Is procrastination preventing you from getting your big ideas out there? It’s a problem even the cleverest entrepreneurs face, but kicking the proverbial can down the road isn’t going to get your venture flying.
Here’s 13 ways to tell you’re a bit shit when it comes to starting, and how you can really get moving where it counts:
There’s a bunch of vital tasks to complete staring you in the face. You know they’re important, but you’re caught up with bits and pieces, like clearing out your inbox or deleting files off your desktop.
You’re tricking yourself into a sense of “getting it done”, but you’re not actually moving forward. Your motivation for activity can sometimes be “busy for busy’s sake” rather than productive action. Fingerprint for Success (F4S) research has shown that successful entrepreneurs aren’t concerned with being constantly task-busy - they tend to distribute their energy in higher priority, yet less immediately gratifying areas.
Your progress in distractions like Angry Birds directly relates to how much work is piling up. You’ll keep telling yourself, “I just need to do one more level, and THEN I’ll start work.”
There’s nothing wrong with a little break (in fact, breaks are very important) but if every time the going gets tough, you’re looking to beat your high score before you can ‘get serious’, you may have a slight starting problem.
“Hmm… I’ll just go and check that Spike is okay, then I can really get into it”.
If your procrastination is at such high levels that your own pets are devising ways to tell you they need space, then it’s time to rethink your approach.
This one is interesting, in that it disguises itself as something that is helpful for an entrepreneur - after all, striving for perfection should be the goal, right? Sadly, try as we might, perfection is an unattainable objective (ever heard of MVP?) and can effectively stop you in your tracks. Learn to let go of this paralysing idea that everything has to be perfect, perfect, perfect before you can move to the next stage.
Believe it or not, sometimes being too detail-oriented can be a problem. While getting into the nitty gritty is critical for certain aspects of business, such as user experience and engagement, a lack of focus on The Big Picture can see you missing opportunities, particularly in early stage ventures.
Things aren’t moving along because you’re waiting on someone else to get it all happening. You might be someone who prefers to sit back and wait to be engaged, or perhaps you lack confidence in your own ideas and skills.
We refer to this as low initiation, and our research has shown that a low motivation to initiate can result in missed opportunities. People with high initiation prefer to hit the ground running, (sometimes without - gasp! - planning) and are happy to fail, tweak and re-approach situations as they arise. The reality is, your ideas are probably just as good as those who surge forward without stopping to ponder the finer details - you just have to turn them into action. It is okay to fail.
In contrast to the above, if your motivation to initiate is through the roof -- so many ideas, projects and tasks on the go that you’ve lost track -- it is easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged.
Prioritise your key ideas and projects and don’t jam your own pipelines full to capacity.
“I’ll just take a quick look at Amazon before I get started."
If your credit card needs life support and the mailman has sciatica from delivering packages to you so frequently, then you’re way too distracted by the 24/7 shopping malls at your fingertips.
“Okay, by the end of next week I am going to have my app completely finished, bug-free and available in the App Store, with a front-page article on Mashable singing its praises.”
That would be awesome, but if that is the type of goal you’re setting yourself, you are paving the way for the ultimate demotivator: disappointment. Change and progress in the entrepreneurial world is rarely immediate and overnight. Instead, keep chipping away by meeting continual realistic targets.
If you’re just getting started, chances are you’re working in whatever space is most convenient and available to you, and sometimes it’s not very productive.
If the TV is blaring, you have easy access to Netflix and tiny humans are demanding your attention, it’s all too easy to get distracted.
That’s not to say that everything has to be quiet and solitary - our research has indicated that group environments are beneficial for successful entrepreneurs, so initiatives like startup co-working spaces can be great for networking and bouncing ideas off peers.
That’s right - if you’re too inflexible when it comes to planning and scheduling, it can lead to feeling overwhelmed, and wanting to drop the whole thing altogether. Plan your day and the tasks within with enough room to breathe.
“There’s so much to do, there’s no way I can get this done… of course I can’t. I suck. I should never have tried in the first place.”
Are you really mean to yourself when you’re procrastinating? Well… you’re going to have to stop that. It’s unhealthy to dwell on the negatives of anything, especially yourself. Maintaining a positive outlook is critical, particularly as early-stage rejection is pretty much a given.
Ultimately, procrastination is the fear of action. Why are you holding back? Everyone has heard of a fear of failure, but fear of success exists too.
If you’re fearful, you won’t take action. And sometimes, getting to know those fears can be the catalyst for overcoming them.
You can start your path to development and achievement as an entrepreneur today at Fingerprint for Success.
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