Is Procrastination Stealing Your Time?

Neil Fiore, in his book, Overcoming Procrastination, defined procrastination as “a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision.”

When my grandkids come up to visit I like to take them on a hike in the woods behind my house. Invariably we will come upon a fallen tree. I like to get them to walk the length of it. I think it is a good exercise, teaching balance and building confidence. I have noticed one thing—when the tree is laying on the ground, they will begin immediately and work their way across the length of the log. However if the tree didn’t fall all the way to the ground and is several feet high, the stakes are higher and they invariably hesitate to begin their journey. Anxiety level escalates in direct proportion to how high the fallen log is off the ground. By the way, it isn’t just the grandkids—their granddad experiences the same anxiety.

We are often the same way with tasks. The more complex the tasks, the higher the risk, the higher the anxiety. This sometimes results in delaying the start of a project.

How to Beat Procrastination

  • For difficult or complex tasks, handle them the way my grandkids handle the fallen log—one step at a time. Work the projects down into not-so-daunting smaller tasks.
  • Set a beginning date as well as an end date.
  • Define a reward for completing the task task such as a weekend getaway, dinner and a nice restaurant, or a round of golf.
  • Change your mindset from fear of failure to a chance to grow.
  • Recognize the pleasure or gain you will experience as a result of completing the task. Is making 20 to 25 phone calls worth the revenue you receive from the resulting sales?

A form of procrastination is perfectionism. I have worked with highly qualified people that spend too many hours preparing proposals, writing and rewriting reports, fine tuning projects. They were looking for perfection, and frankly, in most cases there is no perfect answer.

I recently listened to Norm Lavine tell a story of sitting around the table with 8-10 greats in the insurance industry, including John Savage, Ben Feldman, and others. He said that Ben Feldman explained the details of a case he was working on and asked each of the greats for their input on the solution that they would recommend. As they went around the table, each gave his recommendation, and they were all different. Feldman himself had even another solution. The takeaway I learned was that there are many right answers and really no perfect answer.

The solution for perfectionism is to strive for excellence, not perfection!

Published on January 19th, 2015 in Blog

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By working with me as your coach, as your partner as you climb the mountain of high achievement, you should expect some , if not all of the following outcomes:

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  • Develop strong marketing strategies
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  • Be better at what you do so you will be among the high achievers
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