Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Seven Tips for Managing Procrastinators

strategy+business, June 12, 2018

by Theodore Kinni

Studying procrastination used to be a terrific way to avoid doing things I was supposed to be doing. It hasn’t been as much fun for me since one of the things I supposed to be doing was writing this column on how to manage procrastinators. Rats!

One thing I learned before I was distracted from my studies is that about 20 percent of adults identify themselves as chronic procrastinators. That is, they are habitually unable to perform tasks on time, even when there are serious consequences involved. Moreover, reports DePaul University psychology professor Joseph Ferrari, author of Still Procrastinating? The No-Regrets Guide to Getting It Done, the incidence of procrastination is pretty consistent across age cohorts, gender, and nationalities. As yet, procrastination researchers have not identified any “blue zones” — Shangri-las in which people not only live longer, but also never miss a deadline.

Photograph by Designer491 / Alamy

What the researchers have identified is two kinds of procrastination: avoidance and arousal. Avoidance procrastination is fear-based; it is driven by the desire to duck a task. Arousal procrastination is thrill-based; it is driven by the desire to play chicken with deadlines. Although it’s easy to joke about procrastination, neither kind is a laughing matter for executives.

Managing procrastinators can be an extremely frustrating experience. If one in five employees isn’t doing what they are supposed to be doing, or can’t be relied upon to meet a deadline, it can wreak havoc on planning, productivity, team performance, and anything else that depends on synchronized activity or keeping to a schedule. If employees are avoiding tasks altogether, work never gets done unless someone else does it. If they are thrill seekers, the work ends up getting short shrift and, often, does not get done on time.

So what’s a leader to do? Read the rest here.

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