I’ve always been a strong believer that your mental attitude to your online business is more important than anything you actually do online.
Which is a great and noble thing to write on my blog.
I’m also a right lazy sod at times.
If it’s a decision between writing a broadcast email and watching that bear on a trampoline video on Youtube that made wine come down my nose when I first watched it….well who’s gonna win in the real world?
I try to stay away from my computer as much as possible when I’m not actually doing anything that isn’t actual computer work. Checking emails and browsing forums is NOT work.
You want to scare yourself half to death? Try this:
Get a cheap $20 webcam and position it so it looks down on you and your desk.
Record yourself for a few days.
I’ll bet you twenty quid that the main thing you see is your left arm on the desk, with your chin resting on your hand….
And your right hand ocassionally clicking a mouse button.
(Other way round if you’re left-handed)
But that’s not the scary thing.
The scary thing is the expression on your face. You’ll be staring, open mouthed at your monitor screen, perhaps even drooling from time to time without noticing.
In England we call this ‘The B&Q face’
‘B&Q’ is a home DIY store where you can buy everything you need to improve or make repairs to your home. Anything.
Unfortunately they seem to recruit staff by putting something shiny on the floor in front of the building and then throwing a net over anyone who stares at it for longer than 20 minutes.
(Can you tell I’ve had bad experiences in B&Q yet?)
So the ‘B&Q face’ is the expression you’ll see when you go up to one of their staff and ask ‘do you sell wood’?
If you work there I apologise unreservedly (even though you’ll have to look up that last word)
So I did the webcam thing and found myself wasting TONS of time fannying about doing absolutely NOTHING except browse, check emails, and other highly un-productive stuff.
Not a single productive thing emerged. Nada.
But it was the look on my own face that really freaked me out. It’s probably the same when I’m watching TV or cutting my toenails.
It’s the look of WASTED TIME, which in our line of work means of course, wasted money.
So I fell back on a technique I read about somewhere. I wish I could remember where because I’d give them full credit because it’s been working like CRAZY for me this past week.
Let me give you an example.
I had promised to put together some new graphics for two minisites owned by me and my partner in our plugin business.
I reckoned there was about an hour’s work to do.
So I found myself sitting at my computer the other night, knowing that my wife was going to be calling me for dinner in about half an hour.
Now normally I’d put off the website design I needed to do until later or the following day.
But armed with my new technique, which is simply this:
START IT RIGHT NOW!
I got stuck into the site.
Bugger me but I pressed the ‘save’ button at the exact same time my lovely wife asked me to open some wine because the food was ready.
I did the job in 30 minutes of time I would otherwise have just wasted with aimless browsing or endless email checking!
It was half an hour of pure unadulterated productivity!
A fluke I thought….
So the next day I found myself putting off researching a new project idea because I thought it would take me more than the 15 minutes I had before I was due to go out.
The same happened. I got stuck in rather than putting it off until later, and lo and behold….I finished it in one go.
And the SAME happened AGAIN this morning with a job I’ve been putting off for WEEKS.
This blog has been hosted for a while on what used to be a decent hosting company. A shared host I agree, and one I’ve been using for a lot of years but until recently it was always reliable.
Not so lately.
The load times for my blog have gotten STUPIDLY slow, and I think the support team who answer my tickets asking why this is used to work for the Clintons because they just deny everything.
‘Nope, not our fault’
‘Everything seems OK from our end’
Prunes. The lot of them.
Anyhow this morning I was on a Skype call with a business partner and I mentioned my blog, and knowing that he’s also great with techy stuff as well as a businessman, I sort of cajoled him into transferring the whole thing over to our dedicated server.
The whole thing was done in – dunno – 45 minutes tops.
So I’m a convert to ‘START IT RIGHT NOW’ which is why I’m preaching to you. Don’t put stuff off, do it RIGHT NOW. Even if you don’t finish it (but a lot of the time you will) at least you’ll have made inroads into the task.
As internet marketers, we are MASTERS of procrastination. If we put as much effort into our IM as we do putting OFF doing stuff we’d be a Hell of a lot richer.
I know it’s nothing new – it’s nothing new for me – but I’ve sort of let it slide a bit and now I’m starting to remember how effective this used to be for me.
Give it a go and see what you think. See if you get the same results. Whatever you’ve been putting off, make a start on it right NOW.
I’ll leave you with a supposedly true extract from an application form from a real B&Q employee:
He was asked to explain his criminal record and wrote: ‘We stole a pig, but it was a really small pig.’
And then he was asked to sum up his attitude to work, he wrote (my favourite):
‘I am a wedge with a sponge taped to it. My purpose is to wedge myself into someone’s door to absorb as much as possible.
I hope he got the job.
Comments welcome as always.
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Great post. I’m right there with you on the procrastination thing… I could write a book about the subject.
In fact, I’ve been meaning to… for years…
Just haven’t quite gotten around to it yet 😉
Your advice to “Start it right NOW” is right on the money!
