Procrastination in Business – Part 1

Procrastination in Business

“Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.” – Victor Kiam

Procrastination in Business, what it is and what are the effects…
After a recent session with one of my clients we started talking about something they had committed to doing at least 3-4 months ago, while this task wasn’t life or death it certainly had enough merit for them to keep coming up excuses for why it hadn’t been done.  I should note that during this time their business is also up about 20 %.  Their business is a definite luxury for people with homes and dogs.  They do a great job and care a great deal about their customers and people in general.
The task for them to complete was fairly simple, speak to one of their strategic alliances about cross promoting.  So why did they continually put it off.  I decided to learn some more about procrastination and turned to self proclaimed expert Jeffrey Combs for some research.  It turns out that “1 out of 5 people procrastinate so badly that it may be jeopardizing their jobs, their credit, their relationships, and even their health.”  His feeling is that procrastination is an addiction which you can overcome.
Most people procrastinate about something, it doesn’t matter what we all have something that we put off.  It’s ok on a small level, however the problem comes from these little things adding up to big things.  I’m reminded by Darren Hardy’s best seller The Compound Effect.   It is exactly many of those small things adding up that get you to big things.  For example, in his book he describes this impact anecdotally.   “If you were given a choice between taking $3 million this very instant… or a single penny that doubles in value every day for 31 days which would you choose?”  Most people think for a few seconds and take the instant gratification answer, however as it turns out if they had waited and let that little penny compound every day it would be worth $10,737,418.24 on day 31!
The cause and effect of this “little” penny could cost you over $7 million.  Interestingly, psychologists call this Success Sabotaging.  In an article for Psychology Today, two of the world’s leading experts on procrastination: Joseph Ferrari, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at De Paul University in Chicago, and Timothy Pychyl, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, were interviewed and shared their viewpoints.

Here are a couple of comments about Procrastination in Business from the article:

  • Procrastination is not a problem of time management or of planning.
  • Procrastinators are not different in their ability to estimate time, although they are more optimistic than others. “Telling someone who procrastinates to buy a weekly planner is like telling someone with chronic depression to just cheer up,” insists Dr. Ferrari.

There’s more than one flavor of procrastination in business.

People procrastinate for different reasons. Dr. Ferrari identifies three basic types of procrastinators:

  • Arousal types, or thrill-seekers, who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush.
  • Avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability.
  • Decision related procrastinators, who cannot make a decision. Not making a decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of events.

The health effects of procrastination are astounding.  Symptoms can include having simple flu like symptoms to the more sever ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems.  The cause and effect of procrastination can include such things as insomnia and excessive drinking.   The by – product of procrastination is an extreme loss of productivity, team malfunctions and relationship destruction.

So how do you stop procrastinating in your business?

Become, methodical, disciplined, and passionate.  When you are passionate about something and truly care about what you’re doing the path is channeled to results.  I can also tell you’ll never achieve 100%, however if you are consistently achieving the results you desire over 85 % of the time, you’ll become a superstar. In our next blog we’ll go over the 3 steps for releasing and freeing yourself.