Is procrastination killing your startup?

- April 10, 2014 3 MIN READ

Personally I found that when you go from working in a company to working for yourself, being in charge of your own time can actually be extremely challenging, especially if procrastination sets in. A lot of pain and stress can arise from putting things off.

We all have the desire to create or build something as an entrepreneur, yet mustering up the motivation to execute is a different matter. The good news is, killing your procrastination is easy to do when you put your mind to it.

Create a To Do List

It seems basic, but it perplexes me on how many people in the startup space don’t plan their day. Write down everything, the big tasks and the small tasks. As you work through your day check off each of the items on your list. Mentally you will feel like you have accomplished much more each day. If you don’t like wasting paper, set yourself a digital to do list on an application such as Asana. Some tips:

  • Focus your list on what you would normally put off, not the things that are habitual.
  • Set time-frames for your items to be done by. There are only so many hours during the day.
  • Check your list periodically through your day to rank your items based on highest priority. Most important items should always be tackled first.
  • Write everything down that comes up throughout the day. Every single to do or things you want to do at that specific moment. Don’t stray from the current list, that is procrastination – table those things for later.

Do three-minute tasks.

When you have something that you don’t want to do or are about to put off, ask yourself “will this take me less than two minutes to finish?” Anything that you want to put off but takes three minutes. Just get it done and get it off the list – these are the things that end up being pushed out for days and niggle at the back of your mind.

Power Hours

When I used to lead sales teams I would schedule in each day, two hours of power. These force people to focus 100% on what they are doing and often are able to yield great results in a very short amount of time. When you are in a state of just working, without checking emails, taking phone calls and staying off social media the amount of work you get completed increases ten fold.

Remove ALL distractions.

This is something that myself and A LOT of startup founders I have spoken to always struggle with. We tend to view distractions as being facebook or instagram – but the reality is, we get distracted by grand plans and dreams – ALL THE TIME.

  • When you are working on a current startup idea, don’t get distracted by ANOTHER startup idea and spend 3 hours of your day doing a mind map for that.
  • If you are thinking that maybe one day you would like to write a book about how you achieved all this success, maybe waiting until you have actually kicked arse with your current venture before you spend a couple of hours planning out the chapters and researching publishers could be a good idea.
  • If you have a problem with internet surfing when working, try using the application Rescue Time to save you from yourself.

Stop trying to be so God-damn perfect!

In a recent article by Jessica Stillman she pointed out that perfectionism and fear of failure are at the root of some procrastination. To move past this, entrepreneurs need to begin listening to their inner monologue and flagging any less than productive thinking.

Time to start that Check List?