Most people procrastinate in areas they perceive to be painful. We’re more prone to procrastinate if the task seems too difficult, too tedious or.…too painful. The procrastinator will often put off important tasks until the very last minute and may even put off necessary and important tasks indefinitely.
Think of the kinds of tasks you put off. For example: Have you ever put off terminating an employee who you knew was poison to the rest of the team, lazy, not committed or not productive enough, knowing she/he hasn’t got it in them to ever be productive enough?
Do you know what you just did?
YOU WAITED UNTIL THE PAIN WAS GREAT ENOUGH!
Up until the time you did it (terminated the employee), it all seemed too hard. You don’t like confrontation or upsetting people. Perhaps you even thought you would make them cry. That’s the ‘pain’. That’s the avoidance. Even though you knew it was the right thing for the business; which would have been the ‘pleasure’. At that juncture, the pain of it all seemed far greater than the perceived pleasure. So, you didn’t terminate.
And then, the situation became unbearable. The employee was losing sales, upsetting the rest of the team and disrespecting you. At this juncture, avoiding the pain no longer seemed as great as before. The employee had to go. The pleasure of having a business without that employee was MUCH GREATER than the pain of the confrontation. So you finally did it. You terminated them.
Now it’s great that you finally did it, but at what cost? Everything and everyone would have been much better off if you had done it when you first thought they should leave. You see, it’s human nature to default to avoiding pain rather than seeking pleasure. The trick and true ‘leadership’ is to look at the effect of your action, whichever way you go. Change your mindset to feeling that the pleasure of a work environment free of a bad apple is far greater than the pain of confrontation.
You really need to understand WHY you do WHAT you do. If you don’t understand why you do what you do or why you DON’T do what you don’t do, then you get addicted to procrastination. Procrastination is one of the most common addictions in business that keep people disappointed, often leading to guilt and shame.
Like any addiction, procrastination can be addressed. You can’t overcome it overnight. Think about it, it took a lifetime to develop this habit. It won’t take a lifetime to break it, however it will take time. You can’t be neurotic about it. You must be practical. You need to be grounded and committed. You must be organised. Moreover, you must take ‘blame’ out of the equation.
Have you ever used the language “She/he made me do it”? No one can make you do or not do anything. No one has the power to affect you that you don’t give the power to.
One of the biggest reasons people procrastinate is because they don’t really know how to effectively do what they need to do. They don’t have the confidence or the knowledge they need to get the task done efficiently and smoothly. When that confidence is absent, the ‘doing’ of the task creates greater pain than the prospect of the task being completed and creating pleasure.
This is also what’s happening with your team. When a team member doesn’t do what is expected of them, their perceived pain is greater than their perceived pleasure. Why? Because they simply don’t know enough to turn it around to greater perceived pleasure than perceived pain.
So what do you do to overcome this?
It all starts with being an action person. No successful business owner ever succeeded by chance. The successful have acquired the habits, the knowledge and the mindset of a successful business owner. If you don’t acquire the habits, knowledge and skills required to get there, then you pay with the pain of regret.
The greatest commonality of successful business people is that they have a different level of desire. It’s a red-hot passion that is invisible. You can’t see it but you know it’s there by the way they behave and carry themselves. Whatever they do, they have pride in. Pride in a job well done, reaping well-earned rewards.
If your problems are bigger than your passion, you’ll procrastinate. If your world falls around you, have the courage to get back up. Even if you’ve hit rock bottom, YOU’RE NEVER OUT OF THE GAME! You need to have those insatiable qualities and energy that cannot be seen but can be felt. It’s courage. It’s passion. It’s pride. It’s desire.
That’s what separates the mediocre from the remarkable.
If you want to succeed, you can’t get passive about it. You can’t procrastinate. You’ve got to take action. You’ve got to get IN the GAME! You can’t win sitting on the bench. No one wins sitting on the bench. You’ve got to take the hits and learn from them.
We all get hit. The question is… how long are you going to stay down?
Most people spend more time on their problems than they do on their passion. You need to stop spending time on things that don’t serve you. You need to let go of situations that take your time and don’t serve you. Something has got to give. Start to commit to doing one thing first. Focus on not just doing it, but the accomplishment of doing it. And then you’ll reap the reward from it. Do it again and again. Soon it will be your new habit.
Move onto the next area. Get organised.
You must BE organised. It’s not something you do but rather something you BE.
By Brigitte Benge, CREAM Solutions