Don’t allow preparation to become procrastination


Starting a business can often be a worrisome decision, especially if you have never done it before. It is so easy to spend months, or even years, researching best practices to avoid potential pitfalls. But procrastination can also be just as big a hindrance to becoming an entrepreneur, especially if all your friends and family will be watching and you do not want to be viewed as a failure.

Despite being told that a large percentage of business start-ups fail, we all like to think that the sooner we are prepared, the better our chances of success. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as an inability to manage negative emotions (such as anxiety and boredom) and flawed thinking patterns (which make a task seem harder than it really is) can sometimes be a deterrent.

It is common to feel overwhelmed in today’s fast-paced world, which often causes budding entrepreneurs to drag their feet and become distracted. Ideas for developing a business may take a few months or more to flower, but when the novelty wears off, your mind rebels, motivation drops and your brain thinks: “My hard work isn’t being rewarded; this is challenging. I cannot do this.”

Everyone knows a successful business takes grit, perseverance and strong principles. Therefore, instead of waiting for motivational lightning to strike, identify the steps required to complete a task and choose the best solution. Some people fear failure so intensely that they opt to cut corners to save time.

Throughout your quest you may feel good about yourself due to the thought of becoming an entrepreneur. However, despite being energised by the challenge, the shine may fade away sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, all you may ever become due to multiple procrastinations and lack of discipline, is a ‘wantrepreneur’ - someone who aspires to become an entrepreneur but never actually takes action.

For what it is worth, take comfort in knowing that many persons who have attempted to launch a business have faced challenges. It is normal to feel uncertain when starting something new, but it is always smart to start where you can and follow through.

Think about it this way. Despite how many times you have spoken to personal trainers, or checked out multiple gyms, or spent time reading exercise articles, do you know nothing happens if you never answer a call to action? Meaning: “Nothing happens if you do nothing.” Society often teaches us to simply push through any feelings of resistance to find the “just do it” solution. Hopefully, you do not have to wait years to learn this lesson. Here are two simple steps to stop procrastination.

Start writing things down - Ideas are worth nothing if they stay in your head. As you map out your ideas, you are forced to implement structure to your thinking and you will often notice things you never did before.

Speak about your idea - This is a good idea, as friends and family will ask how everything is going. Nothing acts as a better incentive than when your reputation is on the line. Normalise asking yourself: What habits do I have in place to engage my most important tasks? If the answer is none, try these approaches:

Schedule your deep work consistently.I define ‘deep work’ as focusing on your most important long-term project, which may entail crafting a business strategy or a complex data analysis. Remember that habits make sequences of behaviour more automatic due to repetition. Equally, when tempted to procrastinate, analyse how much of your emotion affects your business venture as you may stir up hurtful memories that result in irritation or a roadblock.

Experiment with several options, and find the ones that work best for you, but do not let preparation become procrastination. Start taking action today. Until we meet again, fill your life with memories rather than regrets. Enjoy life and stay on top of your game.

• NB: Columnist welcomes feedback at deedee21bastian@gmail.com

ABOUT COLUMNIST: Deidre M. Bastian is a professionally-trained graphic designer/brand marketing analyst, author and certified life coach

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