Image: Supplied

Wesbank: Put brakes on procrastination and accelerate your success

Regarded as a notorious theft of time and potential, and more so in challenging economic times, vehicle finance house Wesbank aims to help drive procrastination into a dead end.


Image: Supplied

Against a backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented economic challenges and a tenacious automotive industry in revival mode, leading South African automotive finance house Wesbank is leading the charge to revive the hearts and minds of business.

Towards improvement in tackling the many challenges currently faced by business in the country and in particular, the automotive sector as a whole, WesBank SME Segment head Futhi Cabe on Friday 17 July took direct aim at “procrastination” — the human behaviour notorious for its impact on time and potential.

‘Campaign against procrastination’: Just get started…

Setting the scene for its campaign against procrastination, Cabe outlined seven weapons and strategies individuals and businesses can deploy to combat procrastination.

“Procrastination is arguably one of the main reasons we, both in our personal and business lives, don’t perform to our full potential. It is a comfortable human habit that is not very easy to break once it gets hold of you,” asserted Cabe.  

“Allowing procrastination to become deeply entrenched in your life can potentially damage your personal competence and in turn, the efficiency of your business. The key to overcoming procrastination is to just get started.”

Continuing, Cabe noted that runners know that the first kilometre is always harder than the second.

“Getting through the barrier to your second wind is what overcoming procrastination is primarily about. When you are warmed up, you have found your rhythm and are moving closer to working at peak efficiency.

“Here are some useful techniques that you can implement in your life and introduce to your key team members,” said Cabe.

Seven steps to stall procrastination

1. Prioritise

Prioritising is one of the first practical steps one can take to “master the art of prioritisation”. If you find that the main reason you procrastinate is that there are just too many tasks with too little time to do them, do the important and urgent things first. Prioritise, and give the greatest and most immediate attention to the most important and most urgent jobs.

2. The break-it-up strategy

An age-old quote goes as follows: “How do you eat an elephant? Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

If you are procrastinating because of the sheer size of a task, the key is to break it up into smaller, more manageable components. Once you start accumulating small victories, you will be well on your way to achieving even greater ones.

The break-it-up strategy gives you the momentum you need to really get going.

3. The 30-minute strategy

Take the task that you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time and resolve to spend just 30 minutes a day on it. After your first 30 focused, whole-hearted minutes, evaluate how you have done. You may decide to put it off till the following day and that may be fine.

It is also probable that you realise that the task is not so dreadful. You will have gained enough momentum to go significantly beyond the planned 30 minutes. You may even see the task to completion, or at least close to that.

4. The post-a-sign-strategy

Another practical strategy you can adopt is to display a large sign at work or at home with a message to remind you of the task you need to accomplish.

The sign must be big and visible enough to annoy your colleagues at work or your partner at home so that they can exert pressure on you as well. Such a reminder will also make the “out of sight, out of mind” principle a lot harder to work.

5. The visualisation approach

This approach is more philosophical and works better for some than others. You may not have tried something like this before so perhaps it’s worth a try. Here it goes:

  • Close your eyes and relax. Imagine that you have just finished your project. You’ve done a terrific job and you are ecstatic as you see the achievement of your goal.
  • In your visualisation exercise, focus on every process you went through to complete the task. This should include the details, the difficulties, the breakthroughs. Then concentrate particularly on the excitement of achieving the goal at hand. Apparently, visualisation like this makes any task seem much less intimidating.

6. Self-isolate technique

As a busy business owner, perhaps you simply need to self-isolate from your general interruptions for a few hours to get a difficult job done. If this is what leads you to procrastinate, tell your team members about your problem and lock yourself away for the required period of time.

7. The accountability partner technique

Sometimes, all we need is someone to hold us to account and who can ask those difficult questions.

For those lengthy and seemingly overwhelming tasks…how about taking one of your senior team members into your confidence?

Not to do the task for you, but rather to have a trusted person to talk over the task with; to provide support from time to time; to check on progress and hold you accountable, as well as to even nudge you gently and often towards the desired outcome.

“Now,” concluded Cabe. “Get out there and conquer procrastination — the thief of time.”