Ep. 115 Steps to stop procrastinating

steps to stop procrastinating

In today’s episode, Anna looks at steps to stop procrastinating.

When you have a very limited amount of time available to work on your business – and, let’s face it, who doesn’t – there comes a point when we just need to get on with it and do it. As powerful as strategies and plans can be, at some point perfection can get in the way and become an excuse for procrastination. On the other hand, taking action will create momentum and give you the confidence to keep going, keep taking more actions, and ultimately getting much bigger results, much faster.

*Resources mentioned during the episode*

The One Step Outside Facebook group – Join us over in the Facebook group to meet like-minded people who are working on reimagining success in their life and business and to get access to direct support and free training sessions from Anna. www.facebook.com/groups/onestepoutside

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Steps to stop procrastinating

Transcript:

Hello. Hello. Welcome back. My name’s Anna Lundberg. Welcome to this, the latest episode of the Reimagining Success podcast, where we’re going to make like Nike and just do it. So let me tell you a bit more around why we’re looking at this idea. In fact, it’s my theme for this year. So there you go, I’ve finally revealed what my phrase or theme is for the year. If you haven’t come up with a word or a phrase, or you don’t know what I’m talking about, do check out the podcast episode from a few weeks ago? I think it was in December, the last episode of last year, 2020. We’re talking about how you can come up with and why you should or could come up with a more powerful way of guiding your year, giving your framework or structure, but still flexibility and something that’s much more effective than doing the old school new year’s resolution.

So do check that out.

But my phrase is just do it. And it came up pretty organically, I suppose. And for me, and I’ll talk about this in a moment and I’ll give you a bit more context, but for me personally, I think it’s come from the fact that there’s quite a few things for me as for everybody, because we’re constantly learning and it’s easy to get back into our comfort zones, however much we’ve grown and evolved. I’ve certainly made a lot of progress on a lot of my so-called weaknesses and challenges. But for me now, I actually have two children under two, which is the classic difficulty of having little kids at home. So I’m not homeschooling during COVID and so, and as I record this, but as you can imagine, sleep is not so much abundant and there’s a lot going on. We don’t have childcare and so on at the moment.

So not to, in any way, mourn about that because it’s actually going quite well, for lack of words, and I’m fortunate to have my partner helping me.

And we’re very much equally sharing the responsibility at the moment and the kids are wonderful, et cetera, et cetera.

However, because of this, as you can imagine, I have few hours and ever with two little children, no childcare, and so on in the day. I’m slotting in my work early in the morning during naps and in the evenings and so on. And so with that in mind, I have to just get on with it. I can’t sit around slowly thinking about this and that and maybe I’ll do this and all, what if I did? And that’s perhaps a shame because I’m a big fan of, as we talked about the last few weeks as well, vision boards and taking that time to strategize and reflect and so on.

However, in my case, I’ve been in the business for some years now. I do know what I’m doing. Every time I attend a virtual conference, listen to a podcast and now recently joining clubhouse discussions and so, I hear things and I know these things. It’s just a matter of implementing it.

So if you’re at that same stage as me, if you don’t have a huge amount of time for whatever reason. Or you’ve been in business for a while and you know what you’ve consumed every single course you’ve worked with coaches, you’ve done all that jazz and you know you’ve got the strategy in place, then maybe the reason why you’re not doing something is something other than lack of knowledge, lack of knowing what to do.

It’s that you’re procrastinating.

Maybe there are some fears going on there, and maybe you’re just analysing, analysis paralysis and that’s holding you back. It’s becoming an excuse for not doing anything. So again, for me, just do it has become my mantra. In fact, last year, one of my biggest priorities was to pitch myself more to the media. I made a lot of progress at the beginning of the year, I researched outlets and I started to tend to email people and then, okay, I got pregnant and then various things happen throughout the year. However, I did not get round to doing it because I was constantly telling myself, “Oh, I should be doing this.” But I got on with the many other very important things as well.

I launched a new programme, the Business Accelerator.

