How to Eradicate Procrastination Before It Sinks Your Business

Eradicate ProcrastinationChances are excellent your online business will fail.

Research shows that nine out of ten new blogs fail. It also shows that 90% of all online entrepreneurs aren’t making decent money.

You’re at risk.

In fact, unless you’re diligent, you’ll be the next statistic.

Procrastination is the problem.

You know the feeling. You’ve decided to write a helpful article today. But somehow, you’ve been really busy with all kinds of urgent tasks and you haven’t written a word.

And it’s 4 p.m. already!

So you’ll try again tomorrow.

Only to realize that once again, for some truly unfathomable reason, you leave the most important work ‘til last, and you don’t finish it before the end of your day.

It all seems so mysterious, as if you’re working against your own best intentions.

Warning: You have an identity crisis

You have Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde parts to your identity. One wants to work cleverly, be successful and achieve his dreams. The other wants to waste time and remain where he is.

If you understand what’s going on, and know what to do in the midst of this identity crisis, you will eradicate procrastination before it gets to the jugular of your business.

Let’s first thoroughly define what we mean by procrastination.

What is procrastination?

Procrastination is an ongoing postponement of important tasks.

You have identified what you need to do (like writing excellent blog posts), but you just can’t stick to the plan.

You think sheer guts and determination is all you need. But what you need is more complex than that.

Your focus is the key. If you don’t focus, procrastination will get you.

It’s subtle. It creeps up on you. And before you know it, inactivity sinks your business and your motivation.

Three surprising causes of procrastination

In order to eliminate procrastination, you need to understand its causes.

These thoughts, emotions and attitudes get you to postpone important work instead of sticking to the plan and kicking butt.

1. Is anxiety ruining your day?

Anxiety comes right before failure.

When you are anxious, your work will show it.

Anxiety is the fear that what you’re planning won’t happen. And, sadly, indulging anxiety only strengthens your doubts in your ability to achieve success.

Anxiety doesn’t feel nice.

Eventually you give up. “This venture won’t succeed. I’d much rather experience freedom from the torment, and take on something fresh.”

2. Feeling overwhelmed yet?

Too much good advice is bad for your business.

Many supposedly helpful voices are out there. They all have different advice.

And some of these voices skillfully get you believing what they say.

As a result, all the online business advice overwhelms you. Worse, your to-do list is full with all the “critically essential” tasks that these gurus gave you.

Soon you tell yourself: “I just have too much to do. I can’t meet my earnings target in the time frame that I set myself.”

Overwhelm is a dangerous threat to your business.

3. Why discontent will stop you in your tracks

We all have goals. They are necessary and helpful as we chart our progress to running successful businesses.

Yet goals have a dark side. If we daydream all day about achieving them, we start disliking where we are now. We feel unhappy all day. We want success so bad we become discontent with our current situation.

This discontent turns into a strong rebellion that spoils every day. Work becomes effort. You’re no longer enjoying yourself.

You start procrastinating. Soon you’ll find something more enjoyable to do.

Thankfully, an alternative ending exists to your online business tale.

How to eradicate procrastination

Focus is the key to overcoming procrastination.

And the focus coin has two sides. The obvious one is external focus.

  • Work on your project every day.
  • Make solid progress to avoid unnecessary stress.
  • Keep tasks doable by breaking them into smaller ones.
  • Cut external distractions while you’re working.

This is the type of advice we’ve been receiving from productivity experts for decades. And it’s important.

Yet, if you look at the causes of procrastination above, you’ll see they originate from your inner realm.

Without inner focus, every measure you take to improve your external focus is worthless.

Inner focus: The key to slaying the procrastination dragon

Inner focus is the dragon slayer that will save you and your business from procrastination.

All the causes of procrastination above come from your mind. Your thoughts compulsively run loose without supervision, and that’s the root of the problem.

These compulsive, critical and negative thoughts cause emotions and feelings that destroy your productivity.

So you need to learn to manage your thoughts. You need to learn the art of inner focus, or presence.

Presence is the ability to be alone with something and to avoid other thoughts or emotions from entering the fray. Presence is the ability to focus all of your attention on a single item.

With productivity, being present means giving your full focus to whatever you need to get done. For the time it takes to complete that particular task, you exclude everything else from your awareness.

