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Procrastination: You’re Doing it Wrong.

By , September 13, 2018

For the expert procrastinator, when it comes to those big decisions and actions, all the time-management techniques in the world won’t work. You need to shift your thinking.

I have a question for you. Be sure to answer honestly.

Do you ever struggle with procrastination?

If you answered yes, then welcome to the club. And if you answered no, then, well, you may want to double check that you’re human. Because the truth is, we’re all guilty of it. We all don’t get the things done that we want to get done as quickly as we want to get them done.

But procrastination isn’t just about putting off tasks on our to-do list until the last minute. It’s also about the big things. The major decisions we need to make or problems we need to solve that, for some reason or another, we feel paralyzed from taking meaningful action on. The things that weigh on us in the back of our minds because we know they need to get done if we want our business to grow, yet, because they come with emotional baggage or fears of failure, we struggle to overcome our internal resistance to doing them. For example: making an important move that will move the business forward but goes against the status quo, or fixing a crucial bottleneck in our operations, or having a hard conversation with an employee.

When it comes to these situations, better time-management skills won’t help much. (If you’re interested in that topic, though, I’ve written plenty of articles on it, like this one and this one.) Rather, we need to address the issues at their root and core and implement practical, proven strategies to overcome our blocks toward dealing with them. Most importantly: We need to do this not when “we have the time” or ”our schedule is less hectic” or ”business is better” or ”fill in excuse here”—but right now. Because if we don’t, the problems will snowball, getting worse and worse the longer we procrastinate.

For my fellow procrastinators, here are some Ptex Practical Pointers for winning the battle against procrastination.

1. Get to the bottom of it.

Stop and reflect. What is holding you back? What feelings crop up when you try to start doing whatever it is? Are there fears or limiting beliefs holding you back? For example: “It won’t work,” “It needs to be perfect,” “I’m afraid of failure,” “It’s too hard.” Simply recognizing the reasons you’re putting something off is the first step toward shifting your attitude.

2. Know your “why.”

Think about your end goal. Where do you want to be a few months? A year? Five years? Will the things your pushing off help you get there? What do you have to lose but NOT doing them? How will you/your business suffer as a result of pushing them off longer? The pain of doing something difficult now pales in comparison to the pain of regret later.

3. Make a realistic, short-term “must-do” list.

Start by listing a few (3-5) big things you know you want to accomplish in the next 4-6 weeks. We’re talking not about daily to-do list tasks, but the “blue sky” projects, the things you must do to get to the next level. Hang them up somewhere you can look at them daily. Write due dates for each one in your calendar, so that your goals are time-specific.

4. Tell someone who can hold you accountable.

Tell someone about your plan. It should be a person whom you’ll be embarrassed to face if you don’t actually stick to your commitments. That way, there is someone to hold you accountable for achieving them. Come up with a plan to check in with that person.

And when you’re done all that? Lather, rinse, repeat.

For the expert procrastinator, when it comes to those big decisions and actions, all the time-management techniques in the world won’t work, because the pain of doing the thing you’re putting off seems greater than doing almost anything else. But if you shift your thinking—if you make a decision to put the above steps into practice, then instead of your list of procrastinated things snowballing, it’ll be your success that’s snowballing instead.

We just celebrated a new year on the Jewish calendar, and a new year is a perfect time for resolutions. My wish to all of us is that we end the excuses and get done all those things we’ve been pushing off. And, of course, that we always see the fruit of our labor.

I’d love your thoughts on this topic, and I’d love to hear any resolutions you’ve made for this coming year. Please comment below!

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Meny Hoffman

Meny Hoffman is the Chief Executive Officer of Ptex Group, an Inc. 500/5000-ranked marketing and business services firm headquartered in Brooklyn, NY.

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