I made all sorts of other progress. And I worked with amazing clients, and a lot was happening last year as well. However, at this stage, I know this is the priority for me and it’s something that I am now getting on with. And rather than just keep thinking about it and, it can be really heavy, actually. It weighs down on you, because it’s just something you know you should do. You want to do it. You know how to do it. And yet, for whatever reason, you’re not doing it. So that for me, is what I just do it as my theme this year. I have very little time and therefore every minute counts. And I’m going to just get on with it, pitch that outlet, send that email, chat to that person, get on the phone with that person, write the book, whatever that is. So that’s my personal context.

But why is just do it not such a good idea?

First of all, I guess, setting the scene. Well, I’m a big fan as I said of strategies and visions. The whole concept of this podcast and everything I do is around re-imagining success. And as we always say, if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve? You don’t know where you’re trying to get to? How on earth are you going to get there? And so it is very important to take that time, if you can, to have that luxury, to explore, to reflect, to research, to learn and so on. So that is incredibly important. What you don’t want to do is rush ahead willy-nilly, as I say. And scattergun approach. Throw yourself into something which isn’t the right thing for you. And then you’ll only regret it, you would have spent time and money on something that isn’t meaningful. Won’t bring you meaningful success in business specifically.

If you’re just kind of blasting stuff out randomly on social media, inconsistently, whenever you feel like you don’t have a strategy, a content theme.

You don’t know what you’re selling. You don’t know who your target audience is and so on, that’s not going to be very efficient either and effective. So there is a lot to be said for, and a lot of the other episodes that I talk about of course, will be around having that strategy, taking the time and so on. However, why can it be? And I’ve already hinted at my own personal story there, why can it be powerful to, at one point, just do it? And let me go through a few different ideas. When could this just be the right approach to just do the damn thing?

And the first one is something I covered a couple of weeks ago in the podcast episode on what to do when you don’t have motivation. And in fact, the last point I gave you then was, hey, just do it.

Take action.

Do something, anything, because contrary to widespread belief, it’s not that we have to sit around waiting for motivation and then take action, it’s in fact action that creates that motivation. So get off your seat, get off your bum, go out, send the email, do the research, take the step, talk to that person, buy the, whatever it is. Just do it. Take action. That’s going to create motivation because hey, suddenly you’re doing something.

You’ve got the ball rolling. Things are going to happen. It’s just going to keep rolling. There’s momentum there. You’re feeling motivated because you’ve started taking action and you’re actually getting somewhere. You’re going to begin making progress. And that’s a little bit scary, but also very exciting. And you’ll create momentum as well. So motivation, momentum, and confidence, in fact, that things are happening. So that’s the first reason why just getting on with the damn thing is so powerful. It’s going to give you confidence, motivation and momentum, which is very important.

Second thing is, you know what? Things take a hell of a lot longer than you realise than I realised too. We all have these naive ideas, I think, as to how long it will take to build an audience, to have business success, whatever that means.

To write a book, whatever aspect of business or your career that might be. The Chinese proverb, it’s better to, well, gosh! Let’s rephrase it now. It says, the best time to plant a tree would have been a hundred years ago and the second best time is today. So yes, of course, I should have, could have started my podcast five years ago, but hey, much better to start it today, let’s say. And I really have always wanted to write a book. Well, okay. Start writing a book now.

Even if you’re not sure, you’re thinking about starting a business, okay. Maybe a year from now, you will be absolutely hating your job. You’re going to be desperate to quit. Maybe you’ll be made redundant. And at that point, you will have wished that you would have spent the previous year beginning to research ideas, get that out, identify your audience, start building that brand and platform for yourself. So however much you don’t feel ready to do these things, beginning tentatively is going to give you more of a run-up and more of a runway.

And that means you can do things more slowly.

You can make mistakes and you’ll be in a much better place this time next year, if and when you want to press the button and make that decision, take that action.

Now, again, as much as I’m a fan of theory and visions and strategies and so on, there’s only so much we can do from behind the desk. So yes. We can have that beautiful piece of paper and it can be a really powerful, effective strategy, but unless we actually apply it, implement it, nothing’s going to happen. First of all, even if it’s the most perfect strategy. Secondly, there’s no such thing as a perfect strategy, because every business, every audience, every individual is different.

And so yes. Of course, there are principles and strategies that we can apply and I can teach you, but ultimately we won’t know until we put it out there, until we see if that audience resonates with your message. Until we play around with different copy and until we put different posts on different channels and so on. So we have to go out there and do something, try it, to see what response we get to begin to tweak and evolve the strategy. So that’s what is important too.

Number four is from my own experience, as I said, when you’re really short on time and let’s face it, everybody is.

Whether you’re doing a business alongside your full-time job. You’ve got lots of kids. You’re juggling, whatever other things in your life, we all have a lot going on. And when you’re really short of time, you want to make sure that every minute you spend on this, whatever it is, is actually bringing some kind of result. It’s the right thing to be doing in that moment. And you are actually doing something, not just sitting around drawing pretty pictures and so on.

So again, a lot to be said for having strategies. Plenty of other things to be said around taking the time to explore and research and so on, but ultimately you’re probably better served. Start setting a beginning, just start taking action. You’ll learn. You’ll evolve. And you’ll get better. And then you’ll be in a much better place later on to do things more effectively than you would have if you’ve never tried.

So if you have very little time, then probably just getting on with it rather than spending hours and weeks thinking about, should I do this? Should I do that? Just send the email and then you’ll learn.

If you’re pitching the media, let’s say, or send 10 notes. Or if you’re pitching a client on LinkedIn, let’s say, maybe you’re contacting 10 B2B potential clients, and you’ll see where you’re getting a response. You can try different wording and you’ll be able to use and optimise that messaging that’s really working.

And then finally, even if the thing that you’re doing is wrong, if there is such a thing, if you fail again, if failure is such a thing, then you will have learned something. So not to be overly positive and naive around these things, but actually everything we do, especially in business, we’re learning something. Okay. That didn’t quite work. They didn’t resonate with that. I didn’t prepare enough for this. This is what I could do differently next time. And then you’ll learn. So rather than me spending months and months planning for the perfect launch in September, actually, why not try doing a mini launch now? A soft launch and then okay, two people buy, nobody buys, okay. What was it? I’ll ask people. I’ll get feedback next launch, next month.

Again, maybe a few more people watching it, actually, move the needle a little bit, but not enough.

Is it the positioning of the offer? Is it the target audience? I’m I just not reaching enough people and so on. So by the time I come to September, I will have run this six times, seven times, eight times, whatever. And then when I desperately need, if you ever desperately need those results, then hey, I can push the button. I know that I have a tried and tested formula essentially. So again, even if something is wrong, if it’s not the right step for you, you’ll learn, you’ll realise, okay. That wasn’t quite the right project for me. Okay. That wasn’t the right way of approaching this. That wasn’t the most effective way of formulating this or whatever. But we’ll learn from that. I’ll be able to move forward.

So examples might be, and I’ve suggested a few of them, I’d like to write a book. We talked about that so much. I’d like to start a business maybe, I’ve given my example many times. I’d really like to be featured as an expert by the media and so on. Just do it. Start writing the book. Start drafting ideas. Buy some soft cloths. Start collecting your notes, just sit down and write. Block some time in your calendar and do that. Again, if you’re thinking of starting a business, begin to research it now and begin to look into, what would it take to put up a simple website and what’s the bare minimum you can do in order to move forward?

What can you do? Do you know somebody who has done this thing before that you want to do?

And you can ask them for advice. You can work with a coach, join a course, a programme, whatever. You can do it softly, softly if you’re not in a rush, but just do the damn thing. So start writing. Take that first step. Send the pitch and then we can learn from it. So again, I’ve shared at the beginning, my big picture context of having those two kids under two, just as a little example of this. As I record this, I just joined Clubhouse, the new sort of audio conversation, collaboration and social media app, which you may have heard of now. And I was just on there for the first time yesterday and I joined a couple of sessions and the second one was on personal branding and the media.

