How To Stop Procrastination From Destroying Your Startup

passed out desk office sleep

Photo: orphanjones via Flickr

One of the toughest challenges of an entrepreneur in building a startup is the fact that there are so many things that you don’t know how to do, or don’t like to do.Things like raising money, building a business plan, or hiring and firing people.

These aren’t fun, especially for a visionary. That’s when the curse of procrastination steps in.

The result is that certain things just never seem to get done. Jan Yager, in her book, “Work Less, Do More” talks about procrastination as a primary obstacle to efficient time management.

She describes how you can grow so busy doing everything but what you should be doing, that you’re unaware that you’re failing to address what’s really fundamental to your success.

I haven’t met an entrepreneur yet who can honestly say they haven’t felt this challenge.

Here are some techniques I espouse from Jan and others for conquering procrastination.

Click here to see how to stop procrastination from destroying your startup >
Martin Zwilling is CEO & Founder of Startup Professionals, Inc.; he also serves as Board Member and Executive in Residence at Callaman Ventures and is an advisory board member for multiple startups. This post was originally published on his blog, and it is republished here with permission.

Plan your daily activities in advance

Make whatever it is you're avoiding the very first task you do on a given day.

Don't start the day by checking e-mail, surfing the Internet, or reading the newspaper.

Get a priority task done first every day, then take a break or do some low priority work that you enjoy more.

Set up a personal reward system

Pick a reward that will be a real motivator, something you truly want but have been denying for yourself.

For example, as soon as you complete your financial projections, you can call your business partner to skip out for that round of golf he keeps mentioning.

Try creative procrastination

If you are finding your top priority to be too daunting, try tackling the second or third most important items on your to-do list.

You will accomplish all your day's priorities, but in a different order. That's better than substituting a trip to the doughnut cart.

Arrange for gaps in your schedule

Build space into your schedule so you actually have some free time that will still permit you to get the priority project done without the tendency to put yourself down or engage in the self-criticism that too often accompanies procrastination.

Face the truth head-on

Take a few minutes to contemplate why you are delaying something.

What does the postponement provide? What will it take to get you to act now?

Write down the real deadline. Maybe it's time to hire an expert, or assign the task to someone else on the team. Move the ball.

Define a period without distractions

Make a resolution to turn off the phones for the first hour of a day, or close the door to your office to discourage interruptions.

Do not let anyone distract you from your priority tasks during these periods.

Change your habits

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