- April 28, 2014 - PROVIDENCE, R.I. --
Just like cholesterol, there is “good” and “bad” forms of procrastination. The good form comes from allowing the Universe, including the people in it to have space and time to see how other moves are played, how events unfold, or to gather more facts before acting. An example of this would be waiting to book a workshop or seminar event before you see how it works out for others. To others, they may see your delay to act as procrastination, however it is really about making sure you have the important facts and data, not to mention gut instinct before moving forward.
“Bad” form procrastination is more of a form of avoidance and is generally tied to fear/reluctance of “confrontation.”
A wise mentor once told me – “Confrontation is nothing more than a collision with the truth. It’s healthy and it is good for business as well as personal matters.” The faster you get an uncomfortable conversation over with, the faster you can move forward knowing the truth – either you were right, or you learn something you were missing from the other person. It is healthy. You cannot move forward on a project or let go of negative feelings until you have one of those uncomfortable conversations with someone – an employee, a spouse, a parent, etc. The term “confrontation”
is misleading – most people think of it as having an argument. That is not the case at all. If you “confront”
someone or something, it means you are facing it like an adult, willing to accept the facts and outcome of something.
The worst form of procrastination is when your own avoidance or refusal to deal with something is holding others up from finishing their assignments, or preventing people from making plans because they are waiting on you. This type of procrastination leads to people developing negative feelings towards you that are generally left unsaid, but linger in the air and we call it “tension.”
The procrastinator loses street credibility and leadership respect when they are always late to do what they agreed to do. This includes being late on projects deadlines, RSVP’s, and excuse making. The only thing worse than a person making an excuse, is the other person’s time being wasted having to listen to it. By the way, it is okay to say “No” without having to explain yourself. Avoid saying anything that sounds like excuse making. It is not socially acceptable as an adult. Your time isn’t any more important than anyone else’s. There are people in your life fighting hard battles you know nothing about. When you are responsible for doing something, do it. If you see you are going to be late on delivery, let others know. If you have agreed to do something and have realized that “thing” is going to make you crazy, you don’t have the time or energy, etc, then go direct to the source and tell them “after reconsideration, I have changed my mind because I cannot commit to this project at this time.” This closes the loop and doesn’t mislead someone else on their plans and expectations from you.
I challenge you this week to identify a situation with someone or a project that has gone on for far too long. Broach the subject respectfully. Tell them you would like to reserve 5-10 minutes to discuss and resolve any issues on XYZ subject/project.
People management is equally important to time management. Procrastination is not good people management, just like allowing yourself to live with high cholesterol is not good health management. Look for opportunities to nip procrastination in the bud. It resolves both people and time management responsibilities in one shot.