As I sat down to do my yearly taxes (for the 8th time), I found myself with an uncontrollable urge to re-check my Facebook account. My paperwork was ready, as it had already migrated across every inch of my large L-shaped desk, visited the floor a couple of times (in the absolute “To-Do Today” pile), and finally was in front of me after a three-month pilgrimage.
Like a refrigerator that we keep checking, even though there has been no shopping, nothing had changed on my news feed from the previous hour. “Oh my God,” I thought to myself as I looked to the right of my computer…the card that I keep handy and taped to the desk, with all my details and passwords, was almost unreadable from coffee stains over 4 years. “That has to be changed now!” I thought.
Then it dawned on me.
Wikipedia describes the word procrastination as the practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones, or doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, and thus putting off impending tasks to a later time, sometimes to the “last-minute” before the deadline.
As computers came into mainstream and allowed us to do incredible things faster and better, all levels of efficiency had to be re-written. Think about this for a moment: No computers means no cut and paste, no copying, no print screen, no emails, etc. We would send snail mail and type items out on a typewriter (yes, we actually had them right after the dinosaurs passed away…you “millenniums”). The ironic part of technology making what we do more efficient; we had more time to procrastinate and become less efficient.
We can examine the psychological reasons for this phenomenon, with pleasure centers of the brain, our upbringing, discipline, and if we were hugged enough as a child. I would rather concentrate on the benefits of not procrastinating and with that, the results. We all know if we don’t procrastinate, that our income, careers, and overall life is better. Nothing good comes from procrastination.
Sales people, especially new ones, experience something we describe as “call reluctance”. It’s where a salesman will do anything humanly possible to not make a call, whether it be in person or on the phone. It’s not necessarily the fear of rejection or of someone saying no, as much as it is not being prepared and knowing your craft and product resulting in low self-confidence. This is a normal defense mechanism “hard-wired” into our DNA as it relates to “fight or flight”.
The good news is that, through training and repetition, that all becomes easier.
Again, the ironic part of all of this is the incredible, almost euphoric feeling of completing something you have put off for so long. The time invested in procrastinating is much longer and painful than the actual task.
So let’s start!
I challenge you to go do one thing right now that you were planning to do tomorrow. It starts with just taking the first step. It can be done and once you take that initial first step, I promise, you will feel awesome!