All of us are guilty of procrastination. Sometimes procrastination is knowingly putting a task off because we don’t feel like doing it in that moment, sometimes, we think of logical reasons why we shouldn’t complete the task right away and don’t realize we are procrastinating, and sometimes, we choose to do other, necessary, tasks before tackling the big one.
Procrastination is defined as a way of coping with the anxiety of starting or completing a task. Tasks that salespeople typically find themselves pushing off would be cold calling, paperwork, or performance reviews.
Maybe you aren’t sure if you procrastinate. That’s OK, some people are lucky enough to be able to power through. Here are a couple subtle clues that show you are procrastinating:
- Some of us participate in constructive avoidance behavior which typically involves activities like cleaning, reorganizing,and list building. These tasks aren’t negative and they probably need to be done, just not in this moment.
- Others might find themselves only being able to complete tasks when “the pressure is on”. Meaning, we leave the task till the very last second.
- In contrast, there are a few people who believe that they have all the time in the world and aren’t sure when to start their task.
- Lastly, there is a group of people who are perfectionists. These individuals need to make sure every “I” is dotted and every “T” is crossed. While this is an excellent quality to possess, it is only harmful when the perfectionism gets in the way of accomplishing other tasks.
If any of the clues above sound like you, we have a couple tips you can use to help you overcome procrastination.
How you schedule your day can have a major impact on improving productivity. We suggest waking up early and blocking your day into activities. Maybe you check your email everyday at 2pm, block out 30 minutes to do so. Then fill in the rest of the day with the activities you need to accomplish.
Every task has an hour or so blocked off and as soon as the allotted time is up, you move onto the next task. Scheduling will help you find the right time for the activities that fall under constructive avoidance. It allows you to set aside an appropriate time to do you housekeeping activities.
For those of us who have trouble gauging deadlines, we can use scheduling to work backwards from a deadline to find the appropriate schedule for that project.
Furthermore, if you are a perfectionist, scheduling pushes you to stop your task when the time is up, forcing you to move on. Worried you might miss and “I” or “T”? Schedule a review period later in the day.
2. Accountability Partners/ Public Accountability
Another simple way to reduce procrastination is to have someone holding you accountable for your tasks. Your management is already doing this, but for some people that isn’t enough.
Accountability partners can be coworkers, friends, or acquaintances that help you stay on task and continue your professional development. Typically this is someone you can trust to give you ‘hard truths’ about your performance but also help you overcome your challenges.
Public accountability works by bringing an individual’s productivity to the light, thus they have to tell the team their success or failures.
Public accountability can come in several different forms. Sometimes it is a leader board hanging in the office, sometimes it is cheering on a teammate as they close a sale, and other times it is awarding the leading salesperson and the lagging salesperson. Another example is how our office uses our weekly meeting to figure out whether or not we are hitting our numbers and if we can help each other achieve our weekly goals.
Whether you know you’re procrastinating or not, it is hurting your productivity and could be standing between you and your next big paycheck, promotion, etc. Try these tips above and see your productivity increase.