about following up after that networking opportunity. What’s worse, it is time we just don’t have to spare. We lose so much time because we’re unsure of our next step or what to do next. If you’re like many other business owners, you’ll be familiar with these two scenarios:
Inconsistency. While you have no problem being productive, the problem is that you’re only able to generate this productivity in patches which are followed by unwelcome stretches of inactivity. Your work is either feast or famine.
No overall direction. You know the business you’ve always wanted, but you don’t know how to get there. As a result, you can’t commit to a course of action and you stagnate.
I see many business owners who have exemplary business practices, yet who struggle with procrastination. Their success is limited until they find a way to manage the temptation to delay.
The good news is that I am going to show you how to beat this time thief. By following a few steps, you can look forward to a consistent workflow that leads to consistent cashflow. You can also look forward to achieving your series of tipping points. These are what business is all about – strategically navigating between tipping points rather than quantum leaps to make steady progress in your business.
A Worthwhile Battle
Procrastination is a tricky opponent. It can feel like you’re finally on top of it only to find that you’ve only fixed a symptom and the real problem is still there. Feeling it return can be doubly sapping to your confidence, which compounds the stress directly caused by the procrastination. It’s not uncommon for people to feel like the problem is insurmountable and that they might as well give up.
Do you know how I know the pain of procrastination so well? It was my unwanted companion for a long time. Having to battle the same problem over and over was not at all fun. It takes energy and boldness to keep going, trying different approaches until something sticks. After the GFC, I sold my recruitment business and decided to reinvent my life. This process knocked me down and forced me to learn how to get back up and build something stronger while leaving procrastination behind. I want to share these lessons with you because I can tell you from personal experience that it’s worth putting the work in to overcome this problem.
Overcoming the Overwhelm
Here are five steps to get past “I don’t know what to do” and find your forward momentum.
Step 1: Take Stock
Be real and objective about where your business is right now. Understand that as much as we like to look forward to our ideal business, it all starts from where you are at right now. Perhaps the reason you procrastinate is that you want to detach yourself from the current realities of your business. The only way to find out is to make an assessment. A SWOT analysis is a good way to do this.
Step 2: Get a clear destination
Now that you have understood and accepted the current state of your business, you can look forward to the future. It’s so valuable to have a clearly defined destination and one that you believe you can get to in the next 12 months. This makes it realistic and all that much more achievable, which is a great motivator.
Step 3: Framework
Create a series of milestones to achieve your outcome. Speaking from personal experience, once you realise that the only thing you need to achieve the big goals is complete a series of small goals, your business success moves closer and you start believing it’s not only possible but inevitable.
Step 4: Keep your eye on the prize
Prepare for rough waters. You’ve done everything right to put yourself in the best position for reaching your destination, but you’re guaranteed to run into obstacles. The key to navigating through any challenging times is to expect them. Have a plan of action of how you will deal with delays, changes, setbacks, conflicts, and all the usual business hiccups. If you don’t need to use the plan, great, but you’ll be prepared if necessary and ready to get back on course afterwards.
Step 5: Review and improve at each milestone
Planning is not a stagnant, set-and-forget task. It is a living, breathing process that will be shaped by your experience and the realities of your business. Make time to refine the first four steps from time to time and see if they are still relevant and if they need editing. Get excited – you’re charting your own map to success now and your hands are firmly on the wheel.
Creating a business plan that takes into account the elements of your journey, marketing, operations, and finances along the way will ensure that you have your eyes wide open and are setting yourself up for success. It’s essential that you create your action plan with the intention of using it regularly to guide you steadily towards your goals.
When you’re clear about where you’re going and can see your business building one step at a time, each stage will have its own structure. What to do is simply a series of logical actions. Each month has a plan and when you have a plan to follow, you’ll know what to do next. To find out more organise an appointment today.