Personal Productivity:
Effects of Procrastination

The effects of procrastination not only cause stress for business owners, it can also negatively impact on the business itself. Of course, we all have a tendency to procrastinate, some more than others, but it’s a habit that you can choose to change.

Business Coaching Insight:

Discipline in the way you think, behave and operate your business has a major impact on your potential to succeed

Self-discipline is one of the most important success factors for small businesses to thrive.

Since it all starts at the top, it is particularly important that you as the business owner are self-disciplined in the way that you operate.

It is also important to hire other people around you who are self-disciplined

Definition of procrastination

There is a distinction between procrastination and consciously planning to do something later.

When you’re avoiding doing something that really ought to be done now, it’s procrastination.

It’s not procrastination however if you consciously decide to do something on Monday so you can take a day off on Friday (as long as you do actually do it on Monday!).

What causes procrastination in business owners?

Some of the typical circumstances that cause procrastination amongst business owners include:

  • The task feels too overwhelming

    Some tasks or projects may be so big and potentially time-consuming that it causes you to put off doing them.

    Examples of this include business planning, which is not necessarily urgent but is certainly important for the business.

    There are three questions you can ask yourself in this situation:

    a) Do I really need to do this task or can I delegate to someone else?

    b) Am I making this more complicated that I really need to?

    c) How can I break it down into smaller baby steps?

  • The task seems too complex

    You might put some tasks off because you don’t really know how to do them and it seems beyond your capability. In this situation, be proactive and find someone who can help you or go and learn some new skills so you can do the task easily.

  • The task is boring/not interesting for you

    For many entrepreneurs and business owners, accounts and book-keeping fall into this category. If you don’t keep your eye on your finances problems can quickly escalate and put your business at risk.

    If that’s not enough of a reason to motivate you to get on with the task, find someone else to do it for you.

    Whenever people are confronted by one of these kinds of tasks they become easily distracted by other non-essential tasks (Facebook, emails etc) and they lose focus.

Negative effects of procrastination on your business

There are a number of ways that procrastination can begin to eat away at the performance of your business:

  • Roadblocks/Bottlenecks – When you start avoiding things it can interrupt the workflow in your business. Then, an accumulation of things that haven’t been done leads stress for you and frustration for other team members

  • Reduced efficiency

  • Damaged reputation – if it gets to the point where the effects of procrastination affects what and when you deliver to customers you are obviously in trouble and it may cause a reputation for tardiness.

  • Missed opportunities – if you’re on top of your workload you’ll also be a much better position to take advantage of new opportunities.

How to stop procrastination occurring in your business

Stopping procrastination really is just about making the decision to not do it.

  • Start by committing to the idea of being the kind of person that doesn’t procrastinate
  • Be disciplined about what you choose to spend your time on – prioritize and plan
  • Dump tasks and projects in the business that are not essential
  • Improve your self management skills, starting with learning time management skills
  • Break big tasks down into manageable baby steps (do a little each day rather than trying to do it all at once)
  • Simplify your life – avoid catching the “busy” disease and delete things from your life that are not necessary
  • Employ self-disciplined people around you (this will have a significant effect on your business)

Business Coaching Questions:

  • What kinds of things do you typically put off or avoid doing?
  • What effects of procrastination have you noticed in your business?
  • In what ways do you need to become more disciplined?

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