You snooze, you lose. Many of us have heard that expression before, but few really understand it. It’s more than just a four-syllable phrase that rhymes; it’s a philosophy.
‘Snooze’ refers to the snooze button on your alarm. More than about sleeping or being lazy, we’re talking about that terrible little habit of hitting the snooze button; of putting off waking up to later; of putting things off to later in general. If it applies to one thing, chances are that habit will come up on other things, too.
That’s right, we’re talking about procrastination – the entrepreneur’s worst enemy.
Honestly, it is anyone and everyone’s worst enemy, period. If you’re someone who needs to get things done, wants to get things done, but somehow has terrible time management skills and a nasty habit of letting unfinished things pile up, you are not alone. Welcome to the club.
And this club isn’t about sitting together in a circle and singing happy songs called “This Can Wait!” or “Let’s Do That Later!… And Later!” No, this club is about dealing with this infuriating habit now.
Let’s go right ahead and admit it, because each and every one of us are guilty: we ALL procrastinate. Sometimes. Some more often than others. The point is, we’re all on the same boat here, and we’re going to get this habit out of our way with a few simple hacks to understand it and overcome it. Implement the following 7 tips to take that procrastinator in you and turn it to professional instead:
- Eliminate Options
Let’s take a quick peek into how your mind works.
You arrive home after work, to find: dishes you haven’t washed, laundry you haven’t done, clean clothes you haven’t folded, a desk full of things you haven’t cleared. Oh, and you haven’t taken the car to the carwash. But you’re tired, you came from work and the gym, and deserve some time to relax. That’s right, single guys, we’re talking to you. You want to know what all those different things have in common? You haven’t done any of them.
Solution to Scenario 1:
This might sound crazy, but you’re going to clean the dishes. And do the laundry. And clear your desk, while waiting for that laundry to finish. Game of Thrones can wait.
Things get postponed when you give yourself the option to postpone it. Don’t make it an option – getting it done means one less problem in your life.
- Look for the reward, not the problems
Leaving something unfinished once you’ve already started it is a mental thing. Your mind decides to leave it, often because it feels that it “takes too long”, when in fact, you just need to put in the time to finish it. That feeling of it taking too long means you’re thinking of it as a problem, something unpleasant.
Change your perception. Cut out any negative associations and just be practical in your approach to the task at hand. When you focus on the end-result you want and how rewarding that feels, for some reason you end up getting out of your own way and getting it done.
- Back against the wall
Remember a long time ago, when we said to not think of problems? This time, think of problems. Think of all the problems you have, or rather, the consequences that would happen if you “leave it for later”: the disappointments, the conflicts, the blame, the lost time, the missed opportunities. The room suddenly feels a lot smaller, doesn’t it? This opposite approach, if applied correctly, can be very effective in making you take action.
You stayed up late preparing for a presentation, because you started late. Your alarm rings the next day, the day where you need to present. The consequences if you keep hitting that snooze button? You wake up late, you leave in a rush, you forget things, you’re stressed and you’re angry because you missed the train.
Missing that train is the perfect analogy to what procrastination does to your business. You’re angry at yourself, because inside, you know it’s worse than having simply “earned nothing” – you’ve just lost an opportunity. You snooze, you lose. Remind yourself that, again and again. As a direct seller, you get compensated based on the sales you make. Let’s make them happen.
Procrastinators are very good at making excuses. Those excuses are a way to “justify” why the problem is still there. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how many excuses you come up with. Why? Because the problem is still there. The excuses are an illusion, a false reason to cover what is plain and simple – the only problem is you not taking action to solve it. Don’t waste time trying to justify. Execute, and make yourself proud.
- Face it
People often mistake procrastination for laziness, when in fact, it’s fostered from evasiveness. You’re evading the task at hand in favour of something else that makes you feel better. The problem is, that task won’t go anywhere until it’s done. Every time you notice yourself avoiding something dull but necessary, run back, because you know what makes you feel good? Getting it done and out of the way.
- Self-discipline = Freedom
Remember scenario 2? No one wants to be that person. Children typically associate discipline with rules, restrictions. You, however, as an adult and a professional, value self-discipline. You’re aware of the freedom it unlocks.
You started preparing your presentation a month ago. You’ve also made more connections and they’re interested in attending. The night before, you went to sleep early. When the alarm rings on that day, you wake up, enjoy your morning coffee, and leave to catch the train. You arrive early and smile while you present; you’re calm and confident. Now that’s the morning of a boss.
- Don’t put it off, check it off
Were you ever told to write things down? This is an important, if not the most important habit to have. Why? Because it gives you one of the most rewarding feelings: accomplishment. Writing down a to-do list, making it clear for yourself what you need to do the day before, so that you can check it off throughout the day – a free, and healthy, source of dopamine. You feel good as you check them off, because you’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do!
Follow your leader’s advice; set those targets, think of the exact things you need to do to reach it and write them down. Allocate those things as daily tasks; the bigger the task, the greater you’ll feel once you complete it.
There you have it. A few shifts in mindset and some neat little habits to get you going. To summarise, let’s put it this way: if you’re someone who likes having problems, then procrastination is great. Things will “get done eventually”? Sure, but that doesn’t sound very professional, does it?
A true professional knows when it’s time to act. So, if you’re someone who likes feeling good and feeling truly free, in work and in life, then you know what you need to do.
Success is available to anyone. Time to get up and get yours!
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