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How To Beat Procrastination

In business, mastering focus is paramount.  Without a clear, articulated and ongoing focus, people are easily distracted.  This was an important lesson that My Food Bag’s Chair, Kevin Roberts, taught us.  

In the early 2000s, when Team New Zealand won the America’s Cup, the team on board possessed a clear and articulated focus.  In fact, it was a supremely simple yet effective focus; “make the boat go faster”.  So, if your job wasn’t focused on making “the boat go faster”, you were focused on the wrong thing!  This also applies in business, if you’re not focused on the right thing, you’ll soon find yourself in deep water.

So, if focus is a trick to beating to procrastination, how do you stay focused?   Here are our Top 5 methods!

  1. Articulate and agree your focus.  What is the one thing that you must do each day to keep your business on track?  Whether it’s making your boat go faster or growing your brand love, identify what your business needs and focus your energy on achieving it.
  2. Keep a “to do” list.  Regularly review it – set daily targets of what needs to be done and hold yourself to account.  I recommend to re-write your list at least weekly, if not every 2–3 days to ensure you are staying on task.
  3. Acknowledge procrastination.  Studies have shown that most adults can only focus 3–4 hours at a time.  Rather than stare aimlessly at your laptop or phone, get moving.   Why not schedule your next catch-up as a “walk and talk” and get some fresh air or go for a coffee to clear your brain?   I often listen to music to improve my focus. There is evidence that music improves your thinking.  Change your state, refresh your mind!
  4. Remove technology distractions.  If you’re prone to procrastination or get easily distracted, set rules for yourself; for example, turn off your email notifications and only respond to text messages at the start of/end of each day. Communicate your needs to the people around you so that they’re aware what you are doing to manage distractions.
  5. Don’t expect to do everything.  Since having children, I’m the most productive I’ve ever been because I have a limited number of hours I can (and choose) to be in an office environment.  I’ve been able to increase my output and productivity by ensuring I focus on the right things; rather than everything.

The focus to “Fill New Zealand with My Food Bag Foodies” was something we championed which, over time, evolved into “Fill New Zealand with My Food Bag fans”, acknowledging that even if you weren’t a customer of ours, we still wanted you to have a positive experience with our brand.  We’d literally ask each other and our team, “What are we doing today to fill New Zealand with My Food Bag fans?” driving our focus into the team each day.

Ultimately, the key to dealing with procrastination is that you must be self-aware enough to acknowledge it as a problem, and secondly, you must be prepared to tackle it.  I’d love to hear what else has worked for you.  Flick us a message with your thoughts!