At a recent voice over recording, the artist said — according to his grandmother, stress is a choice. I was quick to agree, but it got me thinking about what is stressing me out at the moment. The first word to pop in my mind was procrastination, the true thief of time.

Running your own business too is a choice and the most valuable asset is time. Yes, we all procrastinate – but, like all bad habits – this is one that is learnt over time. We put off that which we don’t feel like doing, or what we think we can leave to the very last minute. This results in a manageable project growing into an epic undertaking – albeit sometimes only in perception. We get away with it and do it again.

Frustration and time pressure builds – resulting in added, unnecessary stress. Some people thrive on this, but I’m not one of them. I really don’t see the point of taking the time to formulate action plans and timelines – just to ignore them.

Perhaps winter is to blame. Shorter days and longer dark hours, along with a biological desire to hibernate may be what makes us more prone to procrastination at this time of year. Like eating one chocolate is not going to make you fat – one act of procrastination is not going to create a bad habit. It’s the repetition of this behaviour that indoctrinates it into one’s psyche – making it more difficult to break the cycle.

With the silly season just three months away and Spring on our doorstep – it’s a great time to bring about change. I’m tired of my own excuses (too tired, too dark, too cold) not to get done what I expect myself to do (like get up early and go for a run).

Something I personally struggle with is baby steps – and therein lies real success. Consistent, regular change is what you want. Keeping to the running analogy – I really shouldn’t up and do a marathon this week-end to ease my conscience. Can I do it? Yes. Will it cause me significant stress? Yes, and I’ll probably injure myself and lay off running for another month!

It’s about the achievable, daily week-day 6km run that doesn’t take too much time, but builds. Then I can take on that illusive marathon.

As prolific blogger, author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker Seth Godin says “If you don’t start, you can’t fail, but if you don’t start, you will fail.”

Let’s spring into action then!