Jeffrey on procrastination. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Jeffrey on procrastination. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

AUTHORS NOTE: I did a radio interview the other day on time management, procrastination, scheduling, and achieving. Presented below is the text of the interview. Because it’s long and my allotted space is short, this is the second of a twopart article if you missed part one, go to and click on “products” then click “weekly column” and search “procrastination”.

Jeffrey what causes procrastination? Why do people waste time?

If people don’t see that there’s a tremendous reward at the end of their work, there’s no major incentive for them to do it. Most people procrastinate (and/or waste time) because they don’t like what they do. There’s no passion in it. If you love it, you procrastinate less. Notice I didn’t say you don’t procrastinate at all, you just tend to procrastinate less. Everyone has some procrastination in them I don’t care who they are. THE RULE IS: The more you “don’t like it” the more you procrastinate.

The other thing is that salespeople tend to have the “moth to a light bulb” trait in them. Moths don’t really care what light bulb they’re going to, just the one that’s burning the most brightly. Now that’s not only from the standpoint of what is urgent at that moment, it’s also what feels good. You may be procrastinating and know it. For example: if you have a project that’s due but there’s a ballgame on so you watch the ballgame first. And you know you’re doing it but the “light bulb” is on the television and it’s sort of burning brighter, and so you sort of flap your wings around that thing for awhile. Then I’ll just make one sandwich and then… I’ll just call this one guy and THEN I’m going to go to work. I swear to God.

Everyone does that. The most interesting thing about procrastination is when you’re doing it, you know it. It’s a conscious thing.

So, Jeffrey is procrastination a problem or symptom?
“I’m a procrastinator (or avoidance) is a symptom.” The problem is deeperrooted. Your goals aren’t clearly set. You don’t really like what you’re doing.You’re not a welldirected or selfdirected person. Those are problems that lead to procrastination.

OK, Jeffrey, how do I know if I have the disease?

    You hate your job.

  • You are cynical.
  • You took a time management course and it “didn’t work.”
  • You lie about lateness.
  • You invent excuses similar to: “the dog ate my homework.”

If you are any of these, you are probably a procrastinator, time waster or both.

OK, Jeffrey, how do I stop wasting time?
If you write down deadlines for achievement it helps. Somehow you can always get something done just before the deadline. Here are two things you can do. Number one is set a false (earlier) deadline. Number two is to enjoy the deadline instead of lamenting it.

How do you enjoy deadlines? You get a positive attitude. You look at it as a learning experience as opposed to a chore. Even failure is a learning experience. Try to reward yourself with something good after doing something that you don’t like.

Here are some parting thoughts that might create an AHA! about why you procrastinate:

  • Pride in what you do is less likely to reduce procrastination. If you’re doing something and you’re not proud of the achievement, you’re not really looking forward to the achievement. The end result would be “who cares” versus “I did it!”
    REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: You finished your sales report for the weekend so that you could satisfy your boss who you hate and don’t respect, so you did it on Sunday night watching television and “fudged” a few of the details.
  • If it ain’t no fun, do something else. Do what you love. Money takes care of itself when you do what you love.
    REAL LIFE CHALLENGE: How good of a mood are you in when you come home at night. Bad mood = less likely to achieve.
    More OUCH questions:
  • How often do you tell yourself “I can do it later”?
  • How fulfilled are you when you finish projects?
  • How much do you like and respect your leader at work?
  • How great do you feel when you get up in the morning?
    REALITY CHECK: Most people spend more time complaining about their situation then they do solving their situation and if they would just get out of the pity party aspect of their lives and into the solution aspect of their lives, everything would be fine. Productivity (the opposite of procrastination) is a direct result of your desire to produce.

    The key to getting anything done is to want to do it.

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