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I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Nicola Cairncross today and will share the podcast link when it becomes available.  Nicola uses GoToWebinar to record the interviews and turns the audio into podcasts.

Nicola_Cairncross-webinar-marketing Did you know you can send ads for to your webinar registration page directly to group members in Facebook?

Nicola took action prior to the annual Marketer’s Cruise with a sponsored Facebook ad targeted to just the cruise participants.

But once she got on the cruise having fun was a higher priority.

She did not actually procrastinate, she just choose a more optimal time after the cruise for the interviews.

She recently wrote that you may find it hard to take action as an aspiring entrepreneur and end up procrastinating.

Here is a Nicola’s most recent post about procrastination and the Zeigarnik Effect:

As a coach / mentor, one of my main skills has to be enabling people to get clarity, create a plan and then take action on that plan.

I’ve blogged about it many times and one of my main frustrations is when I spend time with people and, at the end of the call, they seem motivated, they have a step by step plan, but still….they just don’t take action.

When considering new applicants for my mentoring programme, I ask potential students to complete a task, that tells me immediately if they are action takers or procrastinators. Only the action takers get in.

Until today I’ve been a bit mystified about why so many do procrastinate, but today, by accident, I came across something called The Zeigarnik Effect which may explain everything!

This email is a bit long but if you ARE a procrastinator, it will make you feel better and it MAY help you get cracking. And, if you read to the very end, you’ll find out about something brand new that may help you even more!

First up, you know that most of your fortune in business is in the pockets of people you already know or within a 25 mile radius of where you stand, right now, right?

(Social media extends that reach rather dramatically but you have to know how to use it right. Did you know, for example, that you can create new prospect lists from the list of the people you already know on one platform and then, import the people you know on LinkedIn for example and reach out to them on Facebook!)

Well, my friend Steve sent me to read an article on Ian Brodie’s blog about how to get in touch with old clients and contacts in a really cool way with the intention of turning them into new business. Reading it immediately gave me some great ideas for how he could do that and he’s been putting those ideas into action ever since.

Right at the end of the article Ian says “And if, like me, you’ve been following Richard Wiseman’s excellent psychology-based tips in his book “59 Seconds”, you’ll know that the best way to beat procrastination and actually achieve something is to just get started and work on it for a few minutes (thus harnessing the Zeigarnik effect)”.

As I know quite a few SERIOUS procrastinators, I was curious about both the book and the Zeigarnik Effect, which sounded a bit like time management coach Mark Forster’s excellent technique of “just get the file out”. So I looked it up on Google and found a really great quote about how you are much more likely to remember and regret things you don’t do, than things you DO do.

However, rather ironically, I couldn’t complete my blog post right then, so ended up losing the page with the great quote on it!

Then I remembered about browsing history and lo and behold! I found it again. On the rather catchily entitled “Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin” website.


Well at least it says what it does on the tin!

“Regrets appear to follow a systematic temporal pattern: Regrettable commissions (things you do) loom larger in the short term, whereas regrettable omissions (things you don’t do) are more prominent in the long run. This research examines whether this pattern can be attributed in part to the Zeigarnik effect, or peoples’ tendency to remember incompleted tasks better than completed tasks. Does Zeigarnik-like rumination over regrettable failures to act make them easier to recall, and thus more available as sources of regret?

A survey found that people think about their biggest regrets of inaction more frequently than their biggest regrets of action. In two additional studies, participants listed their three biggest regrets of action and three biggest regrets of inaction, and then attempted to recall them several weeks later. As anticipated, participants remembered more of their regrettable omissions than their regrettable commissions, an effect that was maintained when the severity of the regrets was controlled statistically.”

Follow that? Good….

This ties up nicely with the “Top 5 Things Dying People Regret” which seem to revolve around things people didn’t do, rather than things they did do.

When searching for that quote above, I came across David Kanigan’s blog “Lead, Learn, Live” where he talks about how the Zeigarnik Effect makes it difficult to get things done (and what to do about it)

“I came to learn of the Ziegarnik Effect in PsyBlog. In 1927, Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik conducted a study in a busy restaurant in Vienna where she found that waiters remembered uncompleted orders or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. This is described as the Zeigarnik Effect.

In 1982, almost 60 years later, Kenneth McGraw conducted another study of the Zeigarnik Effect where the participants where asked to do a tricky puzzle; except they were interrupted before any of them could solve it – – and then they were told the study was over. Despite being asked to stop, nearly 90% kept working on the puzzle anyway. These incompleted tasks “rattle around in our heads,” distracting and interrupting us from being focused and getting important things done.

