Procrastination – How to EMBRACE Discomfort And Make Real Progress In Your Biz Journey
Procrastination. Time wasting. Busy work. Rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic. Whatever you wanna call it, procrastination can be a major drag for your business.
I always thought of procrastination as totally NOT me. Cause I'm always busy. Ahem. I thought that it was about doing useless unimportant things like rearranging your collection of rare ear wax or reorganising your sock drawer based on percentage of cotton content, instead of cooking dinner. Or something like that.
You see, I felt like everything I was doing was super important and needed doing RIGHT THEN.
Busy or purposeful?
What I had to realise is I was sometimes a little too busy. So busy doing all the things that I was neglecting things that were crucial for my business success.
I was stunned to realise that I was actually sabotaging my business.
I knew I was avoiding jobs I didn't like. Erm, like writing down all my expenses for the month and then actually, oh I dunno, adding them up to see what my business was costing me. Just piddling little tasks like that. Ha.
But seriously, I had to face up to the fact that I am a master procrastinator, and every time I procrastinated I jeopardised the success of what I'd built.
Procrastination = Self Sabotage
The penny dropped in a Skype call with Anna Jonak from The Business School For Mums. I confessed that I hate doing the numbers and avoid them like the plague. Anna simply asked me, ‘What do you think will happen to your business in the future, if you keep avoiding those numbers? How will you measure your success? Will you know how your business is performing?’
We had an amazing discussion about many other things, but this one pulled me up short – how many times do I delay or put off essential business tasks and how is it affecting my business?
Procrastination is basically putting things off that need doing. Important things. Not always urgent, but certainly crucial. It's when you keep putting them off, until they get to a point of crisis or mismanagement.
As I mentioned, for months I put off actually adding up all the numbers for my business, Why? Not JUST because I was busy. Because of course I was. What Mum of three running a business from home isn't busy? Duh.
Procrastinating = Avoiding the truth
It was because I was avoiding the truth. I really didn't want to know what my results were, because I might have to face an uncomfortable truth. Like, maybe some things needed to change. Or I wasn't finding my target market as well as I thought. Or my biz might not be sustainable in this competitive market.
As long as the numbers were hazy and unclear, I didn't have to face these uncomfortable truths. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Right?
Wrong! I love my biz. I love what I do, and every product I handmake feels special. Every order makes me so excited and I dance around like a crazy person. And yet, with all this excitement, I was basically tearing my business down with my own hands.
By refusing to do difficult tasks until they became urgent and unavoidable, I was pulling the bricks from my business wall one at a time and throwing them away.
Move from Avoidance to Clarity
Crazy right? Even more so because when I faced uncomfortable facts and started to do the jobs I avoided, I was able to create a clear path of action through those hazy, grey mists of uncertainty.
I knew that by getting to know my numbers back to front (or at least be able to recognise them in the street) I could see how my business was performing financially.
I could analyse my past performance, and see what needed to change. Even more, I could use that to project where I wanted to be this time next year. I could plan effectively!
I went from feeling vague, confused and powerless, to feeling purposeful, clear and focussed.
It's Still Uncomfortable!
But guess what? I still feel uncomfortable. I still at times have to push myself to sit down with the week's numbers and update them. Sometimes I still run late and have to catch up. But I know – I'm equipped with knowledge now – that stops me going too far down that path again.
Now I know I can push past discomfort and do the work. Gain clarity. Make a plan. Do focussed work towards that plan. And get results.
So stop spinning your wheels. Enter those invoices. Write that about me page. Start up a mailing list. Allocate 20 minutes and just DO IT! Or – outsource it. Sometimes being purposeful is realising that we don't have the skills to complete a task and we need help to make progress.
Your future self will thank you. Not in a cool coming back from the future with weird glasses and a hover board way. But they totally will.
4 Steps to Smash Procrastination!
So here's a recap of what I have learnt (and am learning):
1. Recognise the things that you fear and avoid. Acknowledge them. Don't be an ostrich.
2. Articulate it! Write it down, tell someone, talk it through. Words have power.
3. Work through these questions – What will happen if I don't do it? What will happen if I do do it?
4. Write down a plan to do the thing. Upskill, outsource, or just plain knuckle down and work. Break it down into manageable chunks.
Resources I've found amazeballs:
- being a Member of Business School For Mums (you can find out more here www.businessschoolformums.com )
- ‘Plan It Out’ by Tracy Harris (www.mumswithhustle.com)
- Eisenhowers Urgent Important Matrix for prioritising work ( – introduced to me by Cassie Nguyen of www.eighteenfiftyone.com) – you can read more about it at www.eisenhower.me/eisenhower-matrix/
Lover of colour, words, puns, pattern clash and donuts. Definitely not a perfectionist. Keneena Fanning is the sole creator, maker and doer at Kablooie Store, her micro fashion label full of big bold happy pieces. Kablooie Store’s vision? To create fun fashion pieces for you and your child that look fabulous, and make you feel deep-down happy!
A wife and mum of three, Keneena has worked previously in economics, strategic financing, and project management, and holds a business degree in economics and resources management. True story.
Now, in between dreaming up new colour clashes, sewing and packing orders, and snapping flatlays, Keneena finds joy in the happy chaos of family and church life, loves to exercise and dreams of one day doing one handed pushups. Followed by a pepperoni pizza.
As the founder and CEO of Mums With Hustle, I have the best day job in the world: teaching entrepreneurs how to grow their beautiful businesses online. When I started the business, that was everything I wanted, but since then, it has grown into something much bigger. Now, I get my joy from helping women find their zones of genius within a community that truly celebrates their success. I truly believe that when women choose to band together, we can do anything - and if you feel the same, there’s a place in the MWH community for you.
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