Any effective business owner understands the significance of productivity in the workplace. When productivity level increases, organisations produce more goods or services, which translate to higher sales and profits. One of the most critical issues related to productivity is procrastination or the act of postponing something that should be done in a timely manner. 

Procrastination, in its very essence, is the root cause of many problems in any organisation. Many people, including successful business leaders, may experience it from time to time. Small business owners tend to procrastinate more because of the uniqueness of completing multiple tasks during their startup years. Entrepreneurs that procrastinate are well aware of the important duties that must be accomplished, for example, securing a business loan to cover operational funds, but they put off working on it. You’re not alone if you are a newbie in the business world who’s struggling to fight the beast of procrastination. 

There are several reasons why some entrepreneurs procrastinate. These can include indecisiveness, mismanaged time, limited resources or simply avoiding an unwanted task. While it’s normal to delay a few projects due to uncontrollable circumstances, procrastinating for an extended period can cause such an act of compulsion to become a habit. Many entrepreneurs unintentionally undermine their own business as a result of habitual procrastination. 

Constant delays in activities that bring you closer to your goals can create further problems for your business. Luckily, there are ways to manage procrastination at work and encourage yourself to become a better leader.

Identify the root cause of procrastination

An effective way to manage procrastination is to understand what’s holding you up. Aside from the previous root causes, there are a multitude of other reasons some people procrastinate. What was once considered a simple time-management issue is now viewed as a complex psychological phenomenon. 

According to a study, procrastination is often driven by a person’s negative thoughts, such as self-loathing, fear of failure and anxiety. As it turns out, a poor concept of time management may exacerbate the issue, but the inability to handle cynical thoughts and emotions appears to be its main underlying cause.

Procrastination is evidently a multi-faceted problem that can’t be fixed overnight. Still, you can find a way to address some of its underlying issues one by one. It’s easier to mentally overcome the block and make headway when you know what it is that’s impeding your progress. The key is to outsmart your own psychology by clearing your mind of stress and getting help from others.

Break bigger tasks up

Many believe that the first step is always the hardest. That’s because people are often daunted by the next hundreds of steps to take in order to complete the journey. Although it can be overwhelming to look at the big picture, it’s best to break up larger tasks into mini chunks. Smaller tasks seem to be less intimidating and more manageable, especially when scheduled in blocks.

Reward yourself

Embarking on a new project or business endeavour is one of the most exciting milestones for startup leaders. You probably felt energised the first time you launched a new product, but the excitement soon fades after its novelty wears off. There are a few reasons why startup owners lose interest in their business. Perhaps, they are discouraged by the lack of challenges in the industry or simply tired of their daily work routine. The bottom line is, your motivation drops when you think that your efforts are not being rewarded and what you’re doing is no longer interesting. Things can get even harder when you procrastinate due to a lack of motivation.

Celebrating small wins in your business may help reclaim your passion and productivity. Feel free to reward yourself once you complete each task to have a sense of gratification. Meaningful rewards give you something to look forward to, which, in turn, inspires you to keep working toward your goal.

Use project management tools

Project management tools can be useful for founders handling multiple departments in their companies. These tools allow you to have an overview of your personal or groups’ daily, weekly or monthly tasks. When tasks are properly segmented, it should be easier to establish your priorities. Additionally, setting an artificial deadline in your calendar may help you avoid the odds of procrastination. Let’s say a priority task is due on Friday. In that case, try setting an artificial deadline a day before. This strategy will encourage you to work on the project sooner and avoid cramming at the same time.

Know your power hour

It is not unusual for most business owners to have tons of tasks throughout the day. The chances of procrastination may double when you’re overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done. Luckily, you can get your must-do list completed each day with an incredibly effective productivity hack. 

A power hour is a set of time reserved for specific tasks. Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, tackle your most tedious projects during your most productive hours. The idea is to help you become hyper-focused on getting multiple or individual tasks done within a certain duration of time. It’s essential to prepare a few things before your power hour starts to have a successful outcome. These include your work materials, a distraction-free workspace and, of course, a clear mind.

Consider outsourcing 

Some people tend to put off mundane or merely uninspiring tasks because they don’t feel motivated enough to tackle each of them. Starting a business includes many less-than-thrilling yet critical activities, such as making financial statements, invoicing or answering email inquiries. Business owners with inadequate time, energy and interest to do such work may consider outsourcing the tasks to someone on or outside their team. Some tasks are not worth the mental strain when you can outsource them. Fortunately, virtual assistants provide businesses with flexible and cost-effective administrative services remotely.