This past Sunday, February 9, 2014, I was on the pulpit in my local Church where I preached a sermon titled: Hindrances to Moving Forward and How to overcome them – with special focus on Procrastination! The sermon is part of an on-going sermon series in my local church.
Realizing that the topic is one that is very relevant to the theme of this blog, I have decided to do a post based on the sermon. I’m sure that this post will be of great help to you as you’ll agree with me that procrastination is one demon that bloggers and online entrepreneurs have to contend with at one time or the other.
I’ve tried as much as possible to restrict the content to areas where it concerns blogging and marketing online. But even with this the post is a lengthy one. But don’t let that deter you. Take your time in reading through and I can guarantee that you will definitely gain something from it.
First, What Really Is Procrastination?
Though, the term is defined variously, basically it means willingly delaying to do something. It is the act of putting off tasks to a later date.
Procrastination may manifest as the inability to consistently take action in order to finish what you started or the inability of getting started in the first place.
Now, if you are sincere you’ll agree that as a blogger, entrepreneur, marketing professional, social media strategist or whatever you may tag yourself you may have come face to face with this monster at one time or the other.
Why putting off doing something might just be a normal human action, where it becomes a habit that you struggle with, procrastination becomes a deadly disease with damaging effects which must be dealt with.
But, Why Do We Procrastinate?
What are the causes of procrastination? Why are many plagued by this killer of dreams?
There are actually many reasons for procrastinating. But basically it has to do with who we are. Just like the program that runs a computer a procrastinator may only be responding to their inbuilt program! But this is actually a chronic situation.
The following are some of the causes of procrastination:
1. Personal Convenience
Humanly we always want to do things when we think it is most convenient for us. Pain is something we abhor as humans. When pain is involved we will always find some excuse to delay what needs to be done.
But do you know that many take that as a license for being lazy? To them making money online is simply about joining some over-hyped program, work 3 hours a week and then the money will start flowing in. they want to call this the internet life style.
But unfortunately, things don’t work that way – not online. The result is that many who have that wrong notion end up procrastinating, putting off the “hard work” and waiting for some “push button” solution!
This is actually a big one.
Many people procrastinate because they are not able to know which direction to take. As a blogger or a solopreneur working online, you occupy different roles in your business. For any action to be taken you need first to take a decision. If for any reason you are indecisive, this will delay action and this could have adverse effect on your business.
This may come in different ways.
Most times it is the fear of failure. This could manifest with questions like, what if I start this and I then make a mess of it? What if I can’t pull this through since I don’t know what really involved?
As these fears well up in the mind, the whole senses would become numb and the desire to take action would completely be taken away. The result is procrastination.
Most of us are perfectionists, to a fault!
We always want to do everything with a touch of perfection. But unfortunately, this turns out to be a problem as it can lead to procrastination. We may spend too much time analyzing what needs to be done that we end up not doing anything about it.
A case of analysis paralysis!
Another way perfectionism manifest is in looking out for perfect conditions before doing anything. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to realize that perfect conditions is a rarity. The Holy Book has warning for this:
“Whoever watches the wind will never plant. Whoever looks at the clouds will never harvest!”
Looking for perfect conditions or simply seeking to do everything perfectly all the time can push you into the realm of procrastination.
How to Overcome Procrastination
There are a few things you can do to overcome procrastination. Here are some of them:
1. Probe The Problem
Why do you really procrastinate? Look inside of you. As mentioned above, most times the problem is who you are. You must understand that we manifest our real self by the way we live. Most times procrastination is only a reflection of who we are inside – the unseen scripts that is your makeup!
It is important therefore that you probe the problem. If need be seek help.
2. Set Your Priorities
Don’t rob Peter to pay Paul!
When you don’t have your time planned out with the right priorities set, you may major in the minors while the majors suffer! Putting off a task because there is no time for it right now may ultimately result in more load of work. a bigger problem.
Prioritizing will also help you live your life in your own terms instead of what others are expecting from you. Spend a few minutes or hours planning out the day’s activities. A to-do-list with set time for finishing each task will help you make the best use of each day.
3. Learn to Focus
I have written about this severally in the past few days. But it will not be out of place to repeat it here.
One thing all us will agree on without fail is the fact that there are so many distractions online. If you truly want to achieve your dream therefore you need focus. You must work on your mental and physical faculties to know what to focus on at every point in time.
If you have a to-do-list as stated above, then you are half way through this. However, simply having a to-do-list is not enough. You need self-discipline. You must train yourself therefore to constantly focus on the task at hand. This way you can truly beat the distractions around.
4. Just do it!
Ok, This may not be new to you. But the fact remains that this is a big cure for procrastination. I know that there are times when you just feel like not doing anything even when you know you NEED to do something. Your feelings may actually be the procrastinator insider you trying to rear its head. The best thing to do in times like these is to “force” yourself to that thing you feel like not doing.
of course, most times it is not easy doing this. But the more you practice “forcing” yourself even when you feel like not doing; those inner scripts will soon get the message and will readjust to cooperate with you!
5. Partner with others
Most times we need someone to “keep an eye’ on us. Trying to overcome procrastination on our own may not work most times. But a constant reminder from a partner or a friend may help cure the demon of procrastination.
You can form a partnership with a friend and then set targets on what you want accomplished. The members then monitor the progress of one another. Partnerships like these will greatly help to overcome procrastination.
Like someone rightly said, procrastination is the thief of time. Now if you know that time is your greatest asset in life, you would not let procrastination steal it from you. I like what the Holy Book has to say about this:
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the times, because the days are evil.”
Indeed the days are evil. You don’t know what the next second would bring. You only have the NOW. You must therefore make the best use of it.
Procrastination is indeed a killer of dreams. It’s your duty to stop it!
Over to you: Do you have problems with procrastination? Ever experienced some unpleasant situations as a result of procrastination? Share with us in your comments below!