Procrastination is one of the biggest enemies of people in the business world, whether running a successful business or just starting out. The feeling that there is something slightly less important to see or do instead of actually working can set you back terribly.
Sadly, today's world is full of these distractions. From our TVs and phones to family members and pets, anything can pull your attention away from the project.
Most troubling, though, is the procrastination you do not even notice. The most common example comes when you are in the business planning process.
Even at the very start, when you are just picking a cheaper LivePlan alternative, you can spend hours deciding on the tool instead of actually working on your plan. Moving from planning a business to procrastination is a very thin line to cross.
So, how can you know where one ends and the other begins?
In this article, I take a deeper dive into the planning process to help you answer this question. Keep reading to find out more!
The Many Definitions of Procrastination
One of the main issues that people have with procrastination is its elusive definition. So our first step is to take a look at what procrastination actually is. A general definition will call procrastination anything you do that delays or puts off your work.
In all honesty, we all do this from time to time. However, it is the chronic procrastination that can get really troubling. Telling people to “just focus on work” will not help here — they cannot do it!
What's important to realize, though, is that this is not a choice. Everyone knows that procrastination is bad — especially when it is work that's putting food on your table that you are supposed to be doing. Although there has not been too much research into procrastination, many believe people are often hard-wired to be tempted by it.
However, a lot of times, procrastination can come hidden within other tasks. You might feel like you are doing important work, while still procrastinating. And the business planning process can be just the perfect example.
Rethinking Your Planning Methods
Planning is often a useful — if not an essential — part of starting and running a business. It can help you get things in order, prioritize chores, and make predictions for your business's future. With this, it is one of the best ways freelancers can reduce stress when starting out. However, there is such a thing as “too much planning!”
Even though you might be feeling quite productive with what you are putting out, you can end up obsessing over every little detail until you are just blatantly wasting time.
When you plan your business, your focus should be on the fundamental things. This is the reason why so many business professionals always suggest you create only a one-page business plan, instead of creating tomes of spreadsheets and to-do lists.
The key to not procrastinating with your business plan is to be completely self-aware of everything you are doing.
This can be a tough balancing act to perform. Many people focus on creating the best business plan possible because they want their business to succeed. Sadly, they do not realize that doing this can put a huge strain on the very business planning process, which is just the start of your business. With a bad start, you cannot hope to make any significant progress.
So, how can you control yourself and stop procrastinating when planning your business?
6 Tips to Beat Procrastination in the Business Planning Process
Luckily, there are multiple things you can do to gain back your footing and focus during the planning phase.
1. Use a Business Planning Tool
Business planning tools can be a lifesaver. Sometimes, you might be tempted to procrastinate due to the very amount of work you need to do when planning a business. Good software will break this up into small, “bite-size” chunks that you can tackle without worry, and thus evade procrastination.
2. Focus on Moving Forward
I already talked about focusing on the fundamental parts of your business, and the reasons are simple. When you sit down to pour over your plan, you might be tempted to bring everything to perfection.
Focus instead on moving forward and progressing. Think about where your business is now and where it needs to be. Then, only plan the things that will get you there. The other parts of your business can only warrant a glance and a quick look at this time!
3. Be Concise
Again, this is something I already talked about in the previous paragraphs. You will want to visit your business plan often, once a week or a month, for example. When you do, you do not want to waste hours reading and editing a hundred pages document. Instead, keep your plan short and sweet, and both you and potential investors will enjoy reading it.
4. Streamline Your Schedule
Just like you will streamline your business plan for easier edits, you should also think about the time you spend editing it. If there is something you have to spend a lot of time rewriting, it should not belong in your business plan. Cut it out of your plan — it's not a fundamental problem.
5. Set a Time Limit for Your Business Plan
Similarly, you will want to create boundaries when sitting down to plan your business. Give yourself a time constraint. For example, you can only plan an hour each time. This way, you will be more focused. Otherwise, you will not be planning your business, and thus you will fear your endeavor might fail.
Setting a time limit can be stressful in this way, but it is often something a person struggling with procrastination needs in their life.
6. Don't Face Your Fears — Embrace Them
Finally, understand that running a business is not a certain thing. You might be at the top of the world today while facing failure tomorrow.
The fear of failure might push you to perfectionism, but embracing that fear can put you at ease. It will help you approach planning with ease, and you will not procrastinate while dealing with it. Think about failure as a growth opportunity — a time to learn something and improve for the next round.
As you can see, the business planning process can seem like a lot like juggling. You may be productive one second while wasting time in another. What's important is to be self-aware of the situation you are in, and set up some clever constraints on yourself. You will be more focused and push forward, and your business is sure to succeed!
About the Author
Alex is a content writer at IdeaBuddy. His writing is focused on entrepreneurship, productivity, remote collaboration, and project management evolution. Merging an innovative and data-driven content to optimize digital content performance and user experience.
Katie Jenison is a freelance writer offering copywriting, blogging, and ghostwriting services. She works closely with home builders, remodelers, interior designers, real estate and property management professionals to help them create content marketing strategies, improve their digital presence, generate leads, and engage with their target audience. Katie also helps freelance writers and creative entrepreneurs pursue their dreams of working from home by providing tips and advice, business strategies, and writing tips on her blog, The Quiet Type. Download her free workbook, A Freelancer’s Guide to Setting Rates, here.