3 Tips to Share With Your Team to Stop Procrastination | GoTeam
Begin with the end in mind, Stephen R. Covey advised in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Procrastination, however, remains a common challenge.
Wouldn’t you know it, this blog post about procrastination got delayed by — you guessed it — procrastination.
It’s a common challenge. Thousands of studies in economics, education, and psychology have explored why human beings put off doing certain things, even if they know how important those things are.
It helps to know that we can get procrastination under control.
That it isn’t a deep flaw in our character that we are saddled with for the rest of our lives, along with the blame and guilt that procrastination can breed.
One way to stop procrastination is to see it as a way of trying to cope with unpleasant emotions.
It’s something we do because we want a break from feeling inadequate or because it keeps us (temporarily) from having to bear emotions like anxiety, boredom, frustration, or resentment.
To overcome procrastination, “put your focus on your actions” instead of your emotions, suggests the psychologist Timothy Pychyl. He’s featured in this ThriveGlobal article by Josh Jacobs from April this year.
No surprise at all that procrastination is a more common challenge in 2020 when we consider all the anxiety and stress that the Covid-19 pandemic has created.
Fortunately, we’ve had many conversations this year on learning how the brain works, so we can help ourselves and those around us to overcome those occasional moments of fear, doubt, or stress.
In September, as part of our monthly Discover You lunch, GoTeam founder Matt Kesby shared with the tribe three ways to stop procrastination. These are based on the motivational speaker and trainer Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog: 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.
We don’t know why doing a demanding yet important task has been compared to consuming animals (eating a frog or, for that matter, “eating an elephant one bite at a time”).
But what’s important is the reassurance that the ability to get difficult tasks done is a skill that can be learned.
After spending more than 40 years studying achievement, leadership, time management, and the psychology of success, Brian came up with this insight about why some people accomplish more than others: “They do the right things right.”
“Coming from an unsuccessful background, I had developed deep feelings of inferiority and inadequacy. I had fallen into the mental trap of assuming that people who were doing better than me were actually better than me,” he wrote.
“What I learned was that this was not necessarily true. They were just doing things differently, and what they had learned to do, within reason, I could learn as well.”
Hop to It: 3 Ways to Stop Procrastination
1. Set the table. Decide exactly what you want.
Begin by gaining clarity on what you want to achieve in each area of your life. Write those goals down. At work, this means discussing with your leader what is expected of you and in what order of priority, so you’ll have a compass to keep you on course every day.
In his book, Brian teaches a 7-step method for achieving goals. We can’t give everything away here but Steps 6 and 7 are too important not to share. Both emphasize taking immediate action.
“An average plan vigorously executed is far better than a brilliant plan on which nothing is done,” he wrote. “For you to achieve any kind of success, execution is everything.”
So, do something every day to move closer toward your major goals at work and in other areas of life. Make it part of your daily schedule. Being specific helps. Don’t just say you’ll read more; commit to a specific number of minutes you’ll read each day. Thirty minutes a day adds up to a book each month, if not more. Don’t just say you’ll exercise more; give yourself 30 minutes each day for a walk or an online dance class.
Decide what’s really important to you and make time for it each day.
2. Focus on Key Result Areas.
In your job role, what are the 5 to 7 activities that you need to do so you can make the best contribution you are capable of to your organization’s overall health? Resist the temptation to make a long list of key result areas (KRAs).
“Your job can be broken down into about 5 to 7 key result areas,” Brian wrote, “seldom more.”
Naturally, you will be stronger in some of these key areas than in others.
So make a plan for how you can get better in each area. Ask for help! Find someone who exceeds expectations in an area you are not yet strong at and ask them how they got to their level. Those are our values of humility and discovery in action.
Reflect on what you are responsible for at work. Remind yourself it’s under your control. And when it gets done well, it feeds the work that others in your team or in your client’s business do, too.
There’s a reason we focus on our Top 3 priorities in our daily huddles in the GoTeam tribe. There will always be more tasks we can do — something always comes up — so it’s important to be clear what our Top 3 “musts” are each day. And that we hold ourselves accountable for getting those 3 done as best as we can.
3. Upgrade your key skills.
We tend to avoid doing the things we’ve failed at before. We don’t look forward to doing the tasks that require skills we are not good at yet. We’d rather do what we are good at.
So, another way to overcome procrastination is to keep on upgrading our key skills, to keep chipping away at our inabilities. This is essential not only for building our confidence but also because technology will keep on creating new (and often faster and better) ways of doing repetitive tasks.
Acknowledge that it’s perfectly OK, as humans, to feel discouraged because we don’t know how to do some things well yet. The best response to that feeling is to commit ourselves to never stop learning. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey refers to this as sharpening the saw.
In one of her Daily Updates for the GoTeam tribe, our CEO Fiona Kesby encouraged everyone to sign up for a course that will teach us new job skills, and the great news is there are plenty of online resources to do this. There’s edX, for example, which offers thousands of free courses from some of the best universities in the world.
If you’ve always wanted to take a course in entrepreneurship, project management, leadership, emotional intelligence, or economics, there are plenty of self-paced courses on the site. All you need to do is sign up, start, and keep moving, one discovery at a time.
