Together, we stepped up by taking care of our assigned tasks at work—and became available for our moral obligations at home.
Procrastinators are everywhere. I see one every morning when I look in the mirror. But do you know what I have come to realize? Procrastination is a habit. It is easy to procrastinate when staring at a task you don’t enjoy doing. Making cold calls, doing paperwork and having difficult conversations are all tasks we like to keep pushing back on our calendars. But, if we stopped and thought about how procrastination impacts our teams and families, we might work harder to break the habit.
Most industries use reports and documentation as part of their process. In sales, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are used to track customer interactions. Similarly, in law enforcement, officers document traffic stops, community interactions and investigative reports.
In my sales teams, inputting data into the CRM systems was the first thing team members put off doing. After each customer contact, a sales representative was supposed to log the discussion so an official record and notes were available to use for follow-up before the next sales call. Entering these details could take 2-3 minutes depending on the salesperson.
An average day meant 10 face-to-face sales calls. This meant a total 30 minutes of time should have been spent logging info in the CRM system. Unfortunately, we put off entering our calls. Some team members decided to enter their calls all at once, at the end of the day. But, can you guess what happened? The end of the day was not easy to predict. This meant team mates would enter their calls when they got home each evening. Things snowballed as sporting events, family meals, bath time, homework or fatigue set in. The task would be put off again. Finally, at the end of the week, they might spend an entire Friday afternoon or worse, a Sunday evening, trying to catch up on entering data from the previous week.
I often received complaints about the amount of family time these tasks used up. But, I had to ask, “Why would you choose to do company work during family time?” The choice to procrastinate created the backlog on paperwork - not the paperwork itself. With each choice to procrastinate, the chore grew larger. The time individuals spent on company work—during what should be family time—grew.
As the temptation to procrastinate emerged, I asked my team to think differently about the assigned tasks they faced:
From now on, a sales call is not complete until the information is entered in the system. We are creating our own stress and pressure.
When the backlog stacks up, so does pressure and the resentment of that pressure.
This resentment spreads to the family, because they feel like work steals your time from them.
This resentment of work could negatively impact how your children view their own work in the future.
The progression showed how procrastination hurt us, created stress and our families suffered at home. We define Duty as, “Taking action based on our assigned tasks and our moral obligations.” When we procrastinate doing our assigned tasks, we end up falling short of our moral obligations.
As a Leader of Character, I began to recognize the downward progression of my team. I made a concerted effort to address the bad habits we had developed. I knew in order to protect my team and their families, we had to change. I shared my observations and then gave the team a 1-week challenge to enter their calls after each call. We also followed up on our progress and shared feedback the following week. We were encouraged by what we had learned from the change. The collective feedback was the same—shock and contentment.
The team was shocked at how much more time they had with their families. They also noted an increased sense of contentment with their jobs. Together, we stepped up by taking care of our assigned tasks at work—and became available for our moral obligations at home.
Dig Deep Questions:
What tasks do you put off which hang over your head?
How has procrastination effected your team or your time with your family?
Taking responsibility and exercising Duty is a lifelong journey for not only you, but your team. We want to partner with you as you make Duty part of your organizational culture. When it comes to remembering the definition of Duty, let us help to make it easy to keep it visible.
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