9 Steps to End Procrastination

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Procrastination is not inherently evil. There may be benefits to procrastination.  Before ending procrastination for good, make sure you understand why you are delaying in the first place.

Why do we procrastinate?

 

No commitment.  You realize after waiting a period of time that you aren’t fully committed to the goal.  Better to know before you spend hours and hours on it, then abandon it.

Bad idea.  It may be that you realize it’s a bad idea or that there is another way to accomplish something.

Too many goals.  Maybe you put it aside in favor of something else or you have competing priorities.

Laziness.  You look at your last week and realize that you have no excuse.  You are just lazy.  A sloth.

Exhaustion.  You are physically and mentally spent doing other things, and you don’t start because your tank is running on empty.

Fear of failure.  By not starting, you don’t finish and therefore reduce your risk of failure.  After all, if you finish, everyone will see the end result and judge it.  Rather than risk that, you never begin.

The Hardest Part is Getting Started

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Photo by Captain Kimo on flickr.

This is a guest post by Jeremy Statton. He is an orthopedic surgeon and a writer. He blogs about Living Better Stories. You can follow him on Twitter or download a free copy of his eBook Grace Is.

One of my regrets in life is never having watched a space shuttle launch in person.

Imagine

I try to imagine how it might sound or what it probably feels like. But nothing could compare to witnessing the feat of getting something that big and heavy off the ground, through the atmosphere, and into orbit.

The purpose of a launch is to transfer the shuttle and the astronauts and the items stored on the shuttle into space. They go on a mission designed to accomplish a task. The launch is relatively insignificant when considering the greater purpose.

But have you ever thought about what it takes to get the shuttle off the ground? Have you ever considered what must happen first in order for the greater purpose to be accomplished?

Empty, the shuttle weighs 172,000 pounds. But add in the fuel necessary for liftoff and the weight goes up to 4,400,000 pounds. By weight, 96% of the shuttle exists to get it moving.  After the launch, the first big moment comes when the two white rocket boosters on the side are released. This happens at exactly 124 seconds.

The boosters contain 83% of the fuel needed for the entire mission. The mission might last ten days, but a majority of the fuel is consumed in the first two minutes. We associate a space shuttle mission with a bigger purpose than getting off the ground, but the launch can contain the most difficult obstacles to overcome.

Start

The same can happen for whatever purpose you choose to pursue. The start might be the most difficult part of any project.

How many good ideas have you had that never saw the light of day mainly because you never began?

Why Selling to the Top Can Leave You At The Bottom

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If you’re in sales, you may have heard that you want to get to the top.  Why bother with people who can’t make decisions?

And then you attend a sales training session where you hear of the latest clever selling tactics.  How to get around the gatekeeper.  How to bypass everyone else and get right to the CEO.

You’ve heard some of it before:

  • Call just before or after business hours in the hopes the assistant isn’t yet on duty and the phone rings in the executive’s office.
  • Sweet-talk the executive assistant.
  • Be vague, misleading or yes, even lie in order to make it to the CEO or the highest executive you can.

I’m filled with empathy for the sales profession.  After all, my first corporate job was in sales.  (I was also a lawyer, so that may have made me the most hated guy around: a lawyer salesman?)

Whenever possible I enjoy answering my own phone, especially if I know it’s a sales call.  I’ve stunned sales people who are stammering on the other end of the line.  One guy was so ready to give his misleading lines to an assistant that he literally hung up when he realized he already had me on the line.

But, this post isn’t about how to sell to the CEO.  This is about when to sell to the CEO and when not to sell to the CEO or C Suite.

Here’s the problem with the “sell to the top” theory that most trainers don’t understand:

It can be a waste of time.

You can spend all kinds of time trying to reach someone in the C-Suite instead of identifying the person most interested in your product or service.  Let’s say I’m the CEO at a large company, and you call me about office supplies.  The fact is that there’s likely someone in charge of this area, and it isn’t the CEO.  Do you think that the CEO is going to listen to your presentation and then command the purchasing department to override all protocols and buy staplers and highlighters from you?

It can hurt your chances.

Shape Your Company’s Future

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Are you confident in your company’s future?

How do you rate your business strategy?

Is your team engaged in the creation of your plan?

Are you staying ahead of the competition and creating a sustainable advantage?

 Shape Your Future

“Strategy is about shaping the future.”

That’s the opening line in The Strategy Book by Max Mckeown.  In a logical, straightforward manner, Max walks readers through strategic principles and best practices in a way that educates the novice and the well-practiced strategist alike.  Whether you are a CEO or a new team leader, Max provides helpful tools and checklists to improve your strategic plan.

Max Mckeown is an author of several best-selling, award winning books. He’s also a sought-after speaker on subjects ranging from competitive advantage to strategy to leadership.  He holds an M.B.A. and Ph.D. from Warwick Business School in England.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Max about strategic best practices.

What’s the biggest misconception about creating a strategy?

Strategy isn’t a document. Some people believe that it is. And that’s probably why so many hard-working people roll their eyes when the strategy word is mentioned. Specifically, strategy is not leaders spending a million dollars on thick documents produced by outsiders to which insiders must align.-

You’ve met thousands of managers and leaders in businesses around the world.  When you meet a team, what attributes are present when you find an exceptionally high-performing team?

Strategy is about shaping the future. Perhaps this is why the roll-up-your-sleeves, get-things-done kind of people are often impatient with anything remotely connected to the word strategic. They want results. They tend to ignore the want-to-see-the-bigger-picture kind of people they see as daydreamers.

Would Your Client Write You a Check After Your Sales Presentation?

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Would your prospect write a check for your sales call?

Read that title again.

What?

You’re thinking you want the sale.  You don’t expect to get a check for the call.  You’re lucky to have gotten the appointment.

Neil Rackham is the author of many books like Spin Selling, Rethinking the Sales Force and a number of other books.  Years ago, when I was a new sales executive, Neil spoke at one of our meetings.  After his presentation, he met with a small group of us.  Most of the discussion I’ve long forgotten, but I’ve never forgotten this question.

Bring Incredible Value

He asked:

“Is your sales call so valuable that your client would write a check for your visit?”

He obviously wasn’t suggesting we collect checks after every client meeting.  But he was saying that we should bring value to the call.  More value than a sales pitch.  We should do our homework and be able to offer solutions to the client beyond simply closing a deal.