What would have happened if William Shakespeare had been on Facebook?
Or if Thomas Edison had been on Instagram?
Or if Robert Louis Stevenson had been on LinkedIn?
Imagine if Plato had unfettered access to Amazon Prime, Deliveroo and Uber Eats…
Would any of their respective creations and musings have ever come to light?
Probably, but we reckon they would’ve taken a damn sight longer.
The problem with today, OK, not the problem, let’s call it ‘the issue…’
The issue with today is that procrastination is far too easy to succumb to. There are too many distractions all around us that prevent us from getting on with the task at hand, whatever that happens to be.
We like to think of Shakespeare cracking on with his plays and sonnets by day, hoping to make the most out of the natural light, so that he could spend a minimal amount of time straining his eyes by gas lamp and candlelight. Sticking with the light theme, Edison really needed to get a move on with the lightbulb, and so it’s doubtful he let too many distractions get in the way. We think it’s very unlikely that Robert Louis Stevenson needed a proverbial rocket up the backside to get on with his vital work. See what we did there? Clever, we know. But even we’re procrastinating a little, building up to the point we’re trying to make.
So, why is it such a big problem today, for business owners like you, to get on with what they should be doing?
Because we live in the twenty first century, and despite all that is good about that, it’s a pretty distracting place to try and set up and succeed in business.
So, what can you do about it?
We have a few suggestions that can help curb the time wasting, kick the procrastination to the side, and crack on with doing the stuff that you actually need to do.
Firstly, you need to impose a social media ban for certain parts of your day. It can be for an extended period of time, or you can timetable in little scrolling breaks if you must, but we think a blanket ban is the most effective solution here. Without the constant pull of Facebook posts, Instagram DMs and LinkedIn articles, you’ll maintain a sharper focus on everything else you need to concentrate on. Struggling to work across your computer, tablet and smart phone with the appeal of the apps being so handy? Delete them for your working day and redownload them in the evening. It won’t kill you to be without Likes and Comments for a few hours.
If you’re in denial about how much time social media is stealing from you, as many of us are, explore the screen time data on your phone.
Brace yourself, you’ll probably be horrified at just how many HOURS per day you spend on Facebook.
If your line of work requires frequent social media use throughout the day, you’ll have to be extra careful you don’t end up scrolling needlessly. If you can’t ban yourself for the day, self discipline is the only way to go, but once you’ve shocked yourself with the data about time spent on the socials, you’ll probably see it as a challenge to bring your screen time way down to a more acceptable level.
If you’re working at home, procrastination is pretty hard to avoid because you find yourself in a setting that isn’t necessarily work orientated.
It is your responsibility to do something about that.
Find as quiet a work station as you can, and if you need background music, make sure that’s all it is, background music.
The canteen may now be your kitchen, but that doesn’t mean you can browse the fridge every half an hour. Instead, set yourself break times and plan your meals and snacks in advance, to save on wasting time and wasting food too.
Setting yourself certain times for things is actually the key to beating procrastination altogether.
Way back when you were in high school, and you were given timetables for the first time, this is the sort of mentality you need to apply to your business.
The different time slots for different lessons weren’t dreamt up out of nowhere. Instead, timetabling is based on the understanding that the human brain can only concentrate on a certain subject for a finite amount of time. An hour for English, an hour for maths, fifteen minutes to chat someone up and cause a bit of chaos before an hour and a half of Double Science and then lunch.
You remember, don’t you?
Well, if it was good enough for you back then, why not try a bit of timetabling for you and your business right now.
Sticking with the school analogy, here’s our version of a WAGOLL. That’s ‘what a good one looks like…’
8:30 – 9:00 can be for checking, replying and sorting emails. Get it done and keep them short.
9:00 – 9:15 can be your first brew of the day. Always plan the brews in.
9:15 – 10:00 is obviously specific to your business, but make sure this 45 minute window is used wisely.
10:00 – 11:30 you’re going to have to knuckle down to some calls, zoom meetings or dare we say it ‘in person meetings’. The morning is best for this as you’re on your best form.
11:30 must be time for a brew again…
O.K. we’ll call it there, because we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here, we’re simply encouraging a little responsibility with timetabling your day, to keep procrastination at bay.
If you want to be really clever about it, you could even turn procrastination into a reward. If you find yourself flicking to Sky Sports News, or having a quick tinkle on a video game, or fixing yourself a snack, use these things as rewards for meeting the expectations of your pre planned timetable.
Rewards and incentives encourage you to get the work done.
Procrastination prevents progress.
In many ways, we’re victims of the times we live in.
It’s unlikely that Shakespeare and co had superhuman concentration skills, but it’s absolute fact that they had less distractions.
So, what are you going to do about it?
Use it as an excuse and keep scrolling?
Or sort yourself out a lovely colour coded timetable with shading and sketches to keep you motivated?
Now. if producing one of those bad boys isn’t procrastination, we don’t know what is, but we’ll allow it. One last piece of procrastination to put a stop to the usual time wasting isn’t going to hurt now, is it?