This prevents negative emotions like stress, anxiety, doubt, overwhelm or discontent from distracting you.

Why presence changes everything

Presence adds an unmistakable quality to everything you do. Anything you do with complete inner focus shines with a mysterious quality.

A meal cooked with complete focus will easily beat a meal quickly slapped together with a lack of focus. If you wish you were somewhere else while performing a task, it shows in the result of that work.

Remember the last time you rushed something? It always shows.

In the online marketplace, where quality is becoming a business necessity, presence will be an invaluable aide to anyone trying to grow her fan base or her income.

How to practice presence

In a way, practicing presence is similar to physical exercise. You’ll see some results immediately, but the big pay-off of living with more permanent presence takes hard work.

Make living with presence one of your life goals.

Remember, your compulsive thoughts are the problem. The idea is to create regular gaps in your stream of thought. Over time, these gaps turn into longer and longer periods of pure awareness, or presence.

In the absence of thought, you work from the still awareness that is your core identity. This makes you much sharper and more creative.

You’re also able to recognize and intercept negative thoughts.

As soon as you feel negative, take a couple of deep breaths. Give your complete attention to the air flowing in and out through your nostrils. You’ll immediately feel a sense of peace and joy returning.

Now get back to what you were doing and give that task your full attention. As you work, be completely present with it. Also stay aware of your breath and the feeling of aliveness inside you.

Watch out! Losing yourself in your work is also not good

It’s possible to get so engrossed with your work that you’re becoming edgy and irritable in your quest to finish the current task. This sometimes happens so subtly, the only sign is a bad mood shortly after you finish working.

Working in short, powerful bursts is a good idea. Focus completely on your current task for about 30 minutes. Then take a five-minute break.

Before you start working again, take a couple of conscious breaths. Become present. And commit to focus completely on that one task for 30 minutes as you start again.

This will help you maintain a strong inner focus.

Can you stay cool, calm and collected?

It’s an illusion to think that work can’t be enjoyable.

If you’re not enjoying your work, you’re surely not present as you work.

And this is tragic! You’re unhappy and your work lacks power.

It’s no longer okay to achieve things simply by shutting up and working hard. We need to bring a strong inner focus to whatever we do, especially as entrepreneurs who are taking risks in an attempt to create a better future.

Work that’s done with negative emotions will lack quality. Work done with presence shines.

Presence changes the perception of your work in the eyes of others.

Staying cool, calm and collected as you work should be your foremost pursuit.

The rest will follow.

Only you can take control of your inner realm. No one can help you with this. Are you going to allow compulsive thoughts and emotions to run riot with your future success?

I thought not.

The next time you sit down to do what only you can do, be sure to do so with a strong inner focus. Remain present with whatever you are busy with for as long as it takes to finish. That will make all the difference.






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Comments

  1. This is so true. Procrastination can ruin a lot of things! I find that one of the most effective ways to combat it is to divide tasks into smaller ones so that you can do it easily and keep track of it daily. Great post, thank you!

    • Dries Cronje says:

      I agree. To break down projects into smaller tasks keeps your focus on the present moment and removes the feeling of overwhelm that comes from seeing how far you still need to go.

  2. I see so many clients overwhelmed by the work on their desks, and the email flowing in. They spend precious time every hour complaining about it and avoiding it. If they just sat down and WORKED on it it could (might) get better.

    Focus. Productivity’s best friend.

    • Dries Cronje says:

      So true Brad. If we only worked with more focus.

      And procrastination starts by feeling unsatisfied and complaining. Sometimes we need to shut up and do the work. Then we’ll feel MUCH better.

  3. Dries,

    I have bookmarked your article. Am dealing with procrastination right now. Ugh! But am embracing vs. fleeing. ;)

    Just last night, I came across this post. (First this site, then yours – the universe is sending me answers!)

    Really interesting perspective and discussion, thought you might want to chime in.

    http://calnewport.com/blog/2011/07/15/how-to-cure-deep-procrastination/

    Best,
    Alison

    • Dries Cronje says:

      Thanks for the link Alison. I’ll check it out…

      Good luck with the procrastination. I hope you overcome it real soon :)

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  1. […] his article “How to Eradicate Procrastination” productivity coach Dries Cronje explains the yin and yang of inner and outer focus to stop […]