If we’re to be honest how many of us are totally efficient and focused all of the time and achieving everything we want 100%?
The answer is probably zero, because such is the nature of the human psyche that we often put off things we want to do because of the scourge of procrastination.
In sales, this is a particular problem that if can be reined in, and can lead to far more sales and greater productivity.
Procrastination is a debilitating behavioural trait where even when we have a To Do list as long as your arm, we still find ourselves engaging in utterly pointless actions and behaviour.
After all how many of us have sat down to do a sales report only to find two hours later the report remains undone, but we now know all about a Facebook friend’s entire life since we last met in 1998!
However, beyond the humour, procrastination is a debilitating force that keeps people from completing tasks and achieving a happy and successful life.
Unchecked it can lead to a life full of underachievement and disappointment.
Strangely though, the reasons most people procrastinate are not fully understood. Some researchers view procrastination as a failure of self-regulation — like other bad behaviors that have to do with a lack of self-control, such as a gambling problem or overspending.
But, others say it’s not a matter of laziness or poor time management, as many bright overachievers who procrastinate say it may actually be linked to how our brain works and to deeper perceptions of time and the self.
Most psychologists see procrastination as a kind of avoidance behaviour, when people fear or dread, or have anxiety about the important task awaiting them. To get rid of this negative feeling they simply do other things to avoid it.
However, once the hard truth of of a deadline sets in again, procrastinators feel a more extreme form of shame and guilt and well, frankly it’s all quite destructive.
Psychologists agree that the problem with procrastinators is that they are tempted to give in to instant gratification, rather than staying focused on the long-term goal.
But many experts say there are some simple tips that can help procrastinators get down to work.
Strangely, research suggests that one of the most effective things that procrastinators can do is to forgive themselves for procrastinating. In a study, students who forgave themselves for procrastinating on studying for a first exam ended up doing it less for the next exam.
This is effective because procrastination is linked to negative feelings, and forgiveness reduces the guilt you feel, which is one of the main triggers for procrastinating in the first place!
However, vitally, research has recognised that you don’t have to be in the mood to do a certain task — just override your feelings and get started.
Instead of focusing on those feelings, we should encourage ourselves to break down tasks into very small steps that can actually be accomplished.
Every step towards progress will typically make you feel better about the tasks and increase your self-esteem, which in turn reduces the desire to procrastinate to make yourself feel better.
One of the sayings we have at SalesRadar is to use to help triggers action when a task becomes overwhelming, so: Q: “How do you eat an elephant? A: One bite at a time.”
It really is that simple.
So remember, don’t beat yourself up about putting off those important sales tasks, we all do it, but the sooner you do what you have to the sooner you can get on with your life. And, remember those horrible tasks are seldom as bad as you think.
And, don’t forget there are lots of books and help out there and many tools to overcome this habit. Just like any bad habit, procrastination can be cut down or even eliminated. It just takes a little practice and perseverance.