The Secret Solution to Procrastination

We are now past the halfway mark in the year. How are you doing on those annual goals that were set at the start of the year? If you haven’t made as much progress as you thought you would by this time, you are in good company. The majority of goals set at the beginning of the year are rarely achieved by the halfway point, nor has even close to 50% of the work been done that needs to be done in order to achieve those goals. In fact, most annual goals are achieved in the last 45 days of the year, when a sense of urgency kicks in. When the deadline of the end of the year is looming over you, that is when teams get very focused on making it happen, overcoming obstacles, and doing whatever it takes to get it done. The interesting thing is that this flurry of activity, in the last 45 days before the deadline, could have been done a lot earlier in the year. When you have 12 months to complete a goal, most people stretch out their activities to meet that deadline, or in other words, they practice procrastination.

Procrastination is a habit. Our brains are hardwired to prefer habits. While we think we are consciously deciding how we spend our day, the majority of the time it is our subconscious that is running the show. Researchers estimate between 85 to 95% of the activities we engage in every day are habits. Habits are not necessarily a bad thing, as long as your habits take you closer to achieving your goals. But unfortunately, when you want to achieve a goal that is significantly bigger or different than anything you have done previously, it requires you to do new things; to make a change in how you do things. And change is hard.

Knowledge is important, but action is more important. Let’s look at a real-life example of how knowledge is important, but action is more important. Roger (whose name has been changed) is an insurance agent. He came to me with the goal of building his sales volume. Roger is smart. He has figured out there is a direct correlation between the number of connections he makes with potentially new, and current clients, and how much business he writes. So we worked on determining his actions steps. Roger decided he should set a target of reaching out to at least 3 current clients every week and to talk to at least 10 potential clients. How many connections do you think Roger made that first week after he set his targets? Zero. Roger procrastinated all week long. He didn’t schedule time to make any calls or visit anyone. Even though he knew the way to write more policies and to get more clients was to reach out and make contact, he resisted doing it. He had the knowledge. He knew what he needed to do, but that first week, he didn’t do it.

A coach is your partner on the journey to success. Putting off tasks that are new or different is a very natural thing. Our brains love routines, and anytime we try to attempt something new, our natural tendency is to resist, or procrastinate. Signs You Need a Coach as they are here to listen and bounce ideas off of.

When Roger came in for his session after that first week, he was confused. “I knew what I needed to do, but I didn’t do any of it! What’s wrong with me?” I assured Roger there was nothing wrong with him. Procrastination is simply a habit, and any habit can be broken. The way to break a bad habit and form a new, better habit is to create an environment that supports you reaching your goal. Roger had already stacked the deck in his favor by hiring a coach.

I challenged Roger to go a step further than just identifying how many calls he would make in the coming week. I asked him to plan what day, what time, and how long would he spend making those connections. I also had Roger schedule the time on his calendar. And finally, provided Roger with tips on what he could do to set his mindset in the right place before he made those calls to really increase his chances of success.

The following week, Roger was eager to share his progress. He still didn’t hit his target, but he had completed 75% of what he had planned. Roger said, “The tips you shared with me really helped, but the thing that really got me to take action was knowing I had this meeting with you and would have to share my results!” That is a great example of how powerful a coaching relationship can be.

Begin, get feedback, learn, improve, try again. Employee Appreciation is a Secret Solution to Filling Positions. Having a coach is the secret solution to procrastination. A coach helps you determine the specific actions steps to help you achieve your goals. A coach helps you sort through opportunities and set your priorities.  A coach helps you figure out what is working, what isn’t working, and how to overcome obstacles. You would never expect an athlete to reach the Olympics without a world-class coach. Nor would you expect a professional football team to enter the stadium without an entire team of coaches. Why would someone in business not take advantage of having a coach to help you succeed and help you get to where you want to be faster and easier? If you want to experience the secret solution to procrastination, consider getting yourself your own coach.

Retail Level Up provides coaching, training, and consulting services to individuals and teams. Visit www.retaillevelup.com to learn more and to schedule a free consultation.

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