Aaj karey so kaal kar, Kaal Karey toh Parson, Abhi itni Jaldi bhi kya hey Pyare, Abhi toh jina hey Barson…
(In the loose translation it would be, what you want to complete today, can be postponed to tomorrow, and day-after, why do you worry my friend, we have time on our hands as we have to live for years…)
In simple terms, it means simply putting off tasks for a later time. Why do we do this? Is it by choice or pleasure, or preference?
The strongest drivers of procrastination are anxiety, impulsiveness, boredom, self-worth, motivation, etc. Brain is responsible for executing brain functions such as planning, controlling impulses, and attention and therefore this is directly the physiological reason.
Lot of us believe that time management may be the cause of it? It can be one of them. I strongly feel that when we do not know the difference between urgent and important needs, we are into a vicious cycle. It is important we divide needs into urgent & important, urgent & not-important, Not urgent & Important, and Not Urgent & Not Important. This is basic time management, daily or even long-term. The time you spent in fire fighting, takes you to the worst position, and time you spend planned way, makes your life well planned and overall more effective. This can be one of the key differences between a good and a great leader.
How do you tackle Procrastination?
First of all let’s not the fill the plates of people in our teams, so that they can never meet the deadlines. Prioritisation, training, and coaching can help you and your teams. It is balancing act, as sometimes I do believe, time comes, when you also need to clear your bottom of the task list full of less important, or less urgent tasks. It is also equally important not to run only after urgent tasks so that you miss the importance of them.
What helps you in a big way is establishing clear deadlines, dividing them into small achievable milestones, taking a stock check or dip-check, communicating directly (tell the person what you didn’t like), and make the procrastinators in the team more important by involving them.
These simple steps should work 8 out of 10 times. Don’t be a watchdog or ridicule or criticise, or take the task in your hand, these are big NO-NOs.
I have also made a simple per hour calculation of wages of an employee sometimes if the above failed and made him/her realise the cost of it. It definitely helped in few very rigid cases. You can do it, but you should be honest, and should be mature enough to carry it. It can back fire otherwise.
Who should be your coach?
If I ask this, then all my friends in human resources, would say yes we are the ones…The 9% fully engagement scores in India, 13% across the globe, more than 50% organisations not having a talent management plan, and 63% organisations not having a human resources plan is indication of what? Procrastination by human resources leaders themselves?
It is responsibility of each individual people leader. We need to create self-punishments for ourselves in case we procrastinate or see it around us, then only this can improve. The punishments should be stringent for human resource professionals, stake-holders, and Leaders.
It’s time friends we work on the tasks we all supposed to deliver. We are going to have one of the youngest work force in the world and if we don’t make it into our potent weapon, India is going to suffer. Let’s pull up our socks, stop this procrastination and also convince the stake holders & package and sell our ideas & more importantly need of the hour as mentioned above. All the best.
Thanking all my readers for the time spent…
o Dr Deepak Malhotra