Why we dawdle and what to do about it

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Is procrastination holding you back from where you want to be in your career? Here are six causes of stalling, and two ways to overcome it:
  1. We don’t want to do what we don’t like. It’s a drain on our time and attention.

  2. We’re caught short, if we’re not good at something. Afraid of failure, we’ll stop.

  3. We won’t adapt to change. Instead, we stubbornly cling to Plan A.

  4. We avoid messy situations. It’s pure squeamishness. Who wants to tell somebody what they don’t want to hear? Who wants to enforce what they don’t want to do? It’s easier to dither.

  5. We hesitate to take on something that’s high-energy and lowreturn. High obstacles stop us.

  6. We don’t like messing with what we don’t understand.
Two antidotes:
  1. Vision. Once you’ve figured out what you want, go for it. Your vision should drive you, structure your life and be important enough that you’ll refuse to settle for what’s merely comfortable or easy.

    “Most people don’t lead their lives, they accept their lives,” says author John Kotter. “Leaders are the exception.”

  2. Values. Think winners never quit? Wrong! To make headway, you need to stop doing anything that doesn’t line up with your values. Quit something you’re not mastering to start something you’ll excel at. Quit something you’re not jazzed about to do something that captivates you. Quit something that doesn’t make any difference.
—Adapted from “Initiative,” John C. Maxwell, Leadership Wired, www.injoy.com.

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