Head off Procrastination Before It Strikes

Never underestimate the power of a solid guilt trip. Not the guilt trip that parents have perfected to coax their teenage kids out of their rooms and into spending time together as a family, but a self-inflicted guilt trip — the to-do list.

Excitement and motivation might be easy to come by in the first few weeks of a startup, but action can easily be replaced by procrastination, and business can begin to suffer. Sure, there might be a few tasks that need to be accomplished, but those can be addressed in the future, right? By the time most people remember to take care of those “few tasks,” they can become the proverbial 10-page paper written the night before it is due.

Lists can prevent important tasks from sneaking up, and, yes, that is list with an “s.” Start out by making a short-term list of things that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Organize the desk, reach out to clients who have not been heard from in a while or finally restock the empty pen cup. Depending on the business, short-term could mean one week or one month, and be sure to include the dates for which each task needs to be accomplished.

Long-term goals need a separate list of their own. Things like rebranding a business or enacting a new marketing campaign are not tasks that take place overnight, and they need time and consideration before being implemented. Setting completion dates for these tasks is a good idea here too, but be sure to include some “check-in” dates to make sure everything is still on par for completion.

For those who struggle with procrastination, there may be no greater guilt trip than a to-do list with nothing marked off.

Aside from the tried and true pen and paper method, there are a multitude of apps available to help create and track lists, such as Google Keep. Before the procrastination bug bites, get your pen, keyboard or smartphone out and make sure you write up your battle plan.

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