To put it mildly, the last year has been a lot. Many of us have been working in the unknown, battling uncertainty -- in our personal lives and business lives -- every single day. Even if we don’t want to say it, we’ve been dealing with fear. 

It can be easier to put things off when there’s so much outside of our control. We try to keep things comfortable, where we know what to do and what’s going to happen. We want to keep our world more manageable, so we wind up procrastinating.

Procrastination is a coping mechanism. If you think of a line with coping at one side and thriving at the other, procrastination is solidly on the coping side of the spectrum.

It’s a reaction to stress.

Oh, I’ll go wash that window!

Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if my desk was clean?

Oh, there’s the dryer! I’ve got to go fold the laundry!

You focus on the simple things that can be done in the short term to avoid the things that feel too big and too out of your control. You procrastinate because it gives you comfort; it gives you something you can achieve.

Spend some time taking a look at the coping to thriving spectrum. Where do you fall? Are you doing tons of tiny tasks in order to avoid other, potentially more consequential tasks? Are you somewhere in the middle? Once you know where you fall, that awareness can break you free of the cycle of procrastination. When you understand why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling, you can use that understanding to plot a way forward.

I’d like to challenge entrepreneurs to not consider December through February the slow months of the year. I think we should reframe our outlook and consider the winter months the opportunity months. While your calendar is a little less packed with deadlines and client meetings, you can take the time to dig into all those things you’ve been putting off. Now is a great time to take on some of that work.

You have the opportunity to do the things you’ve wanted to do but haven’t had the time to do. 

You have the opportunity to really focus on a task you’ve been shoving aside and give it the time it deserves.

You have the opportunity to take the time to invest in ourselves and in our companies so that you can reap the rewards of our hard work and break the cycle of procrastination.

I’d love to hear from you. In the comments, let me know: what you’ve been spending a lot of time avoiding lately?

Terry Doloughty is the Founder of B.O.S.S. Consulting with thirty years of experience in both the for profit and nonprofit sectors. Terry believes that leadership is the most valuable renewable resource. He’s passionate about sharing his skills and life experiences with the next generation of leaders so they can grow their organizations and support their communities.

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