You’ve invested several years of your life into getting a solid interior design education. You followed that up by working for others to refine your craft and build your name. And, now that you are the owner and lead designer of your own studio, are you letting anything hold you back from the success you have been striving to attain?
If you are anything like other small business owners, you are at least partially handicapped by procrastination. Procrastination gives birth to justifications- all of the stories that you create about why your business is not more successful and why you aren’t living the BIG life that you want for yourself.
Here is how to kick procrastination and live your life more fully:
1. ORGANIZE & PRIORITIZE
Nothing leads to procrastination as much as a cluttered mind and an absence of priorities. When you are working without priorities it is so easy to get distracted.
It is part of human nature to need structure to thrive. As small business owners, we need to provide ourselves with that structure and provide it to our team.
Using a tool like Studio Designer helps out so much. It allows you to keep all of the data in-formation. When everything is in form, placed exactly where it belongs, processes move along smoothly and efficiently. You then don’t waste time questioning what to do next as your systems inform you.
One of the major leaps forward for my business was when I implemented project management software for my marketing agency. What software applications and systems allow is to take the thousands of variables out of our heads (and spreadsheets) and to put them into action. It allows us to plan, to assign, and to monitor, while ensuring that nothing slips through the cracks.
Knowing what needs to be done and in what order frees us to work with a clear, focused mind. It is a major component of the path to success.
2. REWARD YOURSELF
If you look at your procrastination, you’ll likely find that it is based on the lack of immediate reward for your hard work. It takes dozens of hours to hire a new employee and only after a long onboarding process will you get to the day where you feel the reward of that effort.
The same applies to marketing. It can take years worth of shooting projects, getting your website designed, getting online reviews, building up a social following and an email list, and creating regular blogs before you see the reward of the process.
Solution? Set smaller wins, mini-milestones, and celebrate them. Reward yourself with some gratification before your end goal is met.
When hiring, reward yourself every time you achieve a small win- even if the reward is as little as simply toasting to the mini-milestone success at your next meal. Write the job description, celebrate! Publish it, celebrate again! Review resumes, celebrate! Celebrate when you find your final candidates, when you interview them, when you put in the job offers, when they accept, their first day of work, when they complete training milestones, etc.
Add this celebration to your language. When you tell the story of starting your hiring process, don't speak of the end result, but of your successes. "Today I wrote the job description for the amazing admin assistant that I am inviting into my life."
With marketing, celebrate every blog you write. Celebrate every email you send requesting online reviews. Celebrate your actions, not the results of your actions. As it is said, it is the journey that matters, not the end destination. So, enjoy and celebrate the journey.
Celebrating the journey inevitably will bring you to a place of attaining more goals.
3. CULTIVATE ACCEPTANCE
Perfectionism is the fear of failing. Like a python grips its prey- it squeezes in a truly suffocating manner.
The resolution to perfectionism is acceptance. We can’t ensure the world will love us. We can’t always be the best at everything (or anything). We can’t live the life we want to live and simultaneously be conscientious about every little detail.
How to put this into practice? The inner skills to cultivate acceptance are understanding the situation as it is. Add to that a healthy dose of gratitude for all that life has offered us and acceptance happens. We start to take life more easy. Still focused, still with our goals, yet without the type of tension that eats away at us.
Apply this to being productive by creating timelines and sticking to them- again, with acceptance that no step will ever come to perfect completion.
Understand that to aim for perfection is the fast path to failure. Give your all, but do so in a manner that reflects the importance of each task. Don’t overvalue or sweat the small stuff (“and it’s all small stuff”), or procrastination can creep in.
Like dancing and driving, you need to move at a certain speed. Don’t let perfectionism slow you down or even stall you.
4. HIRE SMARTLY
We often procrastinate on those things that we are least interested in doing. As an interior designer, those tasks may include doing bookkeeping, project management, creating proposals, processing orders, and marketing.
The solution is to focus your hiring on doing these tasks that you’d rather avoid. There are plenty of people out there that are passionate for these specialities that you don’t need to grind your way through it.
Rather than making your first hire a junior designer, make it an admin assistant that can handle your books and project management. Rather than putting the burden of regular marketing activities on yourself (the pressure to do social posts and blogging can just eat away at you), hire a marketing agency that is passionate about doing what you so masterfully avoid.
It is really that easy. Hire people to do what needs to get done. It’ll elevate your life by freeing up your time and energy, allowing you to more easily reach your goals.
5. DON’T LET MONEY BE AN OBSTACLE
Facebook was made in the dorm room of a university student. Microsoft, Google, Disney, HP, Amazon, and Apple in home garages.
Money is not the obstacle for your success. But, possibly, how you use your money (and time and other resources) is.
If you literally don’t have the money to spend, then turn on the bootstrap mentality. Invest your time and energy, and find others to collaborate with you for a piece of the future pie.
If your business has capital, spend it like a business person, not like a consumer. Business is an investment and each outlay of capital needs to be treated as such. Modulate the desire to take all the money as dividends, and put it to good use. Invest in the software, people, space, product, marketing, and professional services that will help you take your business to the next level.
Now that you have 5 great tips on how to sidestep procrastination, go through each one and make commitments on how you will implement them in your life and then immediately put them into practice.
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About the Author
This blog was written by Ken Lewis | Managing Partner, Client Expander, a marketing agency exclusively focused on the design industry.
Ken and his team have been marketing providers for Studio Designer since 2013.