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Is Procrastination Keeping You From Success In Your Business?

Updated on May 1, 2013
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Deonne Anderson is a retired Child and Family Therapist, Free Lance Writer, and Motivational Speaker who lives in Florence, SC.

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Chilling out instead of working
Chilling out instead of working | Source

Your Beliefs about Procrastination

What do you believe about people who procrastinate or put off doing things?

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Procrastination is defined as the putting off or delaying of, especially those things that require urgency or immediate action.

Procrastination is a behavior and a feeling. As a behavior it is that which causes us to put off doing those things that are necessary for the building or maintaining of our lives and businesses. As a feeling procrastination is driven by our perceptions of the jobs or tasks before us. Our emotions are also involved as just thinking about the tasks often causes us to feel depressed, anxious, fearful or overwhelmed.

In order to effectively deal with and overcome our procrastination, we must first understand why we procrastinate. Perfectionism and fear of failure are often cited as reasons why we procrastinate. Procrastination may also be attributed to such mental or physiological conditions as anxiety, depression, and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

We must ask ourselves what it is that we get out of procrastinating. Every action we take has a payoff, be it negative or positive. If we find that procrastination has more pros than cons for us, it is not a problem. However, if the pay off is mostly negative, we need to take action.

If your procrastination is caused by any of the mental or physiological conditions above, you should see a Mental Health Therapist as you may require treatment.

We also have to "look at" our tasks in a more positive and different way. This requires us to think differently about them so that we can change how we emote. Instead of telling ourselves that a particular task is too hard or impossible, we can make a conscious effort to convince our subconscious minds that the task is easy as well as possible. We can achieve this by meditating and the use of affirmations. Say to yourself outloud as often as you can, "_______________(name the task) is so easy for me! I have successfully completed________________" (name the task).

There is no such thing as hard or bad work. There is only the work that we enjoy doing and the work that we do not like to do. For those tasks that we don't like to do, we need to dig deep and find some little thing or aspect about the task that is fun, interesting, or challenging for us. If you are competitive as I am, try playing a game like "Beat The Clock" whereby you set an amount of time to do a task and see if you can complete it before the time is up. If you complete the task before the clock runs out, you win. If not, the clock wins. I often use this game when doing house work especially dish washing by hand and the time just seems to fly!

If the tasks involved are ones you have completed one or multiple times before, remember the feelings of joy and the self-esteem boost you experienced each time. Focus on those successes and you will find that your fears and anxiety will significantly lessen and you will be more inclined to go for that feeling again.

The one thing that really works for me is the Nike slogan. When I ran substance abuse groups for adolescents in the school system, many of them who were diagnosed with ADHD often did poorly in school because of procrastination. As one with Adult ADHD, during one of my own bouts with procrastination involving mounds of paper work for insurance and billing purposes, I said to myself, "It's got to be done or you won't get paid this month. So get up and just do it!"

Immediately upon making that decision, I got out of bed and did not stop until all of my work was done. When I related this story to my students, their response was, "Miss Anderson, You didn't invent that, that's a Nike commercial, you got that off TV!"

In my defense, I didn't watch TV at the time as I was always working . I really did think that I was the author of the slogan.

So, the next time you find yourself procrastinating, figure out what the pay off is for you, change your way of thinking about your tasks and figure out a way to have some fun with it. Upon completion of your tasks, reward yourself with something meaningful to you.

Some of the consequences for your procrastination

Procrastination may be hindering your life and business success. Those of us with perfectionistic issues spend lots and lots of time analyzing and planning how to do our tasks.

We are obsessed with wanting our end results to be perfect and subconsciously fear that they won't be. We perceive that failure means that we're not good enough or less than. Just the thought of failing causes us to go on a downward spiral of depression and anxiety.

So then what do we do? We often go into a state of inertia...we don't do anything! We don't move forward. We spend our time worrying about starting the tasks and our not being able to successfully complete them. We spin our wheels by doing other, less priority or easier things...We let the BIG and IMPORTANT stuff go.

Procrastination can cause us to lose money.

Lets just say that you are an online internet marketing entrepreneur. In order to be successful and earn an income, it is necessary for you to complete sales. In order for you to complete sales you must have people who know about your product and who are willing to buy it. You can only market to these potential customers if you have a marketing plan and a means of capturing their contact information. You need to have a LIST.

One of the things you might dislike doing is copy writing and sending out ads. Though you have committed to copywriting and sending out your ads the first thing each morning, you often get side tracked by reading about the latest happenings in the world or the hottest stories. You become engrossed in what's going on with the sequester or who Taylor Swift is dating now.

Before you know it, it's time to pick up the kids from school and spend the rest of your evening doing parenting and house hold things. You decide to go to bed after watching the 11 O'Clock news, telling yourself that you'll do your copywriting and advertising "first thing in the morning".

Unfortunately, tomorrow morning does not come until one day when you check your pay pal or click bank accounts and you find that you have not made any sales and your account balances are low or at ZERO and you are short on your car note. Your adrenaline kicks in, you get busy sending out emails and advertising. You perform all of the tasks required to get yourself noticed by the search engines and your ads are spot on!

You pat yourself on the back and take great pride in the fact that in the end "I always come through because I thrive under pressure". Which brings us to another discovery. Your procrastination pay off may just be the high you experience when getting things done at the last minute and the pride and boost in your self esteem that accompanies that high.

You do the same ritual for a week and pronto! You've got sales! You can pay your car note. You tell yourself, "Never again, I could have lost my car! a few weeks you find yourself right back in the same predicament.

