By Ranka Burzan
“Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.”—Unknown
IF YOU CONSTANTLY avoid making decisions or find yourself not completing the necessary tasks that are important to your
business, it can create stress, financial loss and
even family problems. At the same time, others may perceive you as lazy, uncaring or perhaps untrustworthy because you don’t do
what you say you’ll do.
According to Piers Steel, a human-resources professor at the University of
Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, 95
percent of people procrastinate at times, while
25 percent identify themselves as chronic
Two types of procrastination
offenders who constantly procrastinate in
every area of their life.
I believe there are two types of procrastination. One type is deliberate procrastination. This is when you say, “I’m going to wait
until tomorrow; I don’t need to accomplish
XYZ until Wednesday, and tomorrow is
Tuesday.” Unfortunately, the “I work better
under pressure” syndrome very seldom
works. By postponing work or decisions, you
are actually eliminating choices and setting
yourself up for failure.
The other type is productive procrastination. Productive procrastination is sneaky:
You are so busy doing mundane chores that
you don’t get around to those that will bring
you more clients and better revenue. Say you
have to make a few cold calls and you just
hate doing that; you will do everything else on
your to-do list, but not the calls. All of a sudden, your filing system needs purging, your
furniture needs dusting, etc. At the end of the
day, you feel a false sense of accomplishment
about all the things you did, but you are no
closer to your goal of making your business
Why do people procrastinate?
People procrastinate for many reasons.
However, fear is usually the real factor. Fear of
failure is one example. It can be hard to moti-
vate yourself if you are not able to do some-
thing well, or not able to do it right. It can be
hard to approach a potential client for busi-
ness if you don’t have confidence in yourself
and you feel overwhelmed, tired and defeated
before you even start.
Fear of success is another cause of procrastination. It goes something like this: “If I
succeed in my business, do I have to travel and
leave my kids with a babysitter? Do I have to
work 24 hours a day to keep up? If I make $1
million, do I have to make $2 million? I might
as well stay small so I don’t have to think about
the many steps required if I grow.”
The first step is to identify what you really
want to be doing. Learn everything about the
project, line up your resources and establish a
time frame and a reward system for doing a
Ask yourself, “Do I really want to do this
project or am I feeling pressured by something
or someone?” When you are pressured to do a
project you find hard or boring, you naturally
resist until it becomes unbearable. That’s the
point at which you quit, leaving yourself feeling disappointed.
If you find yourself stuck, it is important
to see a way out. This can take many forms:
You can delegate or use the skills you have to
barter with other entrepreneurs.
Create a simple plan of action where you
ask for help, learn new information, find new
customers and increase the revenue you need
to continue. Whatever project you decide to do,
big or small, break it down into manageable,
small steps and work at it every day for at least
30 minutes. Remember to put a deadline on
your project so it doesn’t take forever and procrastination doesn’t get a chance to take hold.
Finally, create a beautiful and
functional environment in
your home or office, a place
you love and that is welcoming
to your family, friends and
clients. If your office
looks like a
space, I can
avoid working there.
Making your spaces
more attractive and functional can put you on the
road to being more motivated and productive. C
Ranka Burzan is the owner
of Solutions Organizing
nizing.com) and an author.
productivity Putting off work may cost your business