“Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.”
How many times in managing your martial art school have you picked up a new business idea and said, “I’ll do it tomorrow”?
And honestly, how many times did ‘tomorrow’ become ‘never’?
My friends, procrastination is the greatest saboteur of success you’ll ever face in running your business, and I’ve observed it to be one that plagues more martial art school owners than athlete’s foot picked up from walking barefoot on dirty mats.
I’ve known many dojo owners over the years, and if I could put my finger on what has separated the highly successful ones from those who languished in mediocrity, it is rapidly implementing useful new ideas and getting important tasks done on time.
The Problem With Procrastination
Let’s face it – people put things off because they’re avoiding some sort of discomfort or pain, whether real or imagined. The problem with this approach to managing your martial art school is that it becomes habitual, and eventually putting off unsavory tasks will become an everyday thing.
But unfortunately you don’t get paid to put off important tasks. Look, the work won’t do itself, and when you’re running a business you can’t afford to be undisciplined and complacent about getting the important stuff done.
Furthermore, while you’re sitting on your hands your competitor across the way is busting his or her hump to steal your market share and students. And all it takes is one young and hungry competitor to move in on your territory and BOOM…
…suddenly you’re treading water in your business and wondering what the heck just happened. But it doesn’t have to be that way. All you need to overcome procrastination is a little knowledge and the willingness to do just that. So, here are three keys to overcoming procrastination, today.
The First Key to Overcoming Procrastination – Giving Up On Perfect
Implementation beats perfection. Or, as I like to say, “Done and ugly is better than perfect and undone.”
One thing you need to do to overcome procrastination in your business is to give up on getting things perfect, and instead prioritize implementation over perfection. If you’re always chasing perfection, you’ll never get anything done because you’ll always be waiting for the perfect moment or the perfect execution. And it’ll kill your business.
When it’s time to implement new ideas or to perform some task that is vital to your business (see Key #3 below), don’t wait for perfection – just get it done. Now, that doesn’t mean you should do it half-assed – far from it. In fact, what it will often mean is that you delegate it to someone else to do.
Ah-hah, and there’s the rub…
You see, as business owners we often make the critical mistake of thinking that we’re the only ones who can do anything “right” in our business. So, we hoard all the critical tasks and a lot of the non-critical ones to ourselves, instead of delegating them to an employee or contractor.
And let me tell you, that is a fast road to burnout and being broke. So if you want to implement ideas at a speed money likes (and money likes speed) then you need to let go of some stuff and start delegating it to others so it gets done.
The Second Key to Overcoming Procrastination – The Mantra of Immediacy
Years ago I purchased Brian Tracy’s Success Mastery Academy course, and about every year I’ll pull it out and listen to the whole thing all over again. And, the one lesson that has stuck with me more than anything else in the entire course is Brian’s voice saying:
“Do it now. Do it now. Do it now!”
Do it now. It’s so simple. I made these three words my mantra when it came to getting things done, and the change in my business was extraordinary. And as my work output increased, my income did as well.
So, when it comes to getting things done in your business I suggest you make “Do it now!” your watchword and make it a habit to do things immediately instead of putting them off for another day.
The Third Key to Overcoming Procrastination – Prioritization
There are certain tasks in your business that take priority over all others. And those tasks all revolve around attracting and keeping new students.
We all get the same 24 hours in every day, and if you want to make the most of them you need to learn how to prioritize tasks in your business. If you have the choice between doing something you’d like to do, and doing something that’s crucial to your business operations, it should be a no-brainer – do the thing that gets you paid first.
That’s the difference between being a hobbyist/recreationist and a business person, between being a player or a punk.
For example, you might really want to attend a martial arts seminar or tournament this weekend. As a recreationist, that would be a top priority, because the hobbyist has the luxury of pursuing the practice of their art for fun.
And if that’s all you have on your plate, great. But what if you know you have to get your marketing for the next month ready to go to the printer on Monday?
Guess what? As a business owner, your responsibility is to get your marketing done and out the door, because attending seminars and tournaments doesn’t get you paid – getting new students is what pays the bills.
If this is still unclear to you, here’s a scale you can use to prioritize your tasks and activities in your business:
- Top Priority: Income-increasing tasks
- Second Priority: Income-maintaining tasks
- Third Priority: Everything else
Always do those things first that increase your income, then finish those tasks that are related to maintaining your income, and finally after that you can do those things that are not directly related to your first and second priorities.
One Last Tip…
Here’s a bonus tip on avoiding procrastination – stop worrying about what other people think. I’ve known numerous martial art school owners who made poor business decisions for their schools because they were worried about what their friends, instructors, association, or competitors would think.
My response to that is, “Who cares?”
Look, your instructor and the people you chat with in that online martial arts forum aren’t paying your bills. And their opinions of you, good or bad, aren’t negotiable currency that you can deposit in your bank account. Certainly, you want to make decisions that reflect positively on your business, but in reality the only people you have to answer to are yourself, your family, and your creditors.
When your kid needs new shoes and your bank account is tapped, or the credit card company is calling about when you’ll be sending in a payment, or when the bank repos your car, your good standing in the ‘Hard Core Martial Arts Instructors Local #7′ union chapter ain’t gonna’ take care of those issues.
So, stop worrying about what other people think and start making decisions based on what you know is right for your business.
As I said earlier in this article, money likes speed. Often in business, the difference between a person who is first to market and those who come after is the difference between being a winner or an also-ran.
And by rapidly implementing news ideas and concepts in your business (useful new ideas and concepts, I should say) you’ll always be several steps ahead of your competition. While they’re trying to figure out what you’re doing and copy it, you’re already working on the next new idea or marketing campaign.
So take the three keys above and use them to discard procrastination in your business, and instead adopt a new attitude of getting things done immediately. When the end of the year rolls around, I bet you’ll find that your bank account reflects your new-found work ethic, and that you’re a lot less stressed about getting things done as well.