Procrastination is a Despised Behavior that Works

I admit it, I procrastinate.  I can even give the reasons and times I prefer to procrastinate.

  • “I work better under pressure. The closer the deadline, the more creative I am.”
  • “I have plenty of time to complete by the deadline, I have other priorities and can start later.”

The truth is at times; I am rebelling because it isn’t what I want to do.  Tony Simons, Associate Professor at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration conducted research and asked 6,500 employees in both the US and Canada Holiday Inn hotels to study how engaged their managers and employees were.  The study showed when employees felt their managers weren’t truthful, they were less likely to follow the manager.  They were also less receptive to their ideas and not engaged.   How many times have you been in that situation?  Have you procrastinated because you weren’t engaged?

PROCRASTINATION CAN INSPIRE

Procrastination can kill motivation and inspire it. The more time you have to ponder and think about a topic, the more you are able to think of the “what if” scenarios.  In corporate, I’ve worked with a number of leaders who have charisma oozing out of them.  Everything the leader says is motivating.  They speak from experience and know the challenges they’ve overcome.  They give credit and respect to their teams to step above and beyond your comfort zone.  Leaders speak of their own words of lessons learned and are heard with respect and admiration.

Psychology Today did a survey and found, in the 1970’s, 5% of the population thought they were procrastinating while five years ago, procrastinators increased to 25% of the population.  It’s ironic that there’s yet another 5% of the population that rarely if ever procrastinate.  This 5% is the team member that pushes you to take action when they are ready and you are still thinking.

We can identify the top reasons to procrastinate but I’d rather look at when we procrastinate because we have a reason.

PROCRASTINATION CAN ALIENATE

Procrastination can alienate teams too.  Consider when you have a project and it’s based on the effort of a team of six.  When half of the team procrastinates, it creates a contentious time to schedule meetings for progress or accountability. The procrastinators are feeling pushed by the action takers.  The team feels a lack of cohesion as a result of the division between the two groups.  Sounds easy, just break down the wall by having an open dialogue rather than pushing to work on the project.  Overcoming the procrastination requires more listening on the part of the action takers.  Jumping into activity is moving along on the path to accomplishing the goal.  The truth is the procrastinators are either facing something they really don’t want to do or have other higher priorities.  By being pushed by someone who wants to check off an item on their

PROCRASTINATORS PUSHED BY ACTION TAKERS

Overcoming the procrastination requires more listening on the part of the action takers.  Jumping into activity is moving along on the path to accomplishing the goal.  The truth is the procrastinators are either facing something they really don’t want to do or have other higher priorities.  By being pushed by someone who wants to check off an item on their to-do list, the procrastinator will rebel.  It does take motivation to start something you don’t really want to do.  Once started, unless there’s a shiny bright object that’s more appealing, I’ll put it on the back burner until I have a clear, concise approach to how I can complete this with efficiency so I’m not redoing until it’s completed.

PROCRASTINATION TRIGGERS FEAR

Three years ago, I was in a mastermind weekend with 30 other people.  The goal of the weekend was to face your fears and start the action for building your business.  There were eight to ten people who were quiet and reserved in the group.  I was one of them.  It felt like we were being prodded with a heated branding iron to speak up.  Continually being called out to see if we had reactions or were triggered by the fears others were talking about.

We were reminded we were there to face our fears.  By speaking about them in front of the group, we faced our fears head on.  Was this the best way to sit in the “hot seat” and talk about a situation where you faced your fears?  It felt like an intimidation tactic, to scare me out of my fears.  The other attendees could ask questions to dig deeper for the person in the hot seat if they faced similar fears, to help you break through your own fear.

TAKE OFF THE PROCRASTINATION HANDCUFFS

At the conclusion of the weekend, if you didn’t speak up, you would go home thinking about why you failed to speak up.  You were asked to consider why you would be a failure in your business for not taking action.  Procrastination was a powerful tool used for the mastermind.  I wasn’t sure it was to highlight why you failed in the weekend activities or to break through your procrastination handcuffs.  It was effective.  Some people went through moving experiences of being born again.  While others were more quietly breaking through their fears.  I pushed through the fear on my own. I labeled myself as a work in progress and have been facing my fears more constructively.

Procrastination was a powerful tool used for the mastermind.  I wasn’t sure it was to highlight why you failed in the weekend activities or to break through your procrastination handcuffs.  It was effective.  Some people went through moving experiences of being born again.  While others were more quietly breaking through their fears.  I pushed through the fear on my own. I labeled myself as a work in progress and have been facing my fears more constructively.

PROCRASTINATION CAN BE BOTH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE

Have you noticed that when you procrastinate, the additional time provides the opportunity to brainstorm more, add more what ifs and how I can do more?  Procrastination can be used as a time management tool.  Yes, you can focus on what must be done.  By giving yourself a few reasons to focus on your own procrastination, you can be more successful.

  • Project steps. By breaking down the project into bite sized manageable pieces, it is easier to complete smaller steps with intention rather than being overwhelmed by the enormity.
  • Countdown. Use Mel Robbins method of countdown 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1, TAKE ACTION.  I’ll start NOW gets you moving.
  • Just this once.” Change your approach to manageable procrastination. Does the situation warrant slow down at this time?  If not, get moving.  You’ll feel better about intentional progress.
  • Accept that we underestimate how fast time passes. Everything takes longer than we think because we cannot stop the hands on the clock EVER until we stop.

So after considerable revisions and wanting to add more content, I’ll stop here and press the button to finish today.

 

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