Procrastination: The Serial Killer Of Success

I once heard someone say that procrastinating was like sitting behind the wheel of a car with an empty petrol tank; you’ve got the intention of going somewhere, you want to move, but without the ‘juice’, you’re not going anywhere, and it got me thinking about my friend, Maggie.

After years of working in an office job that she hated, Maggie decided to give it all up and follow her lifelong dream of being an artist – so far, so 90’s Hallmark Movie. No, she didn’t meet a handsome single father who would help her open a gallery and teach her the true meaning of Christmas, but she did get a fair amount of commissions. She was a success. It wasn’t long, though, before she started resting on her laurels, missing deadlines, and taking long lunches or having lie-ins when she should be painting, following up inquiries and marketing herself. By the summer she’d worked through a huge chunk of her savings, inquiries were drying up because she’d stopped putting herself out there through her website and social media, and her tank was running on empty. Soon she was back in an office doing a job she had no passion for.

Ok, Maggie’s an extreme example, but as we head towards the season where we all start to get a bit lazy, it’s important that we don’t fall foul to procrastination. Anyone can be a victim. It stalks us at every turn, lurking in the dark as we scroll through Instagram and Facebook, or lay prone on the sofa, binging yet another box set on Netflix…and constantly whispering, “you can always do it tomorrow…”

 In today’s fast-paced world you really can’t afford to wait until tomorrow when it comes to making a success of your business. No matter how fantastic and original your idea is, there will always be someone who’s had the same idea, snapping at your heels – and you should always assume that they’re NOT out there elbow-deep in a bag of Doritos, watching Squid Game in their pants. They’re out there with their finger firmly on the pulse of their industry; marketing, networking, developing new ideas, and potentially poaching YOUR clients and customers.

Procrastination will literally kill your success, stone-dead in its tracks, and once it’s got a hold of you, it’s a bugger to fight off.

Like all good villains, it comes in many forms. It could take the shape of that little devil on your shoulder that’s trying to convince you, ‘I’ve got loads of time’. The far-off deadline is a double-edged sword; on one hand giving you plenty of time to get things done, and on the other hand lulling you into a false sense of security that you have all the time in the world – often leading you to leave things until the last minute, causing you stress and making it unlikely that you’ll do your best work.

Sometimes procrastination will come dressed as anxiety and self-doubt, making you feel so overwhelmed about the task at hand that you’ll find any excuse not to get started. And then there’s ‘fun’ procrastination, which convinces you that filling your time with anything else other than work is much more interesting, and so why not watch another episode, go for that drink, watch more cat videos on Youtube….?

Procrastination in all its guises is dangerous – but you can protect yourself. Tell friends, family or colleagues about your deadlines – once you’ve said it out loud to other people it will be harder to get away with putting it off. Schedule in your downtime and breaks and stick to just those times. And set realistic expectations of how much work you can take on.

By arming yourself with these weapons you can defend yourself against procrastination. Putting things off until later is only going to stress you out, put you under pressure, and eventually kill your success – as it has killed the success of many people before you. 

So, stop putting off until tomorrow what you can do today; get off your arse, switch off the TV and brush the crumbs off your lap – and start fighting for the life of your business. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *