I would very much like to look good and feel confident in a bikini this summer.
But I love cupcakes. And pizza. And chocolate cinnamon martinis. (And NO being skinny does not “feel better” than these things taste!)
This is the very common dilemma we experience is MANY avenues of our life. When the reward for hard work seems so far off, and isn’t even guaranteed, it’s tempting to enjoy the rewards of RIGHT NOW, that we get from NOT doing the hard work.
Sure, working out on the elliptical might make those pants start to fit again after a few weeks of doing it on a regular basis, but it SUCKS and is SO BORING at the time.
And sure, I might feel less stressed if my house were clean and organized, but there are so many other things that feel so much more rewarding than getting down on my hands and knees and scrubbing the bathroom floor.
Procrastination stems from unsavory tasks that do not deliver immediate rewards. When I spend a rigorous half hour on the elliptical, I don’t step off 5 pounds lighter. Just tired and sweaty, in desperate need of a shower. Not exactly much of a motivating reward.
There are many aspects of building up a business and its accompanying brand that do not offer immediate rewards (sales) either. Networking and volunteering for team positions and writing blog post after blog post can be an awful lot of work, without any immediate fiscal return. However, we know that there are rewards in the long run, just like if I can keep up on my exercise routine and keep my house clean, the results will be worth it.
S0, in theory, the key to preventing procrastination or becoming overwhelmed is to develop a system of smaller, more immediate rewards prior to the long-off rewards you are striving for.
For example, I can only allow myself to eat that chocolate truffle IF I get my half hour of an elliptical work done, and only THEN.
In terms of business, we are often advised to turn everything we make from sales directly back into our business. This is helpful advise when we think in terms of long-term goals, and it will pay off eventually as we continue to grow and develop. But man, it can sure get discouraging to keep on doing all that work and feel like you never have anything to show for it.
To stem the frustration, I propose taking a small percentage of your earnings, and spending it on personal expenses. For example, that pair of shoes I have my eyes on, I am only allowed to buy with sales-money. In fact, if you set up all luxury items (new clothes, lattes, movie tickets) as items that can ONLY be purchased with sales-money, you’ll feel the reward for your efforts with each purchase.
Yes, the ultimate goal of a thriving, profiting business is still on the horizon, but those mini-rewards along the way will keep procrastination at bay, and prevent the work in the meantime from feeling pointless.