Never put off for tomorrow, what  you can do today

Never put off for tomorrow, what you can do today

The future of many business leaders have been derailed because they have been too slow to act and react, or too slow to make decisions, or too slow to communicate their thoughts. If you are too slow to react during a time of crisis you will likely face dire consequences. Benjamin Franklin once said, “You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.”

Many people who should have achieved greatness during their lifetime failed to do so because they delayed doing what they felt they needed to do. The cemetery is full of great ideas that were not implemented because of procrastination.
They did not exploit their God given gifts. Procrastination affects one’s performance at work and in life. The best way to get something done is to begin. Charles Dickens wrote, “My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today.”

Procrastination is defined as a type of disorder where an individual avoids doing or completing a task, which needs to be done today and postpones it to the next day. In other words procrastination is putting off or delaying or deferring an action to a later time.
Sometimes it’s not easy to notice procrastination. It just sneaks in as an emergency project that needs to be completed now or instead of doing important things you get distracted by wanting to make a phone call or you decide to finish a task that is not important instead of attending to a critical issue.

Psychologists have identified three main reasons why people procrastinate:
Some employees like to do things under pressure so they wait till the last moment. They want to feel the adrenaline rush as they work towards their goal

Some workers avoid making decisions because of fear of having to take responsibility after making whatever decision they would have made
Others are afraid to do something for fear of failure or achieving disappointing results
Some of the factors that might cause procrastination are: disdain or dislike for boring work, having poor work habits, fear of failure, rebellion against expectations, and uncertainty on how to proceed and lack of accountability.

Procrastination has adverse effects on both the individual and those associated with him/her:
Once an employee delays in doing something, the delay will affect whoever benefits from his/her input. The delay will put more workload on others and thereby creates resentment from them. If someone waits until the last minute or until it’s too late, the burden of their responsibilities falls on someone else’s shoulders who should have performed his task on time.

Procrastination creates anxiety for both the procrastinator and the other co-worker as the deadline looms closer.
Work might not get done altogether. This results in loss of money because work that should have brought income was not done.
We should however not lose hope because of this disorder. Procrastinators are not born but they are self-made so there is hope for those who are affected by it.

The good news is that “anyone can crawl out of the quicksand of procrastination” and enjoy increased productivity, enhanced mood, less stress, better co-worker relationships, a sense of accomplishment and a restored reputation at work as a high performer.
There are ways to combat procrastination and become a more productive employee if one does what is suggested below:

Write down the specific task you’ve been putting off and act on it. By writing down the task it helps you to focus on it. You need to detail the activities that you need to do to accomplish the task. It’s no good just writing the goal/task without detailing how you intend achieving it. You need also to elaborate on the task. The details help one in pushing you to act. Having a precise goal will help you get motivated.
When you have set your goal or you have identified the task that needs to be done and you have come up with a do-able step by step game plan you should then schedule it and commit to act on it.

Sometimes when you want to do a dreaded challenging task, you might develop some negative self-sabotaging thoughts where you underrate yourself by thinking to yourself that you can’t accomplish the task.

When such thoughts threaten your action come up with a positive statement that neutralize your fear or frustration at having to do the task. You need to tell yourself that “If someone did a similar task I should also be able to do it.”
You need to anticipate challenges and obstacles as you implement your task. You should not be distracted by any extra small work or projects that might come on your desk or by roadblocks that might obstruct you.

You need to stick to your original plan. Don’t entertain any resistance that comes in the form of flimsy excuses, bad moods or discouragement.
You need to fight every resistance, obstacle or challenge with tenacity and stubbornness reminding yourself that you can do and accomplish what you have started. “Tomorrow is the only day in the year that appeals to a lazy man,” said Jimmy Lyons.
The other remedy to procrastination is for you to take action immediately: people usually procrastinate because they think there’s time to do the work later.

If the task can be delegated then delegate. Delegation allows you to assign a task to another competent team member who may be able to act on it faster than you are able to. To be a successful leader, you need to deal ruthlessly with procrastination. William Shakespeare said, “In delay there lies no plenty.” It’s very important that as a leader you make decisions quickly. Usually we think that time is on our side, however conditions change very fast.

You might actually find that time has worked against you because of delaying to do what you could have done today. The situation might actually deteriorate while you are still deciding what to do. Delaying to act or responding to a situation creates more problems for you and those to whom the decision has an impact.

l Stewart Jakarasi is a business and financial strategist and a lecturer in business strategy (ACCA P3), advanced performance management (P5) and entrepreneurship.  He provides advisory and guidance on leadership, strategy and execution, corporate governance, preparation of business plans and on how to build and sustain high-performing organisations.

For assistance in implementing some of the concepts discussed in these articles please contact him on the following contacts: sjakarasi@gmail.com, call on +266 58881062 or WhatsApp +266 62110062.

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