Values Awardees for August 2020
As part of each Discover You lunch, the GoTeam tribe also celebrates team members who have shown our core values at work. By their example, they inspire us to figure out what we can learn to get better and to do exactly that.
CARE: Carla R., Bookkeeper
Carla’s client Brad leads an accounting, auditing, and consulting business in Australia’s New South Wales. In August, he praised Carla for being a valuable member of his team.
“She’s a delight to work with. She’s hard-working and always willing to help when we have a deadline. She does some really amazing things,” Brad wrote. “Love having her in my team.” This value award recognizes team members who “care deeply about the success of our clients, knowing that their success is our long-term success.”
DRIVE: Rio H., Accounting Admin
As a runner, Rio knows that endurance is as much a mental game as it is a result of training and physical conditioning. She embodies the value of drive, which arises from “an internal drive to succeed and to help our clients exceed their goals.”
Her client Linda C. appreciates Rio’s “precise, timely, and accurate” results.
“Rio gets through a large capacity of workload without any fuss and can work on her own as she knows exactly what is required of her without any prompting,” was Linda’s feedback. “She is very much a quiet achiever.” Rio’s client is an independent supplier of premium coffee beans and cafe equipment based in Queensland, Australia.
HUMILITY: Carol T., Data Research Analyst
Like the business she supports, Carol is extremely considerate. Her humble and gentle nature is a major part of what her client Paige admires about her. Carol works with an environmentally friendly pest control business that serves clients in Queensland and New South Wales.
“She has a great attitude and willingness to go above and beyond. She is very reliable and is always punctual. She never misses a deadline and always delivers,” said Paige. She described Carol as someone who is always reliable and who always works hard.
“A great culture fit, she works seamlessly with our team both in Australia and in the Philippines.” Carol truly deserves this value award, which honors team members who stay grounded despite their accomplishments and who let their work speak for itself.
DISCOVERY: Gemstar B., Videographer/Photographer
One of the most creative team players in our Internal Team, Gemstar plays a key role in telling GoTeam’s most important and most memorable stories.
In August, she won the Discovery Value Award after conceptualizing, planning, and leading the team in creating our first podcast, called All In.
“This was a serious challenge, like learning to play a new instrument in such a short time, yet Gem accomplished it with grace, patience, and style. She inspires us to keep discovering new skills for GoTeam and for ourselves.” A well-deserved award, Gem!
GRATITUDE: John M., Michelle L., and Sherry C., Customer Operations Specialists
As leaders of a marketing and design services business in California, our clients John B. and Justin B. value the difference that gratitude makes in any workday. And that’s why they commended their Customer Operations Specialists team in GoTeam.
“Our team has always shown tremendous amounts of appreciation and gratitude for both us and our clients, which is so nice to be a part of. We feel the same way about them! When someone is so quick to say ‘Thank you’ and ‘We appreciate it,’ it makes for a wonderful work environment.”
By highlighting gratitude as one of our core values, the GoTeam tribe shares a constant reminder to never take anything for granted.
EXECUTE: Trisha E., Bookkeeper
Like most industries this year, the property management sector found itself having to speed up digital transformation programs and adapt amid the changes created by the pandemic.
This year, the ability to take action and get things done is more essential than ever, and our tribemate Trisha won the Execute Value Award in August for precisely that ability.
“Trisha is effective and efficient in her assignments. She’s not afraid to ask questions when encountering something new. Her quality of work is consistent and dependable,” our Head Results Coach Carlos E. wrote. “Trisha is self-directed and self-sufficient in getting her assignments done. She is a self-contained powerhouse who consistently delivers without much outside help or intervention.”
Trisha supports a corporate housing and property management business based in the U.S. West Coast.
FIND A WAY: Mark H., Video Editor & Social Media Content Creator
This value award honors GoTeam tribemates who take accountability, ownership, and responsibility for their actions. In August, Mark H. showed he could work through or around any obstacle or challenge, which earned him this award.
“We love your can-do attitude. We love that you get what we are trying to achieve with very little direction and not many backwards and forwards on concepts,” wrote his client Dee M., who leads a business consultancy based in Sydney.
One of the consultancy’s leaders in Australia, Bryce, also praised Mark for being so dependable, an important quality to have in a globally distributed team. “You’re always there when we need you. You are able to take concepts and run with them,” Bryce observed. “We know we can 100% rely on you to get things done.”
CEO AWARD: Alpha Jane O., Results Coach
When all of our values are shown in the work we do, the results they make possible are those one can expect of a remarkable and highly accomplished individual: an alpha male or female. Appropriately enough, our CEO Awardee for August was Alpha Jane O., one of our Results Coaches.
“Alpha, you show great care and drive. You are a good human for stepping in and taking action and finding a way when answers are not available,” wrote GoTeam CEO Fiona Kesby. “You are humble and regularly show gratitude to our tribe and to the community around you. We appreciate the execution you show on a daily basis with your tasks.”
Congratulations to all of our values awardees for August! You are remarkable!
GoTeam is a outsourcing company based in Cebu City in the Philippines. Our virtual assistants support growth-stage businesses in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Canada, among others. We are driven to help businesses scale and be a catalyst for people to exceed.
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