Are you like so many business owners out there who still have a mahoosive list of things you’re getting round to? Do you have that one thing that’s always number two on your to do list but somehow it never quite makes it to number one!
You could call this procrastinating, you could call it faffing; you might think it’s because you’re disorganised or terrible at prioritising. The reality is probably a whole lot simpler though.
Here’s an example of something I’d been getting around to for about the last 3 years. I’m using this to show you the three simple reasons we put things off, and the three steps you can follow to help you stop this and make 2018 the year of seriously getting your stuff done!
1. Do you know how to do it?
This is a breeding ground for putting things off but often we don’t realise this is why we’re avoiding something. Take my own example: I’ve been active on social media for my business for about 5 years now. I’ve learned over that time how best to use Facebook, twitter and Instagram so I’m quite confident that I know what kind of things to post, when, why and how.
Linked In is the one place that I continually said I wanted to be more active but always had an excuse not to. If you’d asked me why, I would have given you the typical excuse about not really having the time to post consistently and not wanting to do half a job. And that was the answer I was happily giving to myself too.
The underlying reasons though were actually things like:
- Uncertainty about the platform – it’s a more formal platform than Facebook isn’t it, so do I have to post really sensible, profound articles all the time?
- Questions about engagement – how do I get my posts seen by enough of the right people to make my effort worthwhile?
- And the crux of it all – how could I find the answers to these questions without having to spend hours studying or researching?
The simple answer is that I wasn’t sure how to use the platform effectively or how to learn that quickly and easily .
I didn’t really know how!
Once I met somebody who offered me a very simple, step by step programme to answer all of these questions though, it became really easy to make this the number one item on my to do list at very long last!
2. Do you know why you should do it?
If you have a complete understanding of how to do something but you still find yourself continually avoiding doing it, then there’s a strong possibility that it just doesn’t have a clear enough purpose for you. Can you see how the action will help your business? Or does it just feel like something you’re supposed to do even though it isn’t going to have that much of an impact?
Obviously not everything you do in your business can have huge impact. But you should be able to see how every task links into your business goals or your growth plan.
Take my own Linked In example. Over the last few months my own long term goals have shifted towards moving more of my services to online group programmes rather than face to face support. This means building a stronger brand and reputation online.
Suddenly I had a much clearer understanding of why I should get more active on Linked In.
Taking action became much easier.
3. Do you simply hate doing it?
If you know exactly how to do something and can clearly see how and why it will benefit your business but you’re still putting it off, then the third question you have to ask yourself is this: how do you actually feel about doing it?
Bored? Terrified? Exhausted?
Unless you’re spectacularly disciplined you will almost always delay doing things that you don’t like doing. That’s simple human nature. In which case you need to look for a way to change your approach to these things to make them more enjoyable. It may be that going back to question 2 and getting really clear on how these things actually link to your business goals will give you more motivation to complete them. Focus on the reasons and the benefits and not on the detail of the task.
And if that still isn’t possible then you need to look for opportunities to streamline, delegate or outsource these things so you can stop putting them off.
In case you’re wondering, I signed up for an 8 week Linked In Mastermind Programme from the start of November. I now have three times as many contacts as I did, each of my last 3 posts has been viewed over 7000 times and I’m receiving inbound enquiries almost daily. I’m seriously glad I stopped putting it off!