This month The Magnificent Chameleon has been exploring the world of The Procrastinator and has some advice to share about how to vanquish this cunning and all too common workplace villain.
What does The Procrastinator do?
The Procrastinator has the influence and ability to slow things right down to a standstill by taking attention away from what’s important and onto what’s easy or more interesting. The Procrastinator loves to see people wasting time and energy and has the ability to make the trivial so compelling that it moves to the top of the agenda, causing important deadlines to be pushed out and snarling up progress.
How can you tell if The Procrastinator is active in your organisation?
When you know what you’re looking for, then it’s easy to spot if The Procrastinator is at large in your organisation.
Important pieces of work fail to materialise when promised and commitments are not kept. Insignificant tasks move up the agenda and time is spent working on things that will not have a significant business benefit.
Distractions seem to be everywhere and focus and attention quickly slips away from what’s really important to move things forward.
People just don’t know where to start so they choose to ignore what’s pressing and turn their attention to the things that they are comfortable with (even if they don’t really need doing).
Desks get tidied in the name of progress whilst stopping the real work from being done.
Here’s what you’ll see and hear:
Deadlines are pushed as tasks are not completed
“I’m really sorry but can I extend the deadline as I’ve not finished it yet”
Focus falls on mundane tasks at the expense of business critical activities
“I really need to tidy out my filing cabinet and then I’ll be ready to start on the website redesign”
The time is never right to start as something else always gets in the way
“I will do it, but just not quite yet”
People don’t know where to start, so they don’t
“I’ll do it when inspiration strikes me”
Once you’ve identified that The Procrastinator is at large, how do you stop their cunning and villainous ways?
Here are 7 tactics you could try……
1. Make sure that you and your team are crystal clear about priorities and have a robust plan that stimulates action and propels you all forwards. Getting this wrong can be a huge banana skin for teams, and it’s so easy to lose focus on what matters most every day.
2. Combat seemingly impossible and completely overwhelming tasks by ‘eating the elephant’ by breaking them down into much smaller, far more manageable chunks. Once you’ve done this you can spot the single most critical action that has to happen that day, and do it.
3. Overcome the inactivity that The Procrastinator thrives on by jumping into short bursts of action. Challenge yourself to do 10 minutes on something that The Procrastinator seems to have their grip on. Build up your motivation by starting small and getting things moving. You’ll be amazed at how much positive energy you can create by doing this.
4. The Procrastinator thrives when people are feeling stuck and lacking in ideas. By collaborating with other people, you can tap into their skills and talents, bounce off their ideas and energy and break The Procrastinators hold. Good collaboration leads to meaningful activity.
5. Use honesty to vanquish The Procrastinator. Being deadly honest with yourself (and your team) about what are you avoiding will help to break the deadlock that has started to build up around a certain task or project.
6. Enlist other people’s help and ask a colleague to hold you accountable for a task or project when you suspect that The Procrastinator may be lurking, ready to lure you into bad habits
7. When planning your activity for the day or week, evaluate each task based on its urgency and importance and do the important work. Give the unimportant tasks less attention so they don’t become your biggest distractions.
What do you do to keep The Procrastinator at bay?
We’d love you to share your experiences and join in the conversation by hopping over to our Pants People Group on Linked In. Next month we’re changing our focus and starting to look at the Superheroes who already exist in organisations. Our gaze first falls on a workplace Superhero, The Motivator.
As well as working with organisations to help them banish the workplace villains that lurk in the corridors, we also love to help highlight and build on the Superhero skills and abilities that already exist. Where are the Superheroes in your organisation? We’d love to hear about them.