Setting Yourself Up for Success: Overcoming Inertia and Procrastination

Sometimes when I need to buckle down and ‘just get it done’ I find myself doing everything except the one thing that would help my business most. My first book, $1,000 Start-Ups has just been released and I need to execute the excruciatingly detailed marketing plan I developed to go with the book.

I think about all I have to do and feel overwhelmed. Because I feel overwhelmed I render myself incapable of doing anything (except perhaps playing spider solitaire, or getting on Facebook, or EMAIL, or cleaning something, anything – I can find many ways to procrastinate). I find that before I can actually get to the business of my business I have to move past that feeling.

For me what works (most of the time) is to reason it out. My “self-talk” sounds like this: “Leah, it’s logical that you have a lot to do and feel overwhelmed.” (This is followed by a few deep breaths as I consider the thought.) “Take the first thing on your list and work on it for an hour.”

This is particularly true when I’m trying to do something I haven’t done before or haven’t done enough times to master. Then I have to remind myself, “You have started a business you haven’t done before and don’t know much about. You have to take the time it takes to learn these new skills. Once you learn them they won’t take as long to do.”

It’s not unusual for owners of start-up companies to find themselves having a difficult time overcoming inertia.

Please share your tips on what you do when you’re faced with this.

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.


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