How to Stop Procrastination

BRUCE WILSON - procrastinationFor many time-poor business owners, it is far too easy to procrastinate when it comes to the more mundane or unpleasant tasks.
Yet these are often the tasks that can keep business ticking over. Bruce Wilson, Global Master Business Coach, who will present at the upcoming SA Business Excellence Awards, has some useful tips for business owners looking to kill off their tendency to put off horrible tasks…
“It is a uniquely (and universal) human trait to procrastinate – in other words to avoid or delay taking actions which either must be done or would be to our benefit if done,” he says. “A hungry cheetah will not delay chasing an antelope – yet a cash-strapped business owner will avoid making a call to someone who owes them money!”
According to Wilson, some of the triggers for procrastination are when we perceive something we have to do as:

  • Being forced upon us…
  • Having the potential for us to look foolish…
  • Creating disharmony…
  • Triggering one of our limiting beliefs about ourselves
  • Putting two of our core values in conflict.

“Increased susceptibility to procrastination also comes to people who do not have a clear Vision for their quality of life in the short and long term, a Purpose which has a high emotional charge and a Plan which is focused on simple action steps,” he explains.
In his view, other than a Vision, Purpose and Plan the best antidote to procrastination is to create pressure by committing to a deadline – and then enlisting accountability with someone who has enough importance in our lives that it will ‘matter’ if we report to them that we have not taken action.
“A major subset of procrastination is the ‘Complexity Trap’ – where we think of all the individual factors involved in taking action, and then make doing them conditional on one or two other actions which are also not yet in place,” he says.
“When we reach the point where we have such a long and complicated series of inter-connected actions, we become unsure where to start and the sheer volume of activity is overwhelming.”
He says that the two ways to get out of the ‘Complexity Trap’ are:

  1. To ask: “So what actually has to happen as the first step in this process?”  and then just do that step and see what happens… without spending any time second-guessing what the results might be. Then define the next step and do that until the task is complete.
  2. Flowchart each step of the process we intend to do and at each step write what needs to be done… what resources are needed… who has to do that step… and how long we think that step will take,” he explains. “Flowcharting reduces a large task down to manageable chunks and may even show that someone else can do some parts of the process which takes the pressure off us. These two simple tactics allow us to ‘Eat the elephant one bite at a time’.”

To learn more from Bruce Wilson and to hear other industry experts present on the various aspects of running a successful business, book your ticket to attend the Business Excellence Forum & Awards in November 2015. Visit www.thebusinessexcellenceforums.com for more information or call 012 665 1015.