You are entrepreneur. A lot of tasks await you on your desk, in your calendar or on your computer.
Yet you let the hours go by, sometimes the days without touching it. You say to yourself "Tomorrow", not without a hint ofanxiety and of guilt. And, the next day in question, the whirlwind of your leader's life company takes you away, just like the day before. The pile of tasks remains in one place, formidable, to taunt you.
Welcome to the managers' club procrastinators !
Don't be too hard on yourself. You are not the only one in this situation and that does not mean at all that you are lazy or irresponsible. In this article, I suggest you take the problem of entrepreneur procrastination head on. We will see together why you procrastinate and how to overcome it!
Recognize the procrastination of the entrepreneur
Definition of procrastination
The definition of procrastination, it is the "tendency to postpone, to systematically put off until the next day". (Definition from the Larousse dictionary.)
But what are you putting off until tomorrow, precisely? Certainly not all of your tasks. You don't spend your days doing nothing, far from it. Very often, the daily life of a business leader is, on the contrary, a veritable ballet of exhausting actions.
Procrastination occurs when the actions that occupy you have nothing to do with your priority objectives. Basically, you get caught up in a frenzy of daily occupations, but these aren't the ones that help you achieve your goals.
Deep down, you realize it. It causes a lot of stress and sometimesanguish.
Signs of procrastination in the entrepreneur
As coach of entrepreneurs and business leadersI have often identified procrastination in my clients. It is materialized by:
- difficulty in organize your day or else to stick to the program that has been set;
- confusion in the prioritization of objectives and actions ;
- a tendency to deal first with what gives satisfaction and to push back what is a source of boredom and / or anxiety (up to the extreme limit of deadlines);
- an overall impression of live in a hurry and of run after time ;
- a strong feeling of guilt.
Obviously, all this is not without risk, both for your business and for your well-being!
The risks of procrastination for business leaders
The consequences are:
- of tasks that accumulate (both routine tasks and tasks important in achieving a particular goal);
- in fact, a waste of time in achieving goals essentials of your business;
- a feeling of devaluation on your own, since you cannot achieve your goals (stress, even depression);
- a life balance impacted at all levels (health, family, etc.).
Moreover, when it comes to life balance, cognitive science has proven that entrepreneurial procrastination is really harmful to the brain. According to the work of Roy F. Baumeister, a famous American psychologist1, the unfinished tasks constitute a huge mental load.
The causes of the procrastination of the entrepreneur
But, by the way ... why are you procrastinating?
Since you know you have important tasks to do, why are you putting them off until tomorrow? So what causes stress and guilt in you? And that you know and suffer the negative effects?
There is a difference between procrastination and laziness or laziness. The springs of the phenomenon are complex. Often you don't identify them yourself. It can be:
- an unconscious fear of reaching your goals: you fear change and disruption of your habits ;
- a lack of confidence in you or in your project : you don't think you're going to get there or that your goals are really relevant;
- a tendency to perfectionism : you are never satisfied with what you do, which ends up demotivating you.
In short, we see that procrastination is as much a question of entrepreneur mindset that of management of time ! This is the reason why I myself work on these two plans with my clients.
My time management tips for procrastinators
The business organization and time management issues of the leader are questions that I am familiar with. I have developed time management methods to help my clients. This allows them to have a more serene professional life and also to develop the efficiency of procedures in the company. In short, it is about manage your time better to gain in efficiency and well-being !
Sort the important actions and the urgent actions of your business
Not all actions and goals are at the same level. There are tasks that are important. Others that are urgent. Some that are both important and urgent.
You have to do this sorting to know in which order to process the tasks. This allows you to give them suitable deadlines and to fight against the famous procrastination of the entrepreneur.
Manage your entrepreneurial tasks in writing
It is essential to classify your tasks in writing.
A very interesting article by Belgian researchers Vidal and Heylighen showed that the human brain is made to have ideas and to think, and not at all to memorize. However, most people use it as a ranking system. No wonder if you saturate afterwards, demotivate yourself and procrastinate!
