Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Procrastination: Momentum killer

One of my favorite writers in the realm of "Leadership" is John Maxwell. He has written several wonderful books about leadership and publishes a regular newsletter. (The title is linked to his most recent one). In his most recent one he wrote about why it's hard for us to do things sometimes, or why we procrastinate and it really rang true to me in so many various facets of life. Bottom line, a leader has to minimize if not get rid of procrastination because taking the first step, getting the momentum going is necessary for success of the team!

I won't list everything he wrote in each area as you can read that at your leisure, but he listed 6 major reasons we procrastinate:

1. We hesitate to do chores we don't enjoy.
2. We hesitate to do activities we aren't good at doing.
3. We hesitate to do what isn't on our agendas.
4. We hesitate to solve situations that are likely to be messy
5. We hesitate to tackle a task that is high-energy and low-return.
6. We hesitate to step into things we don't understand.

So, I'll elaborate on these for myself, as this should be introspective:
1. Absolutely do I do this. I am a passionate person and I like to throw myself into the things that I do. BUT, when I don't like it, when I'm not "excited" about it, or even more importantly, when I don't think it is important (but maybe my boss does) I have to work really hard to make it important enough to accomplish. I will get it done, and I will do it well, but I won't be excited, and I won't do it as well as I would if I personally found it enjoyable.

2. This is somewhat true for me, however, this also is a motivating factor me at times. I thrive on challenges, so not knowing something is not an excuse for me to not do it or not learn it. I think I used to be much worse at this, but as I've grown and matured I'm more likely to take this on to show people that not only CAN I do what I don't know, I WILL become GOOD at what I don't know.

3. Yes, this is true. I hate interruptions to my plans...I would so much rather do what I had planned. But sacrifice is a component of leadership. Sometimes I need to shift my own schedule to accommodate the bigger vision, the bigger mission, and in the end the result is going to benefit me too.

4. For me it depends upon who may be involved in the messy situation. Sometimes I like conflict, sometimes I don't. Additionally, these situations typically involve a variety of personalities and prioritization. Preparation for these situations is essential, and sometimes, I admit, I'd rather not take the time to prepare...but I should!

5. Yes, I hesitate to take on time-intensive projects that really amount to little in the end. I see LOTS of this in my job now. But, if we neglect these projects, they will pile up and up and eventually drag us away from the truly critical projects that we have little time to finish. Or, something significant will arise, and due to procrastination, we won't have what we need to get it done, or have to sacrifice what we should've already completed...it becomes a losing battle.

6. This one goes back to the "not good at doing" in #2, I may hesitate with it...but then I am probably going to learn it and tackle it. The only place where I truly hesitate or may even ignore this is when it is mechanically related because I am just not good at this stuff. I should really improve here.

Momentum--it is critical to leadership, but it can't happen till we take the first step. Procrastination is a problem that, I bet, nearly EVERYONE deals with. What are you NOT doing that you should be doing? What have you been ignoring on your to do list?

1 comment:

April Drolet said...

I absolutely love anything by John Maxwell also. I'm enjoying your blog, Brittany!