Early in my career, I had a serious problem. I was the new manager of a local tire store and the most important factor for customers when purchasing tires was speed of service. Unfortunately, I had the slowest team of tire technicians in the market.
I spent most of my days getting yelled at by customers because of the time it took to put tires on their cars. Then one day I noticed an interesting trend. Customers that brought their vehicles to the shop just before we closed got much faster service than everyone else.
This was because the techs were motivated to get the cars finished so they could go home for the day. They knew that once they got the task done, there was a prize waiting for them. In other words, they used motivation to end their procrastination. There are two strategies that will help you to break the procrastination habit as well:
1. Create a personal reward system
What is the prize that is waiting on you, once you complete that task you keep putting off? Implementing a personal reward system will give you an answer to this question. For example, treat yourself to a weekend getaway as a reward for completing that business plan that you've been putting off.
Give yourself a deadline and make sure you use a calendar to put both the date and reward in writing. A day at the spa, a trip to your favorite restaurant, and a date to listen to your favorite musical group are other examples of good rewards for taking action.
At the tire store, I divided the technicians into teams and rewarded the group with the fastest service times with a gift card to their favorite hunting store. I knew that they were avid hunters and that this would motivate them on a personal level.
2. Create a procrastination penalty system
Procrastination is a silent dream killer because you don’t feel an immediate consequence for your delay. Think about it, when you put off writing that book, there is no game show buzzer that goes off to signal that you are wrong. You get lulled into thinking that everything is fine.
Therefore, you should create a penalty system that will hold you accountable for following through on your goals. One of the best penalties that I know of is public embarrassment. The key is to find a group of like minded individuals with similar aspirations with whom you can communicate about your goals.
The potential shame of having to tell your group members that you missed the mark will motivate you to take action. Joining a mastermind or networking group can help you accomplish this. Also, stickK gives you the opportunity to publicly post your goals and provides additional ideas for procrastination penalties.
Back at the shop, I posted each team's productivity results on a dry erase board. The team that did not produce faced public embarrassment and peer pressure from the other techs. Both the goals and the results were on display for everyone to see. As a result, our service times dramatically improved and the store delivered some of the best customer satisfaction results in the market.
If you implement a personal reward and procrastination penalty system, you will notice a dramatic improvement in your results. Just like my technicians, you will produce and not procrastinate!
Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner
PS. If you would like additional procrastination prevention strategies, download my ebook, One Moment in Time.