This is a guest post by Rachel, currently working as the vice president of communications at Active Collab.
To be labeled procrastinator is by no means a good thing.
By definition, procrastination is the avoidance of doing the task that needs to be accomplished. And that, by definition, does NOT go hand in hand with responsible and professional behavior that is expected of successful and respected entrepreneur.
Even though they have few characteristic that can make procrastinators potentially successful businessmen, a vast majority of their time is spent loafing and goofing off even though there is work to be done.
So what really differs procrastinators and successful people: is it attitude, approach or a mindset?
Well, in this post we will give you few actionable tips on how to become more of a “let’s get things done” guy and less of a “let’s get things done – tomorrow” kind of a guy.
1. Set your daily goals and activities.
The first thing that you need to know about procrastinators is: they know what has to be done, but they do not possess the ability to organize themselves or their day.
Most of us can only focus on the big picture, on the final goal without ever working out step by step process to getting there – but not the successful ones.
Successful entrepreneurs have their days well planned from the morning till the late evenings.
However, do not think that they work all day every day. Besides meetings and tasks, their daily plan includes a couple of hours of me-time that many of them spend reading, self-reflecting or even meditating.
The most important thing is to make a plan and stick to it. List activities you need to do each day, focus on them and adhere to the schedule – no excuses!
2. Handle the small tasks first and then move on to bigger fish.
Most successful entrepreneurs make their daily plans the night before. They are also aware that abundance of tasks that await them tomorrow have to be organized in a specific way so that they can be handled in the most productive way.
Prioritize what has to be done ASAP and put them on the top of the list with the least time-consuming tasks being a priority. Handling a lot of tasks in the morning will give you a moral boost to tackle more demanding duties in the noon.
Also, try not to multitask. According to the study conducted by the researchers from the University of Stamford, people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.
Procrastinators will wait until the last possible moment to start handling their duties, and since they have no other options than to multitask, everything they do will be done inadequately, to say the least.
3. Transform obstacles into (business) opportunities.
When one door closes, another opens – that is the theory at least. Well, in business things can get pretty rough and unforgiving and one mistake or misjudgment can lead to a failure.
That is why the best entrepreneurs believe that all the obstacles one comes across should be viewed as a chance rather than as a hindrance.
Modern day businesses are mostly project-based, which is why their success depends mostly on project completion rates. However, handling a project can prove to be extremely challenging: collaboration within and between teams has to be impeccable, product delivered within deadline and client kept in the loop throughout the entire process.
Each and every one of these can prove to be an obstacle that you can trip on, or overcome it.
If you want to keep your mind focused on work, and refuse to waste time on certain processes aspects and daily meetings, you will need a small business management software to help you out. It should have some basic features like task management, time and expense tracking, and team collaboration capabilities, but most importantly it should suit your team and their needs.
4. Avoid time-wasters.
Procrastinators bare the curse of horrible time management – a curse that cannot be easily removed.
They often get trapped in time-wasting activities and spend countless hours watching Youtube videos, playing just one more game of solitaire or thinking about things that were and might be.
Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, value their time dearly. They realize that after you invest your time, it is gone – forever. And that is precisely why they avoid time-wasters such as extensive social media browsing or chewing up the entire season of their favorite series on Netflix in one day. If anything they use that time to invest in themselves – by reading.
According to the survey conducted by an accountant and financial planner Tom Corley, 88% out of 233 self-made millionaires interviewed devote 30 minutes or more each day to education or self-improvement through reading.
Even though most of them turn to biographies, history, and self-help books, you can choose whatever suits you best. Any book is better than any reality show or online game that can take precious hours away from you.
5. Learn from your mistakes.
In the end, procrastinators never learn – that is why they will never achieve success.
Entrepreneurs and business owners have the ability to adapt to different conditions, and can easily find a way out of difficult situations.
That, however, does not mean that they don’t make mistakes. They do, and they learn from them.
Meetings that used to take half an hour out of each morning have now been transformed to weekly two-hour engagements. Usage of proper tools has allowed for better organization and more efficient work environment. Inclusion of clients in the process has saved a lot of time that is usually spent on progress reports…
Business is constantly changing, developing, evolving – it’s a jungle out there. And just like in the jungle, you have to adapt to survive.