Procrastination Will Kill YouJan 16, 2023
Have you ever found yourself putting off things you know you should be doing? You are not a lazy person, but you are resistant to doing certain tasks.
Do you have team member or colleague that you rely on that procrastinate and it effects your ability to get your work done. SO FRUSTRATING!!!
Putting off tasks we don't enjoy is common, in fact studies have shown that around 20% of people are chronic procrastinators.
Procrastination comes in a variety of ways. It could be putting off making a doctors appointment, meeting a deadline at work, finishing a report, a household chore, doing taxes or paying bills, putting off a workout.
"But I work better under pressure!" That is a common fallacy and a limiting belief. One that is costing you more than you realize.
Perhaps working better under pressure has gotten you to your current level of success, but this bad habit is holding you back from achieving your highest potential.
Have you heard of the fable: The Ants and the Grasshopper?
A quick summary of the story is:
It's summertime and the ants are working hard and preparing for the upcoming winter. As they are harvesting the food, they will need to survive the winter, the grasshopper makes fun of them.
He says, “Why are you working so hard? The grasshopper is only interested in playing music and having fun.
The ants keep doing what they do, harvesting and preparing for winter. The grasshopper continues to question them and makes fun of them.
As the seasons change from summer to fall, and finally to winter, the grasshopper comes to the ants shivering and hungry, and asks for shelter and food as he is cold and hungry.
The ant looks at the grasshopper with astonishment: “What have you been doing all summer? Where is the food you have been storing for winter?”
The grasshopper whined: “I was so busy making music that before I knew it, the summer was gone.”
This is where it gets dark. The ants shrug their shoulders in disgust. “Making music? Well then, now you can dance!”
The ants turn their back on the grasshopper, and he is left to starve and die in the cold winter.
What a way to end a children's book!
Despite the lack of compassion on behalf of the ants (which is counter to our random acts of kindness task in the E3 Challenge), the lesson is this:
-Putting things off will kill you.
Well probably not, but it is seriously costing you.
Procrastination comes at a cost. People who procrastinate experience:
- Higher levels of stress
- More frequent illnesses-(due to the stress)
- Strained relationships- (people are annoyed by your toxic habit!)
- Financial complications due to delinquent bill paying - (STRESS!)
- It impacts efficiencies in your organization and costing you revenue
People spend about 28% of their work week managing email and another 20% looking for information. People spend too much time at the water cooler, meetings that go too long, and other worthless activities like sorting and organizing their email, all to avoid the pain of the task they don’t want to do.
So why do we procrastinate? Here are some common reasons according to research:
- Forgetting- poor time management skills
- Not wanting to do something- they don't like the task
- Not knowing what needs to be done- lack of communication/leadership
- Not knowing how to do something- lack of training or expertise
- Not caring if it gets done or not-low motivation or morale
- Not caring when something gets done- low motivation or morale
- Not feeling like it or being in the mood-low motivation or morale
- Habit of waiting until the last minute- poor time management skills
- Lacking the initiative - low motivation or morale
- Blaming sickness or poor health- waited until last minute and got sick
- Waiting for the right moment- perfectionism
- Needing time to think about the task-over analyzing
- Delaying one task in favor of working on another- prioritization
- Organizational Roadblocks- red tape and roadblocks
- Believing that you work better under pressure
The first step in breaking the habit is to be self-aware and know what kind of procrastinator you are.
- Perfectionist: Puts it off due to fear of not doing it perfectly.
- Overdoer: takes on too much and doesn't manage time well.
- Crisis-maker: Believes they work better under pressure!
- Dreamer: Puts off tasks because they are not good at paying attention to detail.
- Worrier: Puts things off due to fearing the unknown - prefers the known.
- Defier: Doesn't like to be told what to do.
Strategy: Chart Your Next 5 Moves
Lack of planning is a common contributor to procrastination. A key simple planning strategy is to create your plan for the day and look at the tasks or project you are working down and break it down into the next 5 moves. Championship chess players are always aware of the next 5 moves they are going to make. This enables you to see the finish line and get through the task or project faster.
Next 5 Moves:
I know it seems super simple. It is! But being in constant state of awareness and feeling like you are making progress will inspire you to keep moving and help you establish boundaries so you can stay focused.
Strategy: Time Blocking
Carving out a specific block of time to work on activities without interruption or distraction is a great way to be more productive. Set your stopwatch or timer for a set amount of time- I recommend 50 minutes, and just do the work that needs to be done. There are many apps that can help you with this such as Pomodoro.
Procrastination is a tough habit to break but you can do it! Consider what procrastination is costing you and your organization. If you need help with that, the Lions Guide can help you or your team mitigate the impacts of procrastination and amplify your organizations focus and productivity.
About the Author
Jay Tiegs is a Certified High-Performance Coach, college professor, podcaster, speaker, trainer, endurance athlete, and the founder of Do Hard Things Nation Apparel. He believes taking on complex challenges with persistence and commitment enables people to find great success in life. Jay is a U.S. Army veteran with 27 years of service, both enlisted and as a commissioned officer.
His mantra "Do Hard Things" has enabled him to overcome many struggles in life and achieve success in completing complex challenges. This shift in perspective allowed him to go from a directionless teenager who grew up in a fatherless home to a commissioned officer in the United States Army, where he successfully commanded two units specializing in the leadership development of our nation's next generation of emerging military leaders.
About Lions Guide
Lions Guide is a growth agency for leaders providing services that help business-owners and organizational leaders strengthen their performance and leadership skills so that they can show up confident in their ability to execute.
We help you lead yourself and lead others better so that you can show up confident in your ability to execute and lead.
Contact us to learn more: www.lionsguide.com
- American Psychological Association. The first step to overcoming procrastination: Know thyself.
- Reference: Tuckman BW, Abry DA, Smith DR. (2008). Learning and Motivation Strategies: Your Guide to Success(2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
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