As an entrepreneur, you’re always thinking on your toes. You innovate, create, and adopt a startup mindset to push forward in your business and beyond.
While this sounds glamorous on paper, it’s not always so simple in real life. Burnout is very real, and sometimes it’s easy to push your to-do list off to the side indefinitely.
Focusing on yourself and your personal life every once in a while is healthy. However, when you have a list of business leads a mile long and you haven’t done X, Y, and Z all week, you might be struggling with entrepreneurial procrastination.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Here are some real-life ways to fight entrepreneurial procrastination in your business.
What Is Entrepreneurial Procrastination?
To start, what even is entrepreneurial procrastination and why does it strike business owners so frequently? As entrepreneurs, we have a reputation for always being “on” and working on the latest side hustle.
Still, what keeps us from getting the work done from time to time? It comes down to a few things:
- Lack of interest: Entrepreneurs love what they do, but that doesn’t mean they love EVERYTHING about it. Some tasks are more boring than others like invoicing, cold calling, admin, etc. These tedious things can lead to procrastination.
- Overwhelm: If you have so much on your plate, you might not even know where to begin. You might actually avoid starting at all.
- Fear of failure: Sometimes entrepreneurs don’t act because they’re letting a fear of failure hold them back. They might think they’re not good enough, and this keeps them from trying in the first place.
- Distracted: Lastly, sometimes entrepreneurs are simply prone to distraction.
With a reported 22% of small businesses failing in the first year, you simply can’t afford to procrastinate as an entrepreneur. Luckily, there are some simple ways to fight back against entrepreneurial procrastination once and for all.
1. Set Short-Term Deadlines
If each day is flying by without any clear order or deadlines, it’s time to shift your strategy. There’s a common belief that work expands to fit the time available. That means if you leave all week to respond to those important emails, it’s going to take all week.
That being said, if you set a deadline to respond to all emails by Tuesday, odds are this is something you can prioritize. Deadlines can really positively affect our productivity, but make sure they don’t overwhelm you. To keep it simple, still to short-term deadlines that are a reasonable timeframe.
2. Stop Multitasking
Did you know multitasking is nothing but a myth? It’s true. If you want to work smarter not harder and adapt to the entrepreneurial mindset, you need to leave multitasking in the past.
Research shows that humans are unable to process more than one task at a time. While it’s true that around 2% of the population can actually multitask effectively, it’s a good idea to just give up this practice altogether.
Instead, focus on giving all of your attention to one thing at a time. If you find music too distracting, look for other ambient or non-lyrical sounds that could help you stay focused on the task at hand.
3. Work Fewer Hours
While it might sound counterproductive, working fewer hours can actually help fight entrepreneurial procrastination. When you overwork your body (and mind), you start to lose focus. When you lose focus, you can’t perform on a high level.
If you find yourself avoiding important tasks, check-in with yourself. Are you feeling burnt out? Do you need a break?
Working long hours might feel like part of the startup grind, but it could be doing more harm than good. This is one of the mindsets that really set your business back. Instead, make sure you’re putting in efficient, healthy hours and take a break when you need to.
4. Build Your Own Momentum
As the saying goes, an object in motion stays in motion. You don’t need to know anything about physics to understand why this makes sense in your business.
In other words, remain focused on the task at hand until it’s completed or you reach a natural stopping point. Once you have a small victory, keep going.
Let’s say you finally land a big client. This is a huge milestone, and it’s enough to give you more momentum to set the groundwork to not only meet that client’s needs but to also land more clients in the future. Feed off these small wins and keep pushing forward.
Stop Entrepreneurial Procrastination for Good
If you’re struggling with procrastination as a business owner, you’re not the only one. The good news is you don’t have to live this way.
With a few adjustments to your daily strategy, you could feel your mind start getting more excited to get work done. It’s true that not every task will be easy. Sometimes you’ll want to call it quits. Still, it’s the passion that keeps you pushing towards your next big accomplishment even when it seems difficult.