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Why People Procrastinate

Putting off everything until the last minute is holding you back from achieving your potential.

If you’re the kind of person who puts off everything until the last minute, you probably already know that your procrastination is holding you back from achieving your potential.

But do you know why you procrastinate in the first place? Many people don’t know the underlying cause for this kind of behavior. But if you understand why something happens, it makes it that much easier to change it. There are some common causes of procrastination at work. Let’s explore them and how they might crop up in the workplace.

A fear of failing

The first is fear of failing, which often comes about because you have unrealistic expectations of yourself. Let’s say you’re part of the sales department at a publishing company, and your boss asks you to research national buying patterns for e-books.

You don’t have much experience in doing research, and you’re afraid that what you come up with won’t be up to par. So you avoid getting started on the project for as long as you can. And eventually you write a rushed paper that disappoints your boss. Your fear of failing caused you to fail. The next cause is fear of giving up control.

A lack of interest in the task

Procrastinators often don’t like deadlines, because they think that deadlines take away their own control over their work. For example, a financial planner is writing a department budget plan, which is supposed to be discussed at a meeting before it’s incorporated into the organization’s overall budget. But the financial planner procrastinates so that his proposal won’t be ready until after the meeting.

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business career entrepreneur success

The Obvious Benefits of Overcoming Procrastination

The bad habit called procrastination

Do you ever put off doing tasks that you really should do right away? Do you find yourself playing solitaire when you should be writing a report? Or chatting at the water cooler instead of getting down to business on those first quarter results? If you do, you’re not alone.

This bad habit is called procrastination. Say you’re a financial analyst for an insurance company. And you’re supposed to fact- check the organization’s financial results before they’re published in two days’ time. You know that to get it done right, you’ll need to work on it most of today and tomorrow. But you’re a serial procrastinator.

Things don’t get done when they should

So, you convince yourself that it would be better to start tomorrow morning when you’re fresh, and you relax by going for coffee with a coworker. You likely already know that your behavior will have consequences. The results won’t be ready on time and you may find yourself in deep trouble because of it. That’s the most obvious consequence.

When you waste time, things don’t get done when they should. But there are other consequences, too. You’re probably often stressed and anxious, and your colleagues probably get frustrated with you. And the constant delays in your output cause problems for your company, too.

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business career entrepreneur success

The Three T’s of Button Pushing

Are there people who push all the buttons that seem to bring out the worst in you? Well, there are customer service people that accidentally push those buttons in phone conversations with customers.

Think of the behaviors by service providers that push those anger buttons as “the three T’s”:

  • trigger phrases,
  • trigger tones,
  • trigger treatment,

Trigger tones refers to your tone of voice during a service phone call:

  • if you are sarcastic or condescending, don’t assume for a minute he won’t sense it, and
  • if you are quiet and soft, it can seem like a lack of concern or interest on your part.

The 3rd “T” is trigger treatment. Some of the patterns customers most often complain about are, “I feel like…”

  • a soccer ball: bouncing off people and parts at every turn,
  • a big bother: begging for a straight answer,
  • a missing page in the policy manual: it’s by the book or not at all, or
  • a half-told story: service interruptus.

Another hot button to think about: When a customer is disappointed, upset, or feeling confrontational, your comedy act might fall flat. In fact, in might make things worse.

Tips for Helping Four Kinds of Callers

Employees who provide customer service over the phone face a unique challenge — they must use their problem- solving skills to help unseen customers with products that the employee can’t see. To do this more effectively, these employees must learn to recognize the type of customer they are dealing with.

In general, there are four different types of customers: cocky, cowering, inexperienced, and talkative.

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Critical Thinking Elements

Defining the purpose of critical thinking

The first element of critical thinking is purpose. All thinking has a purpose; this is what you’re trying to accomplish, and may be a goal or objective.

There are several purposes of thinking:

  • answer a question,
  • solve a problem,
  • resolve an issue, and
  • examine a belief.

Make sure you’re being clear and precise by asking yourself questions that further clarify your main question:

  • is this question clear? — Asking “Is this question clear?” will help make sure the question is stated clearly.
  • are there other ways to express the question? — Stating the question in various ways, while maintaining the same meaning, will help clarify the question. A question like “Are there other ways to express the question?” can be helpful.
  • are there any subquestions? — Refining the question will help to make sure all relevant aspects of the question are explored. Do this by asking “Are there any subquestions that should also be asked and answered to properly address the main question?”

As you identify your main question, distinguish questions with definitive answers from those that may involve opinion or that require multiple viewpoints be considered. You’ll need to be extra careful when analyzing nondefinitive questions because they’ll be more susceptible to subjectivity, bias, assumption, and prejudice.

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