We can probably all think of several times in life when we’ve procrastinated doing something we know we need to do. Maybe it was a difficult conversation we needed to have with an employee, or maybe it was starting a fitness and nutrition plan. Or, maybe you’ve been putting off launching a business or pursuing a new idea. You might feel like you need to read one more book or take one more course to be ready. The truth is, no matter what you’re procrastinating, you’re probably not making it any better by waiting around. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is just act.
Here are five reasons why you might be procrastinating, and how to avoid them:
- You lose motivation
It’s easy to have motivation when you’re first launching your business. You acquire funding, create your LLC, buy your domain, build a website, create your social media pages, tell your friends about what you’re doing, but then things don’t happen as quickly as you’d like for them to. This may cause you to lose motivation and your dream may start to feel more like a job. Plus, as an entrepreneur, you don’t have a boss looking over your shoulder and giving you deadlines. You might start putting off the things you know you need to do because the work isn’t feeling fun anymore, even though you know your business will suffer because of it. Why do we do this to ourselves?
In business and in life, motivation will ebb and flow. You have to instead focus on your goal, the end result, and know there will be many ups and downs along the way until you get there. You can’t wait on motivation, you just have to take action.
- You are operating off of emotion
Sometimes, we procrastinate because we’re going off of our emotions. We’re tired, discouraged or feeling fearful. As an entrepreneur, if you go off of feelings, you will lose. No one wakes up every day wanting to dive right into work, but successful entrepreneurs do it anyway. Their goal is more important than how they feel in the moment. Feelings are temporary, but their goal is permanent. I encourage you to find something that will get you in the right state of mind. Maybe it’s listening to your favorite music or motivational podcast or reading a devotional. Find that thing for you and start your day with it.
- You don’t know where to start
I often find myself working with clients who find themselves procrastinating because they don’t know where to start. Many times, they’re working by themselves and the list of things they need to do feels a mile long. That overwhelming feeling causes people to feel stuck and as a result, they do nothing. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, make a list of everything you need to do, then prioritize the list in order of importance. You can’t do everything at once, so this will make you feel more organized. Break down the things you will accomplish this week, then break that list down into the three things you will do each day. Suddenly, your list doesn’t seem as overwhelming, and you won’t feel the need to procrastinate.
It’s good to reward yourself for small tasks you accomplish along the way. For example, if you go to the gym five times one week, reward yourself with a cheat meal at your favorite restaurant on Saturday. This practice creates an incentive for checking things off your list.
- You don’t know what to do
Sometimes, you may be unsure of what steps you need to take to get to your goal. Are we doing the right things? Should we start a podcast, write weekly blog posts or spend that time cold-calling to get leads? There’s no one answer for every business, but I do know that imperfect action is better than inaction. Just start and evaluate what you’re doing every 30 days to see what brings you the most success. Once you can identify what’s working best for you, hone in on it. In business and marketing, we’re constantly testing new things to see what will work. It’s the only way!
If you’re still feeling stuck, a business coach or mentor can help you put your priorities in place and tackle the things you need to do first. If you don’t have access to a coach or a mentor, find someone you admire in your industry and do what they do. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. If a person you admire is having success, emulate what they did to get there.
- You are scared to fail
When you start something new, there’s always a chance you might fail. Despite this reality, you can’t go into business being afraid to fail. Failure in some aspects is inevitable. It’s about learning from your failures and getting better.
No successful entrepreneur has gone without failing. Maybe their business was an overall success, but not everything they tried along the way worked. We often launch new marketing initiatives to test them out before we recommend them to our clients. Some work, some fail! It’s part of the business. We don’t dwell on the failures, we learn from them and move on. You should constantly test new things to see what works best and then go all in when you see it hit.
This is why your ‘Why’ is so important. You have to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing and remember your end goal.
We all fail — even the most successful entrepreneurs. The difference is that they didn’t dwell on it. They picked themselves up, learned from it and tried again.
You need to remember that you’re in control of your momentum. Put a plan together that you can follow, stick with it and see the wins start to stack up in your life.