The Sales Consultancy Blog
Stop Your Procrastination NOW (not later!)
20 June 2011
Years ago, we were (and still are being) introduced to all these labour saving devices. All this meant we’d have lots more time on our hands to enjoy life, enjoy our friends and families and live a life of ongoing leisure.
So what happened then? Everyone I meet is as busy as ever trying to make a living and it’s taking more time than ever!
Which means we cannot afford to procrastinate, yet it’s a very common admission of attendees on every training and mentoring programme I deliver. We know it holds us back but…
So – high time to take a look at procrastination – and not put it off any more!!
Procrastination is one of the biggest enemies you have when it comes to sales and marketing. Thinking about what you need to do to get that business in is all very well – taking the first step towards your objective is critical.
Putting off the least productive items in your day is a useful talent. Putting off the crucial stuff is a bad move. Your productivity goes right down, your achievements are zilch and before you know where you are you’re stressed.
What to do about it?…
Here are six pointers to help you overcome procrastination.
1. Plan your day before your day!
It’s an old cliche but people don’t plan to fail – they do sometimes fail to plan. Without a plan of action in place before you arrive for work it’s too easy to get caught up in ‘stuff’. The phone rings, someone pops into the office and you spend your time responding to the loudest voices rather than to the most important priorities. A plan of action, prepared the night before is like a roadmap for the next day. You know what your next step needs to be to get you into productive action and away from procrastination. With a prioritised plan, you hit the ground running and get early momentum to your day.
2. Work with a clean desk.
Get organised. When I mentor business owners, managers and sales people, the desks they operate from are often filled with files stacked so high they’re a health and safety hazard. Often accompanied by empty drinks cups, sandwich crumbs, half the world’s supply of sticky notes, it goes on.
No No No. If you’re serious about working to your utmost potential and actually achieving results on an efficient, consistent basis, you’ve got to be organised and look organised. A cluttered desk sends a signal – to your own mind and to others around you.
Cut the chances of distraction, get a decent filing system, get rid of old stuff, so that you can concentrate on one IMPORTANT thing at a time on your desk.
3. Reduce large projects to bite-sized pieces.
Can’t face that big project? Then break it down into smaller chunks so you chip away over time. Work out when your deadline is. Impose your own if you need to – and work out how much time you need to spend on this project each week, day and so on.
Be sure to plan for interruptions. Most people get them, so expect them and assess your required time accordingly. For example, tomorrow you plan to work on a three-hour project. Build in four hours to your timetable as, unless you are very lucky, you’ll have to deal with interruptions, meetings, etc.
Leading personal development guru Brian Tracy suggests you ‘Eat That Frog’ first thing in the morning, meaning get the most challenging or unappetising tasks out of the way first thing. If you have two frogs staring at you, eat the ugliest one first! You’ll have a much better day rather than letting those frogs stare at you all day until you ‘get round to them’.
4. Plan around interruptions.
Interruptions tend to occur in identifiable patterns. You may get most of your interruptions early in the day rather than later in the day. You may get most of your interruptions early in the week rather than later in the week. So, if you plan a big project make sure it works with your normal schedule of activity – don’t create stress for yourself before you begin. As soon as your interruptions arrive they will re-focus your attention, causing you to procrastinate what you really want to do. It’s so much easier swimming downstream with the current rather than bucking the tide. Therefore, plan those larger projects for quieter times of your day and week when you tend to get fewer interruptions. And if you can and really need to – ask for no interruptions. Trade this for a period when you commit to being available for others later in the day
5. Assign deadlines.
Have you ever failed to achieve a New Year’s resolution? If so, that probably happened because you didn’t set a deadline. Deadlines will move you to action. Without a deadline, things end up in our ‘soon as possible’ pile, a Never Never Land where items might get attended to someday, when you get the time. Create a deadline and you will be moved to action.
When prioritising your work, ask yourself, what’s the FBI here – The Fastest Business Impact? This will help concentrate the mind on what you really should be doing. Keep checking in with the FBI test and you’ll notice an impact on your sales.