The question you must ask yourself is whether your high and self-esteem boost cancels all of the worrying, the anxiety, the fear, the depression, etc you experienced before finally tackling the tasks. For me, it does not. I am much more happy and content when I win over my tendency to procrastinate.

Procrastination can steal our time

It can cause us to be unable to live our lives in the moment. We spend all of our time thinking about the tasks that await us and are thus are unable to fully experience and enjoy the things currently going on around us.

Procrastination can cause us to lose relationships and customers

Whether you are an on or off-line business, good customer service is of primary importance. Without customers you will not earn money. Your business will fail. It is imperative that you do what you promised to do and that your products are of good quality. If your product requires service or support, you will need to have a system in place whereby your customers can be serviced or receive the answers to their problems 24/7. Procrastination or failure to respond to your customers' inquiries in a timely manner can mean that they will take their business elsewhere.

Procrastination can cause your business to fold

As you can see, procrastination, when it comes to your business, is a serious matter. Habitually putting things off or avoiding certain tasks leads to inertia. Your business will not move forward. You will send your customers else where. Your failure to keep money coming in will impact on all phases of your business and your life.

Procrastination can cause you to lose your healthy sense of self.

It can cause you to suffer with low or lower self-esteem and loss of confidence in your self and your ability to get things successfully accomplish your goals.

On the lighter side, it is imperative that you embrace your procrastination, learn all that you can about it, and learn ways to get your self going. There is no cookie cutter method. Find out what works for YOU.

Procrastination Hurts!

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    • Kasman profile image


      8 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      I agree with you, I think it's a huge problem with so many people. I used to struggle with this at one point in my life......and then I decided to get more direct and determined with the way I live life. I don't always have it down right but man, it feels good when I do. Insightful hub and I'm voting up.

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 

      8 years ago from Philippine

      haha thanks.

      Oh yes! especially when it comes to my reports, projects and other paper staff. Most of my late's are on show filming for educational purposes, I was the first one to lead my group, then cause I want to make them perfect we would go over and over again, until, the deadline comes and we are last and worse late to pass.

    • ladydeonne profile imageAUTHOR

      Deonne Anderson 

      8 years ago from Florence, SC


      From now on, I'll type your name in correctly. Do you ever write and rewrite and rewrite things just to make sure they're correct? I used to do that and would often be late in meeting my deadlines. I'm much better now. There's a big difference between being perfectionistic and continuing to do things over and over simply because you perceive that nothing you do will be good enough.

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 

      8 years ago from Philippine

      you are very welcome. Your typing my name wrong again. :-)

      Yeah, we really need, anyway, it's not that bad being one, since we only want to make things right and free from error.

    • ladydeonne profile imageAUTHOR

      Deonne Anderson 

      8 years ago from Florence, SC

      Thanks Paola,

      I am also a big perfectionist but have been working on being less stringent and obsessing on being perfect. Seems like we both need to find some balance in our lives.

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 

      8 years ago from Philippine

      Great hub! There are times that I often delay things up, and while reading this hub I realized I should be more effective on things, since, I am sort of perfection some time though, Anyway, that's how I see it, nice job.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      8 years ago

      You covered procrastination very well.My older brother could of written the book.Where there was a way he found it.So every duty was pushed off to someone else and later the same habit carried on later in life.I struggle to get things done.They are no fun but then I can move on and have less worries or problems.I will carefully look for signs just incase I fall victim to the same bad habits.Thanx so much.

    • toknowinfo profile image


      8 years ago

      Well done hub. Procrastination is certainly a short sighted solution that often leads to anxiety, stress and much disappointment and dissatisfaction. Rated up and useful.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Excellent advice Deonne. I am a firm believer in talking to your brain, I feel we have to 'fool' our brain. A bit like CBT therapy. I was surprised that 50% voted 'lazy' on your poll.

    • ladydeonne profile imageAUTHOR

      Deonne Anderson 

      8 years ago from Florence, SC

      Thanks for your comment. The getting to the actual "doing it' is where the problem comes in for those of us who are prone to procrastination. Taking breaks is recommended for esp long or tedious tasks. However, those of us who tend to procrastinate often take breaks when our work is strewn all around us, and we often never get back to the tasks at hand. We go off on tangents and do other things.

    • beingwell profile image


      8 years ago from Bangkok

      What makes a job done is by actually doing it. Resting or taking a break is different from procrastination, though... Right? ...right??? hahaha!! :) Voted up!

    • ladydeonne profile imageAUTHOR

      Deonne Anderson 

      8 years ago from Florence, SC

      Thanks for your comments my fellow retired friend! I think I'm slowing down. There's never enough time in a day for me to do all that I need to. I don't have time to procrastinate! Do you have the same experience now that you are also retired?

    • srsddn profile image

      Sukhdev Shukla 

      8 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

      An issue of great significance for success in life. Perfectionist approach can cause serious problems in life sometimes. Just as minimum stress level is a must for optimal performance, one can define limits of perfection to an attempt to avoid procrastination and improve success rate. Very nicely presented Hub. Thumbed up.

    • ladydeonne profile imageAUTHOR

      Deonne Anderson 

      8 years ago from Florence, SC

      Thanks for your comment. As a Mental Health Therapist, I have written many treatment plans for my clients for their procrastination. Yet, I still struggle with it occassionally. I have missed opportunities during my lifetime because of procrastination.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good points and suggestions. Honestly, although I am very focused and driven, I still procrastinate when it is something I do not want to do. Lately I have caught myself procrastinating on sending work into magazines. Thanks for the reminder and wake up call.


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