When you put off something until tomorrow or the next day or the day after that, your decision comes at a cost. Procrastination is present daily in your showroom and most likely in your home. How can you avoid having to pay the piper? University of Pennsylvania professor and best-selling author Adam Grant offers guidance. He points out that research into the causes of procrastinating finds that putting something off has little to do with work and everything to do with negative emotions. We put off a task if we are uncomfortable, confused or bored. While kicking the can down the street may make you feel better at the time, the long-term effect is feeling worse because the task remains undone.
Grant says to avoid procrastinating you don't have to work more or improve your time management skills. Instead, you have to change your mindset. Often we are our own worst enemy and critic. We strive for perfection, yet knowing that perfection is never an achievable goal. Think about how many times you have started a project and trashed your work because it was not good enough. Grant advises to remind yourself that you are human and make plans to close the gap between your work and your expectations.
A second tactic is timing. Research finds that chronic procrastinators are night owls. Your brain cannot function at peak performance without sufficient sleep or not alert. If you tend to stay up late, schedule your most important tasks later in the day when you are more alert.
Additionally, surround yourself with highly productive team members. Grant cited one study that found individuals improved their productivity by 10% when they sat next to someone who was twice as productive as the average person.
Avoiding procrastinating is not easy. Recognize that there are always tasks that we don't want to do or that emit negative feelings. Managing and, if possible, eliminating negativity will help you and your team stay focused and ensure deadlines are met.