Procrastination is a common psychological behavior that most people exhibit at some point in their lives. There usually aren’t negative or long-term consequences to occasional procrastination, however, when it becomes more of an invasive trait, it can be a real problem – especially for a small business owner who really needs to accomplish things in order to make money.
It is a well-known fact that if we understand the reasons behind our behaviors, we will be putting ourselves in a better position to improve those behaviors that have negative consequences. For the small business owner, procrastination might very well sabotage his/her ultimate goal – success. They become their own worst enemy and a major obstacle in the success of their own business. Procrastinators might have the best intentions but often give credence to the phrase “good intentions are good for nothing”. To get beyond your tendency to procrastinate, you will need to understand the reason(s) behind your behavior and use some strong will to overcome this tendency. There are many underlying reasons for procrastination that are often related to one another.
You are feeling overwhelmed
It is not uncommon for someone who is faced with complex or too many high priority tasks to feel overwhelmed. Because there is so much to do, one might not know where to start and may actually end up doing nothing. To overcome this it would help to break down the tasks into more manageable units that can be addressed step-by-step. If the task at hand is too complex and beyond your understanding, don’t be afraid to ask for help. As a small business owner, you might believe you should know everything. However, no one knows everything, so you need to realize and acknowledge this fact and don’t feel inadequate. There is help available for everyone about everything 24 hours a day. Use Google! Just type in your question in the search bar and you might be surprised at how much information you will find right at your fingertips.
Poor Organization Skills
You might think that everything has a due date of yesterday, but it will be more beneficial for you to admit that some things do have a higher priority than others. Try to review your to-do list objectively and consider what the true top priority items are. Make a list with those most important at the top and put the items that really can wait until tomorrow at the bottom. You will get to them – just not today.
Inability to Make Decisions/Fear of Making a Wrong Decision
Some people find it very difficult to make a decision. They evaluate all the available options over and over and over again without coming to any conclusions. They are looking for a guaranty that their decision is the right one, but we all know that the only two guaranties in life are death and taxes. While it is important to weigh your options carefully and make informed decisions, not making decisions will get you nowhere. Don’t be afraid to make a wrong decision because at some point in your business career, you will more than likely make more than one wrong decision. Assure yourself that you did all the necessary research and analysis and if your decision ends up being wrong, try to understand why and where you went wrong. Making a decision in business is no different than making a decision in our personal lives. Making mistakes is part of being human and small business owners are human. Just be sure that you deal with your mistakes without self-blame (or blaming others) and that you also learn from them. Give yourself a time-limit to come to a decision and stick to it.
You tend to be a Perfectionist
You want everything you do to be perfect so you often end up doing nothing. No one is perfect and no one can expect themselves to be perfect. Perfectionists are constantly under stress as they strive to reach their goal because it is an unrealistic one. If you are a small business owner who is a perfectionist, sit back and objectively think about how this tendency is affecting your profits, which is your ultimate goal, and you will realize how your ideals are actually counterproductive. Lower your standards to a more realistic level, allow yourself the chance to be human and you will find that you will be much more effective. The bottom line is, if you find yourself procrastinating more than you are comfortable with, break your projects into manageable tasks, make a prioritized list of tasks within a realistic and objective timeline, and allow yourself to be human by making decisions and forgiving yourself should you make a bad one.