Procrastinate at Your Peril

Monday, February 28 2022

People procrastinate for many reasons. Some claim that their creative juices flow better at the eleventh hour; others say they are too busy to start anything in advance. Still others admit that they’re just avoiding the task or project.

While some may claim that they procrastinate strategically, there is one area where leaders should eliminate it: Giving feedback. It’s an easy pitfall for most procrastinators because there is no clear deadline and there are generally very few, if any, direct negative consequences to not doing it. However, the long-term effects when we procrastinate can be devastating to any workplace culture. Whether positive or negative, people need feedback to grow and thrive.

To overcome this inaction, it’s helpful to understand your deeper feelings about feedback. Consider the following questions:

  1. When you think of giving feedback, what do you feel in your chest? Stomach? What is going through your head? When else have you felt this way?
  2. Think of a time when you were given feedback. What facial expressions did you notice from the person providing you feedback? How did you feel during and how did you feel afterwards? How long did that feeling last? What actions came of it, if any? Why or why not?
  3. Think of a time when you did give feedback, and without delay. How did it feel? How did the other person respond? What made you give it in that instance? What were the results?

Next, it helps to practice habits that provide more opportunities for you to give feedback rather than procrastinate. Some good exercises to start with are:

  • A Gratitude Journal. List the things you are grateful for at the end of each day. This will help you to recognize good behaviour and the actions of those around you.
  • Give feedback to anyone and everyone. I’ve recently started giving feedback to EVERYONE! I’ve gotten a few strange looks from the person serving my coffee, but I’ve found that the more often I give feedback on small things – and don’t procrastinate doing it, the easier it is to give feedback on larger things – positive or negative.
  • Give yourself daily feedback. Take 5 minutes at the end of every day and ask yourself: What went well today? What could have gone better? The practice of giving yourself positive and constructive feedback will improve your ability to see it in others. As a bonus, you’ll likely see an improvement in your performance. To learn more about ways to change habits, click to learn more from author Charles Duhigg.

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