Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

When I was 12 my teacher wrote in my report, 'Inclined to procrastinate'.

The next day she asked, 'Do you know what procrastinate means?'


'Did you look it up?'

'I meant to', I said, 'I didn't get around to it.'

There's a simple cure if you are inclined to procrastinate. (I'm indebted to Professor Robert Cialdini for this one. He mentions it in his latest book Pre-suasion.)


Here we go.

Make a start, even a small first step. (How useful is that?)

Here's the bit that matters

Leave the task part way through.

Writing a report? Write for a few minutes, then leave a sentence half-finished.

Most of us can't stand something incomplete. That's why mysteries and even questions are so motivating.

Start small. Nothing ambitious, but a start. Need to weed the garden? Get out the wheelbarrow and put a couple of weeds in it. Leave it there, prominent, in the way.

Why make just a small start?

Knowing that the first step will only take a few minutes helps to erode that feeling that the task is too much of a burden to do right away. If you are swept away by a burst of enthusiasm once you've started, go with the flow.

'But I don't care about incomplete tasks'

Perhaps you have a half-built deck at home, or the monthly report and newsletter you started a week ago are still in draft form and that's not keeping you awake either.

The solution? Just willpower. Set aside the time and make it happen - all of it. 

If I come across an easier, less obvious solution I'll let you know right away.

No, really I will.


Interested in a workshop on emotional Intelligence for your team? (It's about thriving at work)

What about a workshop on employee engagement? (For your leaders or for your teams)