Here is an email that I just received and want to respond immediately. As in, right now.
It’s incredibly perfect for the pattern I want to discuss this week, the procrastinator.
First, the email:
Thank you for contacting me. I apologize for the delay in getting back to you.
I hope this gets to you in time, before you decide on an editor for the new book you’re writing. I have enjoyed reading “Don’t Bring It To Work” and know I can be a great asset in helping with your new, yet unnamed book.
I am an excellent editor, especially for business books (I’ve enclosed a list of those I have worked with) and many are names you will recognize.
While I know that apologies are weak, I do want you to know what I’ve been up to. You see, I’ve been out getting all my holiday shopping done early. You know Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday bargains.
Usually I wait till right before the family gets together at Christmas. Not this year! After reading about the 13 patterns that get in the way of success I decided to stop everything and shop early.
You have already made an impression and I hope I can still be in the running to assist you.
OKAY. Can you guess how I responded to this person? The flattery made me smile. The late reply made me sad.
I must have had 7 replies to my request to hire an editor. Just the lateness of the reply was enough to turn me totally off.
Let me dig a bit deeper into the procrastinator pattern. Lots of research says it’s about distorted ways of viewing time. Others say it’s about the “shiny object syndrome” where, what is bigger and brighter gets first attention.
Other, newer research bring up the executive function in the brain that has to do with self-regulation. This has to do with working memory, mental flexibility, and self-control. Children aren’t born with these skills, they develop over time.
I have been interested in the relational aspect of procrastination.
The individual who sent to email lost out because I saw signs of impending deadline doom if I were to work with him or her.
Procrastinators are hard to trust. They almost always shake their heads in agreement to have their part of a project on time, yet, there are always excuses (Black Friday? Cyber Monday? UG!).
Why do some people procrastinate consistently? Perfectionism and limited self-confidence are at the core of much of this avoidant behavior.
Here is a video I made to help you talk with a procrastinator you work with or live with to get things moving in a more positive direction.