Consulting Tip: Give Procrastination the Heave-Ho

I have a nifty little calendar on my desk called The Woman’s Advantage. I give them as gifts each year, and my clients love them, too. Each day has a piece of wisdom from a successful woman.

Well, I was a little behind in pulling off the pages, 🙂 and in doing so yesterday, I came across two related to procrastination:

  • Action is faster and more satisfying then procrastination. Act Now. (Joyce Shevelev-Putzer, Famous Marks)
  • Start your day by doing the three things you dread, then get on with the good stuff. (Ruth A. Wilford, Renovations Ruth)

I’ll admit—I’m not a procrastinator by nature. If something needs to be done, I do it. I hate stuff hanging over my head. And I’d rather get the stuff I enjoy least done first, so it’s out of the way.

BUT…sometimes even us non-procrastinator types get stuck when things pile up. We’re slammed, so the first thing we let slide is the stuff that’s no fun and not urgent. Next thing we know, that un-fun stuff is urgent and looming on our to-do list, piled in the corner, under our desks, or anyplace else where it’s out of the way.

Bottom line, as business owners, there’s always something we need to do that we’re not really thrilled to do. But it’s better for our business, our productivity, and our sanity if we don’t put it off. So what to do?
Five Ways to Have Fun Doing Un-Fun Stuff

  1. Have a procrastination party. A what? Gather your to-dos and get together with friends or colleagues who have to dos and do them in the same room. Jen Jackson, Angi Roberts, and I did that to clean up WIC’s document repository, and it made ever so much more enjoyable. I find this works well in combination with tip number two.
  2. Have a glass of wine or two. This is good for filing and similar tasks—if you’re not inclined to follow tip number five.
  3. Reward yourself. Who said reward systems are just for kids. Complete a mind-numbing, scary, hard, or in-some-other-way-un-fun task? Reward yourself, whether it’s as simple as having a cup of tea or as grand as a spa day.
  4. Do the “yucky” stuff first. I have to admit, I like Ruth’s approach. You don’t have to make it three things you dread each day. Depending on the tasks, one may be enough torture. 😉 The point is do what you don’t like first, and follow it up with a task that you truly enjoy. Anticipation, anticipation, it’s making me work.
  5. Don’t wear all the hats. Outsourcing has been a godsend for me. I wish I’d done it sooner. I didn’t hire an employee; I simply sub out tasks. Don’t like filing? There are people who can do just that. Bookkeeping keeping you up at night? Outsource. Errands weighing you down? Send someone else to do them.I know this last one is a big hurdle for many of us, with cost and/or the time-to-train big reasons for not outsourcing. But it’s not as big an expense as it seems once you get started. And the relief you feel knowing you’re caught up and that you didn’t have to do the dreaded task yourself is priceless.

So what about you? What’s your trick for getting deeds done?

avery@aveconsulting.com' About Avery Horzewski

Principal of AVE Consulting, Avery is a marketing and customer communications consultant, and serves on WIC's board of directors as president. As a consultant, she works with companies of all sizes to develop compelling, persuasive, and effective customer-centric marketing and communication strategies that encompass everything from websites to social media to print collateral. Avery assumed the role of WIC president in January 2010, after overseeing the organization’s marketing, PR, social media, and website initiatives for three years.

Comments

  1. Really a big fan of # 3- Reward Yourself
    so many neglect to do this and just move on to another task. 🙁

    My trick for getting deeds done is simply committing!! Once I dive in, it’s “all action”.

    Getting people to JUMP in rather than tip toe to tasks is KEY.

    Thanks for your wisdom!!

    sw

  2. I agree Steve. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts! I’m now off to jump into my next project! 🙂

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