Procrastination, or putting off what you “should” do today for another day, is one of the biggest reasons why businesses do not grow and often struggle to survive during challenging times. We all have times when we just do not feel like doing something. However, chronic procrastinators seriously hurt the health of their business, the confidence of their staff and/or customers, and miss so many great opportunities that would save money and increase sales.
The first thing I tell clients about how to be successful in their business is to recognize how their personal life is connected to their business. Yesterday’s blog was about having balance with business and family, but one of the biggest reasons business owners do not excel in their business is that their home is not in order. They come to the office lacking sleep, eating fast food and stressing over some crisis in the family. Their cell phone is ringing or they are getting texts from family and they are just not able to clear their head and get “back in to the game” of succeeding at work. Not that you can avoid many home challenges, but finding ways to be your best when they come at you will give you an edge. Eat healthy, get a great mattress so you sleep soundly, disconnect from your cell phone personal calls and maybe join a yoga class or take a long hot shower every night. If reading relaxes you, shut off the TV and read more. Use the time away from your business wisely so that when you are back in your office you are rested and ready to go. Explain to loved ones that even though you have a cell phone that you would appreciate that during business hours that they limit the calls and texts so that you can concentrate on business.
After you have worked on you, the next step is to take an honest appraisal of your office. Do you have piles on your desk? Is the office space set-up for high performance or wasted time because the printer is in the other room and your filing cabinet is across the room? Consider hiring a professional organizer to help you to organize your work space and teach you better filing systems and ways to keep your office de-cluttered. This is an area I have always struggled with. It wasn’t until I met Nancy Black of Organization Plus, www.organizationplus.com, that I realized that I was wasting too many hours a day with the set-up of my office space and that each day, looking at boxes of old files in my room and piles of papers, actually drained my energy and left me feeling tired. My office just was not a place where I could be my best. I even recognized that a fresh coat of paint [purple of course] and a newly organized and better system was the medicine I needed to feel better and stop procrastinating at work.
Finally, once you have a balanced home and work life and an organized office, you need to now look at creating a calendar system and a “real” daily and monthly “To Do” List. The calendar system is based on history of your company. Look at your old Day Timers [if you still have them] and see when you attended Trade Shows in your industry, launched advertising campaigns and worked on projects. See when client annual contracts expire. Make a note of the important things for your business on the calendar so that nothing slips past you and you no longer need to weigh down your brain trying to remember everything. Next, think of what you want to accomplish as a business. Having a Business Plan and understanding your goals makes this an easy task. You should know exactly how much you need to sell each week and month to make a profit. If you do not, please work with an accountant or bookkeeper to get a better understanding of your business numbers. Once you know the goal it is much easier to make a real “To Do” list. Do not write more items than you know you can honestly achieve. It will actually zap your energy and have you procrastinating at attacking the entire list. I have found creating the list at the end of my work day for the next day has given me a jump start, but if that list will have you not sleeping then come in to your office a few minutes early and create it then. If you have the monthly list it is much easier to know what you need to do weekly to reach your goal. Make sure that you tackle the ones that are the hardest first when you have the most energy. This will help you to avoid being mentally drained knowing you still need to do something you do not feel like doing. Be sure to recognize your accomplishments with completing tasks. Even if the immediate results you get are not what you expected, the daily positive work habits will build in your life and you will notice that your business is in a healthier place than before you lived with “procrastination” as your office buddy.
All my best to YOUR success!
“Success wears the Purple Diamond!”