Excuses, excuses, that’s all you hear from the great procrastinators. A procrastinator, loves a hurdle, welcomes a problem, and takes on any excuse to deny responsibility for their actions.
When you question a procrastinator, they always have a valid reason for their actions, or inaction, and it’s never their fault. There are just many opportunities, so many distractions that can keep a procrastinator from doing the job in hand. Even when they claim they are overwhelmed with work, they will always stop for e-mails, coffee breaks, phone calls, and there’s always the internet—the greatest distraction of them all.
How do you spot a procrastinator? More often than not, they are very good at covering up their tracks. And their constant reasoning behind every action means that they do not even recognize the trait in themselves.
Procrastinators are habitual.
Procrastinators are best known for the doctrine that they can always put off until tomorrow what they didn’t do today. They will always tell you that they work best under pressure, but that’s not the case, it’s only an excuse for rushing the project and quite often missing their deadline, but still they have valid reasons. Away from the office, they send Christmas cards and birthday presents far too late, buy tickets at the last minute, let the household chores build up, but surprisingly, they will always manage to book a holiday and never miss their favorite TV show, but both of which are also an escape.
Never put your business or your key projects in the hands of a procrastinator. You will hear countless excuses why things didn’t materialize as planned. They can also cause mistrust in the work place for never admitting their mistakes and can sabotage the cooperation of a working team.
They are also the worst managers of their own life and career, which is littered with missed opportunities, hurdles to their success, and all of their own making.
What may sound like an enterprising business trait is seriously flawed when it belongs to a procrastinator, as they are habitual perfectionists, quite often fuelled by a fear of rejection. From small tasks to undertaking large projects, the fear that they may do something wrong, or may not be able to complete the work as arranged, holds them back. In fact, they will try to ignore the fact that the project is looming.
Ignorance is bliss, to the point of delusion where a procrastinator is concerned. Problems are swept under the carpet, so they don’t really exist, but if you challenge a procrastinator, they are always the optimist.
“Don’t worry; I will have your project ready on time.”
Chronic blamers, excuse makers, all of the above make the procrastinator sound like your worst business nightmare. Or worse, you could be reading about yourself! (Frankly, I was one myself some time ago…)
The answer is to take responsibility for your actions, visualize and enjoy the success of your business or project and don’t look for excuses to qualify its failures. Accepting responsibility encompasses a whole new range of skills that the procrastinator has to learn and make habit forming.
The number one skill a procrastinator needs to practice is Time Management. Using “To Do” lists and prioritizing work means that the important tasks are handled first. If projects are finished early, there is time remaining to review them, if they are finished at the last minute you may be handing over substandard work.
Set Rewards And Goals
To break the habit, procrastinators often need rewards. If you cannot bear to start work on that impending project which will take several hours or days, break the project down into smaller stages and reward yourself when you reach the end of a certain stage. Take a break, have a coffee, just don’t do those things before you start!
Own your work and have pride in what you have achieved and change your thinking from “Have To” to “Want To.” On those few occasions when you finish a project ahead of time, look back and think how great this made you feel. How much more could you enjoy your job if you had that same satisfaction all the time, and pride in the fact that you completed your work to the very best of your ability?
In taking responsibility for your actions you will also weaken the blame culture that procrastinators are well-known for. Build confidence with your colleagues and customers and achieve those results you probably imagined, but just never got round to doing.