(This is the fourth post in our series on Procrastination. If you missed the previous post you can check it out here)
Fighting the urge to do nothing is not easy. You've been losing this fight for a long time. You've probably heard the saying; "if you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always got". Recognizing the pattern of constant delays and inaction is the first step to breaking the cycle.
Doing something different is the next.
So what are some ways to start doing things differently?
FIND WHAT MOTIVATES YOU.
Finding what motivates you to get out of your comfort zone and make a start can be tricky. It may involve many months of trial and error, although the more time you spend thinking about what motivates you, the quicker you'll find the answer.
Sitting back and waiting for the motivation to come to you hasn't worked so far, so why would it work in the future?
As mentioned previously, the lack of a deadline can have a huge impact on a serial procrastinator's ability to get the job done (or even started).
Let's say you've decided to start a business on the side. You want to sell Halloween dog costumes online (PS, if you don't know what to sell yet, check out this article, or just start a Halloween dog costume website).
Days, weeks and months go by. You still like your idea, not to mention that it would be a way cooler way to make a living than your day job, but you've done nothing about it.
Procrastination strikes again.
How do we break out of this seemingly never-ending cycle?
One incredible motivator is COMPETITION.
Competition is a great motivator because it doesn't require huge personal change. We all have a competitive side, so why not use it to help us?
Imagine your best friend started the exact same Halloween dog costume business with the same social group and skill set as you.
Would that motivate you to do better?
Of course it would.
SO TURN YOUR VENTURE INTO A RACE.
Rather than pick an arbitrary deadline that you won't take seriously (admit it), why not make a race out of it?
Find a friend, family member or anyone at all to measure your efforts against. If you know of someone starting the same type of business, follow them, make note of their progress and use their successes as a measuring stick.
If it's not the same type of business you could find someone who is in the same stage of starting a business.
Here are a few real world examples:
- Get your first (or 100th) client or first (or 100th) sale before them.
- Get to 10,000 followers on social media first.
- Have superior SEO that ranks you higher in a Google search.
- Be the first to get featured in a prominent publication.
Anything you can think of to compare your performance.
There is one rule however; the competition must always be MEASURABLE. If you can measure it in absolute terms, you can't change the narrative. It's pass or fail.
Competition personally helped me shake the 17 long years of procrastination training that we call formal education.
In my case it was my partner and best friend. I would measure my efforts against hers. When I see her working on one of our projects at 6am, that motivates me. I see it as a challenge to work harder.
If you can't find someone to measure yourself against, you're probably not looking hard enough.
Another way to help fight procrastination is to make failure so much less acceptable by raising the stakes.
Sign up here to stay updated. Our next post on procrastination will beTip #2: Raise the Stakes.