The price of procrastination.

January 1996, I wanted to travel. I decided on London (as all Aussies seem to do), but I didn’t have a great deal of financial support behind me so I decided to hold off on the dream. I decided to give it 6 months, save some much needed cash, then book my ticket! Sounded like a good plan at the time.

Trouble was, I got to June and my bank account wasn’t all that much healthier. It wasn’t bad, but it sure wasn’t the size I imagine it should’ve been. So, what did I do? I gave it a few more months, feeling quietly confident that even though this plan had not worked too well up to now, things would certainly change if I just gave it some more time. You can probably guess what happened…

Yep! November came round and I’m nowhere closer to having anymore cash. So at this point I made a call. I went to my local flight centre and booked my ticket. One way to London. Departing Feb 4th, 1997. My theory… If I keep down this path of just giving myself a few more months before I take the plunge, then time is going to pass me by and I before I know it, I’ll be filling my life with a whole heap of excuses as to why I never traveled when I was young.

Between November 1996 and February 1997, I diligently put away ‘holiday savings’ knowing that the harder I saved, the easier I’d make it on myself come the big day. In the end I flew out on Feb 4 1997, and lived in the UK for the following 5 years. Imagine if I’d booked the flight back when I first thought about the idea 12 months earlier?

So what’s the point of me telling you this?

In business, when you’re working for yourself, the one constant you’ll never run out of are ideas. It’s honestly the best part about having your own business. You can do what you want, with imagination being your only limit. Trouble is, with all these great ideas it’s hard to know which to act on and when to start. You can get caught up in trying to perfect a concept or an idea before launching it. The longer you try to make it perfect, the longer it will be that no-one knows about it. This is commonly called analysis paralysis. I see it a lot with personal trainers when they are wanting to get a website built. Or maybe they want to start sending weekly newsletters. The idea is great! But without a clear path and a process to follow, these ideas will forever live on the ideas treadmill.

How to break the procrastination cycle, and make your ideas come to life!

Let me start by giving you this little pearl of wisdom… When you’re working on your business you’re doing one of two things.

  1. building your business
2. delivering on your promises.

If you’re not doing one of these two things, you’re probably procrastinating = wasting time.

So let’s take a concept : Monthly newsletters to your client base.

In order to ensure this concept has the best chance of success, you’ll need to create a structure for these newsletters.

1 . Outline – On your calendar, mark out the next 12 months, and look at different topics you could automatically discuss, like healthy eating over Easter / Christmas, Or maybe an article on preparing for a running event in September. This exercise will help create the framework for your monthly newsletters but more importantly, will allow you to see the amount of work required to bring this concept to life and therefore help you manage your time effectively.

2 . Content – Write about topics that you’re passionate about. This will came out in the way your write, and your clients will see that. Then choose the type of content you’d like to see on the newsletter, each month. (Eg, recipe of the month, client of the month. 5 key tips to…) Consistency is key.

3 . Photos – Make sure you have plenty of photos to back up the content you’ll be sending out.

4 . Length – Decide on how big you want this newsletter to be. Remember, you’re excited about this concept right now so don’t make the mistake of spending a day creating a 10 page newsletter for issue #1. Consistency is key. I recommend keeping them brief. One page is ideal.

5 . Timeline – Send your newletters out on the same date every month. Your clients will start to expect them and look forward to the read when that date comes around.

These 5 tips will help create the structure. But without a SMART goal, You still have the ability to procrastinate on when to start this process. So lets deal with that right now.

SMART goals are widely used in the corporate world and in all honesty, are the reason most business success or fail.

Setting goals make you accountable. They help avoid procrastination and ultimately make you feel more confident about the direction you’re traveling in your business.

So, using the 5 tips I’ve included above, I’ve going a apply the SMART goals principle, to wipe out procrastination once and for all.

S – SPECIFIC

I WILL create a 12 month calendar outline
I WILL write two articles for my first two newsletters I WILL archive six photos for the first two newsletters

M – MEASURABLE

A – ACHIEVABLE

R – RELEVANT

I WILL keep my articles to 2 paragraphs
Yes. I WILL commit to this workload in this time frame

I WILL ensure the photos are relevant to the articles and,
The articles are relevant to the calendar topics for the first two months.

T – TIME FRAMED
This initial work WILL be completed by the end of this month.

The first newsletter WILL be send out by the 30th of the following month.
The SMART goal principle I’ve written above is a guideline and is designed to be referred to and updated regularly.
The time to start taking your ideas and bringing them to life is today. Make it happen.