Also according to psychologist Roy F. Baumeister, the mental load of an unfinished task is lightened, not when it is finished, but as soon as you are assured that it will be completed one day.2
In short, adopt a concrete organization with agenda or timeline and task reminders at the right time to clear your mind!
Break down the tasks to be done for your business
Some tasks are unique. For example, relaunch a given customer.
Others are a set of small tasks that follow one another over time. For example, going to a trade show across the country. In this case, you need to choose a means of transport, book accommodation, prepare flyers, check show attendees to possibly schedule appointments, etc.
These types of tasks often cause procrastination because they are impressive in volume and you don't know where to start. It is therefore important to break down. For example, in our example above:
- check the dates to be sure of its availability;
- find out about the surrounding accommodation;
- compare modes of transport;
Each sub-task is much easier to tackle.
Schedule the tasks of each of your managerial days
You have defined the tasks in terms of their priority and importance and you have put them in your calendar. From then on, it becomes easier to prepare the schedule for each day… And stick to it.
Be careful not to overload the boat. Plan a list of actions that can be carried out in one day. Otherwise, at the end of it, you will be discouraged that you did not keep your forecasts despite your best efforts.
My mindset advice against entrepreneurial procrastination
Develop your entrepreneurial mindset
As we have seen, procrastination is a very psychological phenomenon that says a lot about you.
The mindset is your psychological capital. Your optimism, your trust in you, your resilience in the face of obstacles help you keep the motivation and to act.
I advise you to read my article on mindset development. It helps you set up valuable reflexes and routines to fight procrastination and develop your entrepreneurial mindset.
Process the right task at the right time
A lot of entrepreneurs put themselves under hellish pressure to be on top and manage everything at the same time. Paradoxically, they develop such a mental load that they no longer find the energy to perform the necessary tasks at the right time.
It is quite the reverse of the flow theory (or flow). It is easier to complete tasks when you reach a optimal state of performance and concentration. A bit like athletes when they are "on top of their game".
It is a question of both:
- well-being (you feel that you are in an ideal shape to tackle such and such a task head-on);
- skill (your capacities are in adequacy with the task to be carried out).
If you have to take care of a task that is too easy for you, you will be bored. You are therefore very likely to procrastinate to avoid it. If the task is too complex or just does not fit your area of expertise, you risk distressing. And so, again, to postpone the action!
It is therefore wise for a business owner to learn to to delegate, even to automate tasks, rather than wanting to take care of everything at all costs… and finally leave everything behind!
Analyze your flaws as a business leader
Sometimes goodwill is not enough. We all have a biased opinion about ourselves. It is difficult to objectively understand our flaws and therefore to work to eliminate them.
Does your procrastination reveal a lack of confidence in you ? A overload of responsibilities and an fear of the scalpvs ? Boredom, even a depression hidden?
You need to know this to move forward. At this point, the objective opinion of a entrepreneurship coach change everything. It helps you change your point of view and see things from a new angle. This awareness then makes it possible to do substantive work much more easily, both at the level psychological (mindset) thatorganizational (time management).
Is this your case? How do you feel about your entrepreneurial procrastination?
I am entrepreneurship coach and specialized in management of time, stress management and in mindset development. I use proven personal development methods to help business leaders and their teams: relaxation therapy, awakening and awareness exercises, in-depth work on lifting of psychological blockages. I also offer efficient processes for a better organization of your agenda. With this goal: that you gain both time and efficiency and develop a fulfilling entrepreneurial life!
Contact me for a first appointment completely free !
1 Roy F. Baumeister and EJ Masicampo, “Unfulfilled Goals Interfer with Tasks Than Require Executive Functions”, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 47, n ° 2 (2011)
2 Roy F. Baumeister and EJ Masicampo, “Consider It Done! Plan Making Can Eliminate the Cognitive Effects of Unfulfilled Goals ”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 101, n ° 4 (2011)