Dealing with Procrastination? Try Lowering Your Expectations.


 We're close to wrapping up another year.  Perhaps you've already spent some time reflecting on your goals and intentions for the year ahead.  I want you to be as successful as possible in all of your endeavors, so I'm sharing a bit of advice that could have a massive impact on your results.  

There's going to be one thing standing in front of you and your goals.  And that one thing 

More specifically, your perfectionism.

I remember back to my very first corporate position.  Just when I got the hang of my job responsibilities, my supervisor landed a role at another company.   On her last day, she sat me down to share her parting words.  She praised me for how quickly I acclimated and said I had a promising future ahead of me.  What she said next has stuck with me for over a decade.  She informed me that I had the habit of holding back on executing necessary tasks because of my desire for wanting everything to be perfect.  

Even though she warned me against it, I still held on to that crippling habit until I quit corporate America.  Working in a corporate environment fed my need to want everything to be perfect because we're judged immediately for everything we do.  But Corporate America often has strict deadlines that push us out of our desire to procrastinate.  

Once I left, I quickly realized that my reluctance to take risks and execute had a direct effect on my earning potential.  Nowadays, procrastination and self-doubt can hinder my livelihood so I can't allow them to linger for too long.

This week, I listened to an interview by productivity master, Tim Ferris.  He's talked to countless thought leaders to learn about their paths to success.  The interviewer asked Tim about how to overcome procrastination and Tim's advice was priceless.  In simple terms, Tim tells us to "lower our expectations."

Having high standards in certain areas is great but sometimes it can be a hindrance, especially if you're engaging in a creative endeavor.  So in the example of someone with writer's block, instead of holding yourself to the standard of having a fully polished written piece, you create a new expectation of writing 3 sentences by noon.  Suddenly, the goal doesn't seem as unachievable.  Chances are that you'll probably write more than 3 sentences because once you get in motion, resistance will crumble.  

Tim also shared the example of IBM, a computer mega-giant in the '80s.  Part of the success started for IBM was the result of having the lowest sales quotas in the industry.  Why? Because they didn't want their salespeople to be afraid to pick up the phone (to place cold calls). Their methodology was to motivate their sales team to strive for easily achievable goals.  This resulted in a sales force that constantly exceeded their goals.   

Tim goes on to explain that the best use of this strategy is to set low quotas on a daily basis while also establishing higher expectations on a quarterly or annual basis.  This idea of setting low daily goals and high quarterly goals might seem counterintuitive but, remember,  it only takes a small amount of daily, consistent action, to activate the compound effect.  The Compound Effect can literally change everything.  

If we set our daily expectations at levels that are too high, we trigger our performance anxiety causing us to become immobilized.  When we do nothing, we achieve nothing.

 I honestly believe that this is one secret to goal achievement that no one talks about. Setting daily micro-goals will lead you to the big milestones you'd like to reach.  

Post a Comment

. Theme by STS.