And I thought, hey, I should really ask a question.

I had my baby rocking, I guess, gently. My baby eating lunch. And I raised my hand as you can do on the app, asked the question and now I have a fantastic… Well, first of all, I got great feedback and advice. They said, your picture’s great, really confident. Absolutely, we need your perspective. And now I’ve got an email contact with somebody at a big media channel who can help me by specifically there. And also he’s given me some great advice. So I could have thought, maybe I should, at some point, reach out to this person. Maybe when I get more comfortable with being on this platform, I’ll talk to someone, but hey, why not just raise your hand? Why not just ask the question? What is the worst thing that can happen?

And not a lot that can go wrong really, to be honest and nobody’s going to judge you for it either. So those are a couple of examples from my side too. Say there we have it. Simple, right? Just do it. So my challenge to you is, if there’s something you’ve been thinking about for a long time. You’ve kind of been eyeing this course you were considering, or some big picture dream you’ve had for years and you haven’t got around to exploring actually if it’s feasible. Or something quite small, whatever the scale, whatever the context, whatever business, career, life, whatever, just do it.

Pick up the phone, send the email, buy the book, listen to this, talk to that person, whatever it is. Just give it a go.

And again, you’ll create momentum and motivation. You’ll learn from it. You’ll build confidence. And you’ll be able to do it even better next time. You’ll keep taking steps. And before you know it, you’ll be in a very different place to where you are now. We’ll talk about this in terms of getting out of your comfort zone, which is one of the core concepts as well of my coaching philosophy, but staying stagnant and stuck. If that is you, I feel you. It is not a good place to be. And I can still have that in certain areas too. But it’s wanting to be here and actually just staying over here doing nothing about it is, as I always say, soul destroying.

I’m not going to beat around the bush. I’m not exaggerating there. It’s not hyperbole, lots of expressions here. It’s not hyperbole. It really is soul destroying. It destroys your soul, it wears you down. If you don’t align your actions with your vision. I spent the last month or so talking about your visions and now we’re looking more at the mindset that it takes to actually implement that vision. So really bear that in mind. You want to be aligned.

You want to be living that life.

I had a call with a client just the other day and she was saying, “You know what? I’m so, I guess, positive and I believe I have faith now that pretty much anything I want to do is possible.”

And there are lots of naysayers around and maybe years of conditioning from my business, from school, from parents and friends and so on around me, negativity has made us limit ourselves in terms of what’s possible. But now I know. I know that this is possible. I can think very creatively around how I want to live my life. How I’m going to do this business and so on. And it’s just a matter of going out there and doing it. So that’s really powerful as well. So I hope that’s the message that you needed to hear. Maybe someone else who’s been hesitating about something, you can pass this episode on to them. Encourage them.

Give them a little bit of a nudge.

Join me in just doing it this year. And I’d love to hear from you what is that thing that you really feel you need to do. As ever you can get me at podcast@onestepoutside.com. Of course, you can hit me up on any social media channel as well, where you’re following me. So thanks so much for listening. I look forward to continuing these conversations around mindsets in the next couple of months. And again, yeah. Let’s follow Nike’s famous slogan and just do it. Thanks so much for listening and I’ll see you next week. Bye for now.

If you’re ready to start to reimagine what success could look like for you, here are some of the ways in which Anna can support you:

Get private mentoring for your business – Partnering with a business coach can help you see those blind spots and get both external accountability and expert guidance to take your business to where you want it to be. www.onestepoutside.com/freeconsultation

Get private career coaching – Individual coaching is fully tailored to your specific goals and desires so we can create the programme that works best for you, with the support that you need to move forwards. www.onestepoutside.com/claritycall

Grab a copy of Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5 – After interviewing 50 people who have left the corporate 9 to 5 to forge their own path, Anna has collected their stories in a book that will inspire you with the possibilities that are out there and reassure you that you’re not alone in looking for an alternative. www.leavingthecorporate9to5.com

Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator – This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5

Up-level with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate

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