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A short business narrative that sets the context, challenge(s) faced, the type of leadership involved and the questions to ponder about, to solve the issues. This is not to give answers; business and life, in general, are not like a school guidebook. This column is to provoke the reader to think more. And to sensitise that each individual or organisation are unique, and the answers would depend on the situation, difference in organisational culture, context, etc.
To question is to think.
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To think is to introspect.
To introspect is to seek.
To seek is to be aware.
To be aware is when the journey begins.Procrastination is telling
It is easy to postpone.
It is easy to delay.
It is easy to say, not now.
It is easy to pretend that we are working on that project, and things are getting delayed.
It is easy to find excuses for not having even started the project.
Most of us do this many times.
Successful leaders know the difference between what to wait for a decision and what to decide with available data.
Procrastination is the action of unnecessarily and voluntarily delaying or postponing something despite knowing that there will be negative consequences for doing so. The word gas roots from the Latin word procrastinatus, which itself evolved from the prefix pro-, meaning "forward," and crastinus, meaning "of tomorrow."
Fear of failure
Entrepreneurs are brave. They don’t fear the unknown. They are always full of high energy. Scratch the surface and you will learn a thing or two.
Most entrepreneurs are worried about taking a bad decision. To avoid such a bad decision scenario, they end up spending time on things that don’t matter or don’t deserve attention. Just until they are confident that their decision will work out well.
Is this perfectionism? Yes, it is. Many entrepreneurs want to have perfection in everything they do. Some of them accept that the ideal world is not perfect and accept that decisions and outcomes won’t be perfect all the time.
Some of them simply have not done sufficient groundwork or what they feel is sufficient groundwork. They keep stalling decision-making.
Yet, as an entrepreneur, the deadline is in your mind. You might feel that any delay is only going to impact you alone. That’s where the mistakes multiply. Your decisions or decision delays impact everyone in your team and your stakeholders. It might be tempting for you to delay your decisions and find comfort in other easier decisions or other projects which are far more creative.
Not having fun anymore?
Not feeling interested in your project?
Want to simply doodle?
Want to simply channel surf?
Think back to the last time you started a new project. You probably felt excited about planning that consumer acquisition program or that new tech revamp or even hiring a CTO for your team.
Why is this project not interesting to you? Why is it making you postpone or procrastinate? Is there any nagging fear of failure? Or lack of interest in the project at all? You may want to introspect why.
You probably are witnessing something different from your usual work persona.
If you think this well, you might realise that something about that project may not feel right. You may not be able to articulate it. Probably that’s why you are simply avoiding doing it or even starting with it.
Are you having so many pending things that you are not sure where to start?
So many people waiting for your actions? So many projects are pending your input or decisions?
In order to warm up yourself, are you simply trying to do low-impact projects or tasks that keep you in a routine, but don’t add value to the larger picture?
Are you finding yourself worried about the size and scale of the project? Are you trying to behave as if it does not worry you?
Inertia & intent
Procrastination slows down your productivity and keeps you from reaching your goals.
No doubt that you should overcome it.
It’s important to be conscious of your motivations, goals and priorities. Not just because this will help you to stop procrastinating, but also because it will help you with many other challenges. But start now. No more pauses, please.
— The author, Srinath Sridharan is a Corporate Adviser and Independent Markets Commentator. For other articles in the Coach Soch series, click here.
(Gender representation of his/he is only representative and the leadership learnings here are gender-neutral)
Disclaimer: The above observations are from the author’s experience in coaching — mentoring many individuals across hierarchies, geographies, industries and life stages of organisations and ideas.