At my day job (yeah, still trying to get out of there), I regularly balk at starting new projects because I don’t think I have enough time to finish them before… the next meeting, important phone call, lunch, whatever.
But, like you, I’ve lately made an effort to go ahead and “Start right now” anyway… even when I don’t think I have “enough” time.
And I do often run out of time before I complete those projects…
But I find that just getting started makes them a whole lot easier to finish when I come back to them later. And sometimes I actually do finish them “right now”!
Thanks, Tony. Keep those helpful tips coming!
John R. Cumbow
Good point about just starting the assignment and trying to get it done now. Even if the task gets split out into 2 or more parts, that first part is a huge stepping stone going into the next. Otherwise, the whole project runs the risk of getting put off entirely. Thanks for your post.
“Checking emails and browsing forums is NOT work.”
Nor is reading your blog Tony but it IS entertaining, informative and inspirational.
Spot on Pippa – reading my blog isn’t work – but thanks for breaking my own rule 🙂
Deffo working for me Mike!
Thanks for posting
“At my day job (yeah, still trying to get out of there), I regularly balk at starting new projects because I don’t think I have enough time to finish them before… the next meeting, important phone call, lunch, whatever.”
It’s the same in any job or business I think John. I’ve been very bad at this in the past few weeks – hence this post about what I’ve been doing.
Thanks for posting!
Hi Mr T (no pun intended) Hehe!
Thanks for another great post!
What would be your advice to those like me whom just simply get a bit bogged down in information overload? I think sometimes this is why procrastination occurs.
Loved the advice at the end.
Ps Jenson and Lewis go for it today in Hungary…Thou shalt not proscrastinate, thou shalt not procrastinate!! 😉
The way I get round info overload is to do short projects.
Ones that takes no more than a matter of hours or days from start to finish.
From blank weboage to money in the Paypal ccount.
That way I can focus a lot more.
Hope this helps
Another golden nugget, and a great way forward in this age of information overload! 🙂
Batching your work is essential with all the distractions in today’s world. Focusing 100% on one task only for a set period of time (i.e an hour or two), will massively boost your productivity.
Switching the mobile phone off, sticking up the “do not disturb” on the door as well as trying your best to ignore the squealing pig in the back of the B&Q delivery drivers van helps too!
Great tips Tony, as always. If you ever drop down to Cornwall for your hols, let me know and I’ll gladly buy you a beer (and a bacon sandwich!!!).
Have a great weekend mate.
This post comes at a perfect time Tony.
Whenever there’s a difficult or uncomfortable task to be done, suddenly I create lot’s of busy work to distract myself.
I find setting a deadline (whether arbitrary and self-imposed or real) helps to light a little fire under my a$s…
I’m gonna put your camera technique into practice…not sure if I can bear to see myself in Homer Simpson pose…
‘Batching your work’ – great phrase that I should have used in my post. Sums it up perfectly.
And yes we do get down to your part of the world quite regularly so I’ll take you up on that pint!
The camera thing actually shocked me. I didn’t think I could sit still for that long, but the time wasted is the really scary bit.
Thanks for taking the time to post
When I read this part of your post
— “I’ll bet you twenty quid that the main thing you see is your left arm on the desk, with your chin resting on your hand….
And your right hand ocassionally clicking a mouse button.” —
I nearly fell off my chair – that’s exactly what I was doing as I read it! I’m off to my local bar to watch the Hungarian Grand Prix in a few minutes so I thought I’d just check a few emails before I left…
Feeling guilty now!
Great post Tony – Cheers – Dave
Dave I’m the same as you I was in that exact same position myself reading Tony’s post – (left hand on chin and right hand holding the mouse as if it was going to run away or something).
Although reading Tony’s posts is not ‘work’ par-say, every time I do read one of Tony’s blog post’s I always come away with something that I can use in life or my business.
So,in my mind it’s always worth the read And I don’t class it as procrastination:)
You never fail to entertain and instruct at the same time. I’d been putting off networking my computers because of how long it would take and I wasn’t sure how to do it. Yesterday I was forced to do it and guess what? It hardly took any time at all!
In common with most married men there are three words that my dearly beloved has whispered in my ear over the years. DO IT NOW! As usual she’s right.
Thanks for your comments, Dave Michael and Doug.
The posts I write aren’t hard to come up with. I just waffle on about the stupid stuff I do and the ways I find to get it sorted!
But this anti-procrastination method has worked wonders for me over the lasy few days. Gonn stick with it I reckon.
I can definitely identify with this!
I went away last week for a short break and I knew that where we were going I wouldn’t be able to get an internet connection. I realized on the morning we were leaving that I had to finish this report for a client (it had been something I’d been working on for a while but had slipped my mind for a couple of days.) Basically I had exactly 1 hr to finish it – and this involved a couple of thousand words. Guess what? I did it! But I would never have done so had we not been going away on holiday. I reckon it would have taken me 3 hrs and would probably have spilled over into the next day.