It’s been said that 95% of people procrastinate some of the time. Moreover, according to professors Dr. Joseph Ferrari and Dr. Timothy Pychyl, “Twenty percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators.” What’s more troubling is that 40% of people have experienced financial loss due to procrastination according to Scientific American Mind.
Today, we have more opportunities than ever to procrastinate. Whether we opt for watching TV, surfing the web, texting or compulsively checking our email, there’s an ever-present excuse available for not completing the task at hand. This becomes a bigger issue when procrastination starts to affect your performance.
You may blame the market, management or marketing for why you’re not meeting your sales goals, but have you stopped to look at your role in the situation? Perhaps if you spent more time making calls, networking or honing your pitch and less time watching funny YouTube videos, checking your Facebook feed and planning your vacation, you’d be that much closer to meeting your goals. So what’s holding you back?
1. The art of the start
When you have a mountain of work in front of you, it can lead to feeling overwhelmed. This can make your Twitter feed look a lot more inviting. For most people, starting is the hardest part of getting things done. Oftentimes, once you get into the task, you realize that it’s not even close to as bad as you made it out to be. Keeping this in mind goes a long way in helping you to combat your procrastination habit.
2. Make it ridiculously easy
The key to getting yourself to start something is to make it so easy that not doing it makes you look like a complete sloth. While you may need to make 20 calls to prospects today, try telling yourself that you just need to make one call. One measly call is all you need to make and if you can’t make one lousy call, then you are a poor excuse for a sales rep my friend (shaming yourself can be quite effective).
Don’t focus on the mountain ahead of you; instead focus on taking one step. After all, the only way for you to get to the top of that mountain is by taking one step at a time.
This technique can be used to pare down all of your goals. Don’t focus on the number of sales you need to make in a year, a quarter, a month, a week or even a day. Instead, focus on making one sale, one call, sending one email, going to one networking event, making one presentation or whatever it is that you need to do to get to where you want to be.
3. Objects in motion, stay in motion
You may be thinking, “How can I focus on one call knowing that my goal for today is 20?” Don’t fret; Newton knew what he was talking about when he wrote the laws of motion. Once you get started on a project and you get into the flow, it just gets easier, it’s even hard for you to stop; you want to keep going until it’s complete. And once you check it off your to-do list, you get to revel in the feeling of accomplishment.
When you focus on getting just one thing done, it takes the pressure off, which allows you to get started. You’ll find that you want to keep it going and before you know it, your to-do list is empty. Now, when you go to check Facebook, you can do so guilt-free, knowing that all of your important tasks are out of the way and you are deserving of a break.