Procrastination vs. Productivity

June 15, 2011

By Ranka Burzan

“Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried”- unknown

Messy office I’d like to start by telling you I am very happy with what I do these days, organizing people’s homes and offices; but it wasn’t always that way. I am a former delinquent of procrastination so I have some firsthand knowledge of the devastating consequences that procrastination can cause.

For the past eight years and after organizing hundreds of home based businesses, I have come to the conclusion that we all procrastinate at times, avoiding the tasks we don’t like, or perhaps don’t know how to start. That feeling of being overwhelmed and frustrated sets in, and we feel stuck and helpless.

If you constantly avoid making decisions or find yourself not completing the necessary tasks that are important to your business, it will weigh heavily on you, possibly causing you stress, financial loss and even family problems.

According to Pies Steel, a human resources professor at the University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business, 95% of us procrastinate at times, while 25% identify themselves as chronic offenders; those that constantly procrastinate in every area of their life.

You might have many excuses as to why you procrastinate. Some explanations may be valid; ie death of a loved one. However, fear is usually the real factor. It’s important to look into what is standing in your way.

Something else to be considered; the way in which others perceive us can have a huge affect on us, and our self esteem. While we might be in a state of non- doing or putting things off, others may perceive us as lazy, uncaring, or perhaps untrustworthy because we don’t do that which we say we’ll do.

Each year, thousands of businesses fail causing people to uproot their family, change their financial situations and/or settling for less than they deserve. This is a reality for many small business owners and their families. This could’ve been avoided if they had become an active participant in their business and their life instead of letting procrastination rule.

If you find yourself stuck, it is important that you see a way out. This can come in many forms, you can delegate, use the skills you have to barter with other entrepreneurs, network, and definitely get involved in your community; helping those that need our help. Think of action plan where you ask for help, learn new information, find new customers and increase the revenue you need to continue.

Two Types of Procrastinators
I believe there are two types of procrastinators. The first one can be taken as deliberate procrastination. This type says “I’m going to wait until tomorrow, I don’t need it until Wednesday and tomorrow is Tuesday.“ The “I work better under pressure” syndrome backfires on us every time and very seldom works. By postponing work or decisions, we are actually eliminating our choices and setting ourselves up for failure.

The second type of procrastination I see daily in my line of work, also the one I, myself, am guilty of; productive procrastination. This kind of procrastination is sneaky. Because we are so busy doing mundane chores instead of those that will bring us more clients and better revenue. Let’s say you have to make a few cold calls and you just hate doing those, you will do everything else on your to do list but not the calls. All of sudden your filling system needs purging, your furniture needs dusting, and your friend called about that sale at Sears. At the end of the day you will cross off all the things you did feeling a false sense of accomplishment, but you are no closer to your goal of making your business more successful.

Reasons We Procrastinate
There are many reasons why we procrastinate, but I will mention a couple of them that I personally experienced and see every day through the work I have chosen.

First, is a fear of failure, which is also closely linked to perfectionism. It can be hard to motivate yourself if you are not able to do it well, or not able to do it right. It can be hard to approach a potential client for business if you don’t have confidence in yourself and you feel overwhelmed, tired and defeated before you even start.

Another reason we often procrastinate is that we are afraid of success. It goes something like this “If I succeed in my business, do I have to travel and leave my kids with babysitter, do I have to work 24 hours a day to keep up, if I make a million, do I have to make two millions? I might as well stay small so I don’t have to think about the many steps required if I grow”. This is also the fear of the unknown.

Action will destroy your Procrastination
There are ample reasons why we procrastinate but we need to move into action. My favourite quote by Og Mandino is “Action will destroy your procrastination.” What do you need to do to move into action?

There are many steps we need to consider to move us closer to active participation. The first step is to identify what you really want to be doing, in other words, learn everything about this project, and get your resources lined up, your time frame and reward system for doing a good job.

Ask yourself these questions: “Do I really want to do this project or am I feeling pressured by something or someone?” When we are pressured to do a project we find hard or boring, we will naturally resist until it becomes unbearable. That’s the point at which we quit, leaving ourselves feeling disappointed.

In closing, I’d like to suggest taking the time to create a very simple plan of action. Whatever project you decide to do, big or small, break the project down into manageable small steps and work at it every day for at least 30 min. Also, remember it helps to put a deadline on your project, so it doesn’t take forever, and it doesn’t let the procrastination grow.

Take the time to create a beautiful and functional environment in your home or office. One you love and would be proud to invite people into. If your office looks like a public storage space, I can guarantee you’ll avoid working in your office.

Making our spaces more attractive and functional can put us on a higher road towards being more motivated and productive.
I wish you luck in your business and life!

About the Author: Ranka Burzan is the owner of Solutions Organizing Simple, a professional organizing company and the author of Helpful Hints to Organize and Clean your Home, Your Junk or Your Life, Liberate Your Garage, Clear Your Home, Clear Your Mind and a recent published book S.O.S Guide to Organize and Clean Your Home.

Ranka & family have also created their own line of non-toxic, all natural cleaners safe for your family and pets.

For more information regarding Solutions Organizing Simple services, articles, newsletters and cleaning products visit her web site

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