PsyBlog’s recommendations below are on point. I would suggest an alternative approach in one area. PsyBlog suggests that in order to eliminate unfinished tasks from being a distraction, you need to get specific about action plans on your tasks (what, when, how, where). I prefer David Allen’s strategy in “Getting Things Done.”

If it’s on your mind, your mind isn’t clear – – you will be distracted. You need to clear the noise.

Get all of your tasks written down and out of your head.

Have a system you trust to keep track of your tasks.

And then ask yourself: “What’s the next action”. Then, take the next action to move the task forward – no matter how small it is.

You’ll find that you’ll have more mental capacity to focus on what’s in front of you.

Getting too specific about action plans can be overwhelming and will lead many of us to do nothing (to procrastinate).

Outcome: we will continue to have “rocks” rattling around in our heads. Best to get started, gather momentum and then dive deeper into the planning process as you gather a head of steam”

OK, back to the main story.

I was talking to a family member who does have massive challenges in procrastination and when I talked to her about all the above, she says for her, it’s all about the (negative) voice(s) in her head that taunts her with lists of things not completed in the past, with accusations of not being “good enough”etc.

I wonder whose voice those voices talk in, as when I was a wealth coach, a lot of negative head chatter around money, wealth and rich people often had a specific voice sound – someone you used to know who may not even be in your life any more.

If you can identify the voice, you can recognise it and question whether you still want to be listening to that person any more!


Additional Recommended Action Steps

In conclusion, then, if you want to stop procrastinating and succeed, you need to get things out of your head onto a list – but not a very detailed list, try “big picture” instead,

You might want to try just getting the file out and perhaps just tell yourself you’ll work on the job for a few minutes and see how it goes.

Don’t take on too many new things and create a new and good habit of ONLY taking on things you know you’ll do easily – give yourself permission to abandon the rest.

I was talking to the same family member yesterday who hadn’t finished a book (that I was waiting to read!) because she hadn’t done the suggested exercises. I said “give yourself permission to just read the bloody book already, without having to do the exercises!”

Anything you do take on, push through the pain of procrastination and make sure you actually complete tasks to create a virtuous circle of achievement and higher self esteem. Honestly, ticking things off your newly shortened list will give you a great feeling.

And you might want to take the Kolbe “A” Test online too, to find out your preferred method of taking action, what you will and won’t do easily. Highly recommended.

I know a great way – a short simple exercise – to get all those nasty voices and limiting beliefs out of your head and blast through them to the REAL reasons you are not taking action yet. I’d love to share that with you. Do feel free to email me and I’ll send it right back to you.

I Like To Work With Action Takers!

However, the people who I most like to work with are serious action takers, people who have already done the work on themselves, who have blasted through their limiting beliefs, who have a great product or service that they want to share with the world, but who just want to know what to do, to market that effectively, and in which order.

Authors, consultants, specialist coaches, trainers, speakers, people who want to stop trading time for money, driving up and down the country to deliver a talk here, one day’s consultancy or training here, half a day there…people who want to create an automated marketing machine to bring more of their ideal readers, clients or customers.

People who want to get that expertise out of their heads and into digital prodcuts that create a passive income while marketing their business.

Perhaps someone like you?

So, if you want to go into 2014 with a focused, clear, exciting action plan, knowing exactly what you need to do to succeed online, join me and let’s create your Perfect Online Business Plan together.

I Can Help You!

I have a great online business planning tool and I’m really, really good at drilling down through what you COULD do to make money online, through to what is the online business plan that is most likely to SUCCEED in helping you finally make money online.

I’ve honed that into a unique system called “The Perfect Online Business Plan”.

I’d love to share that with you.

It’s just ONE MODULE of my 12-step mentoring programme and if you like the sound of working with me, to get your online business rocket launched, just watch the “Triple-M Blueprint” webinar and then click the button below the video.

I’m really looking forward to talking with you!

Warm regards

Nicola Cairncross

Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur & Internet Marketing Strategist

For links to all my books & projects visit:   http://NicolaCairncross.com

For help with your business marketing visit:  http://TheBusinessSuccessFactory.com

To get Nicola and her team to do it all for you visit:  http://ROARlocal.com

#LikesUP for Nicola Cairncross


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