Understanding and Identifying Procrastination

In one of my most recent shows on Money Matters Radio, I discussed procrastination with my co-host June Knight. I've had a lot of response to the subject, so I wanted to share more to help those in sales.

First things first, what are the effects of procrastination? In our Sandler Training we've identified four:

1. It blocks emotional growth. You are starting to deteriorate; nothing is happening. We all know that we are growing or deteriorating. Procrastination is an attempt to stand still and that is not possible.

2. It leads to multiple failures. In other words, you get angry at yourself and feel envy, rage, bitterness and hopelessness. By procrastinating, we are really doing nothing, which means we are trying to hold on to the status quo. As procrastination continues, the failures add to more failures. The effect is paralysis.

3. It can cause Over-Adaption. Over adaption is another dimension of the "Mr. Nice Guy" Muddle. Salespeople procrastinate because of fear, conditioning and not knowing a better way.

4. Procrastination can lead to impulse decisions; decisions that are flawed because they are not well thought out. Impulsiveness is just an attempt to break inertia. A good decision involves calculation of risk / results, reflection of effects and consideration of resources. Impulse is an act that ignores these concerns. Often, it is a "knee jerk" reaction to attempt to do something.

So how can we identify procrastination? In our Sandler No Guts, No Gain! program we've identified several ways:

1. The same tactic is used all the time! You use a repetitive action to consistently avoid doing something. Have you ever met someone who always has a story as to why they were late to work, yet they are late frequently?

2. No change occurs. You are still where you were when you started. Have you ever known someone that keeps talking about prospecting larger accounts and yet they have not?

3. No Conclusion is reached. Have you ever met someone that has a lot of "think it overs"?

4. Always waiting for something. Have you ever met someone that annoys you because they do not take action, yet are waiting till "things turn around" and continue complain about their state of affairs.

So, do you agree that these are indicators of procrastination? Currently, what is your largest procrastination? Do the indicators fit your understanding of procrastination?

Overcoming procrastination requires effective decision making. Effective decision making does a number of things for us. It increases our self-esteem. You can not help it, when you make effective decisions, you own more of yourself. In other words you gain from the investment in yourself!

Effective decision making requires that you look at it as a "decision tree". There is not one decision to get us to "where we want to go", but multiple decisions. And if you make a wrong decision, learn a lesson, but do not "beat yourself up" and do not stop – keep moving and make another decision.

Effective decision making will break inhibitions and break paralysis. Making decisions allows you to move forward which is the opposite of the effects of procrastination. Procrastination can lead to paralysis.

Effective decision making requires that we stay focused and not get drawn off path. Looking back on decisions tends to create remorse because we idealize the conditions of the past. Looking back can create unhappiness. We are in the present and we must deal with it in the most effective manner.

People that have learned what procrastination "looks like", know how to exceed it and make thought out decisions are some of the most effective sales people in the world!