This is the one article you can’t put off reading. Really.


September 6 was “Fight Procrastination Day,” so I hope you’re reading this the first day you came across it!

Now, do you want to hear something funny? September 5 was “Be Late for Something Day.” Were you able to live up to the goal of that special day?

I don’t know if I should give you kudos for achieving the goal of “Be Late for Something Day,” or Kudos for messing it up!

You may not believe the next thing I’m going to tell you, but I want you to stick with me – at least for a few moments – while I explain myself.

Fight Procrastination Day and Be Late for Something Day – if seen in the proper light – actually complement each other.

The purpose of Be Late for Something Day is not to inconvenience people around you; its goal is to have you remember that:

  • Things can go on without you,
  • Not everything is as important as you think it is, and
  • You need some time to yourself.

It’s only when we turn off the noise in our lives that we can concentrate on the beautiful music being played. I know you experience this in your small business. There have probably been countless days when you were so busy dealing with inconsequential items that at the end of the day you said to yourself, “I don’t know where this day went, but I sure didn’t get around to anything I planned on doing!”

It’s time you truly took an inventory of the tasks and responsibilities that fill up your days and find the ones you can “be late to,” completely offload to someone else, or stop doing altogether.

With that done, the next step is to stop procrastinating and this should be easier to accomplish because all that’s left for you are the things that are actually important to running your small business and pushing it to the next level of growth and success.

Let me give you three quick tips to wring procrastination out of your day:

1. Box up the digital distractions

Get off personal social media during the workday. I remember one young man who went to the Air Force Academy after he graduated from high school. The first thing they did to the cadets was to take them off social media. It was an eye-opener for many of them. They could not have handled the load at the academy had they continued with their social media habits.

In the same way, restrict checking your email to once or twice a day. You can decide when the best time is for you, but many successful entrepreneurs deal with email at the end of the day.

2. Commit to an accountability group or mentor

Note that in my example of the Air Force Academy, it was their superiors who made the cadets change their habits. Find someone you respect and who is willing to hold you accountable for carrying out your plans and establish a strong relationship with that person.

I also suggest as the first line of accountability you should start keeping a journal. Taking a few moments in the morning, evening, or both can help you hold yourself accountable. The first step in any journey is the most difficult: Commit to journaling; it will give you the perspective and impetus to connect with a mentor and/or accountability group.

3. Reassess at 2 p.m.

If you’re aiming at a distant target, a minor error in your aim will cause you to miss by a wide margin. That’s why it’s important to stop about half way through the day and “re-aim.” I should also add that the elusive targets small business owners chase have a nasty habit of moving!

Do you have a favorite football team (or any sport really) that you follow? If you’ve been a fan of the team for many years you will notice that great coaches are able to make half-time corrections that change the direction of the game.

Don’t wade blindly into the second half of your business day. Pause for a moment, take stock of what you have accomplished and especially look for the things that have pulled you away from your plan.

If you can make a 1 percent improvement in your productivity today by weeding out the unimportant things and pushing through the important things with enthusiastic, persistent, and focused effort, you can do great things.

Then tomorrow, when you show up at work, do it over again and make another 1 percent overall improvement!