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14 Mar

When you are not receiving what you need when you need it

Datum: 2022-03-14 16:36

Sure, we can ensure that we have a refined and well-func­tion­ing struc­ture. By doing so we will do what needs to get done smoother, we will have more time for what real­ly mat­ters and if we should get stuck with some­thing, we know what to do to get mov­ing again.

But, we are also often depend­ing on oth­ers deliv­er­ing what we need on time. We could be wait­ing for our col­leagues to help us with some­thing, our sup­pli­ers to get back to us or even a client.

Wait­ing for Godot …
On one hand it can be nice to know that we are not alone in occa­sion­al­ly pro­cras­ti­nat­ing (or not pri­or­i­tiz­ing cor­rect­ly) things we need to do, which usu­al­ly con­sti­tute what we refer to as sour­doughs”.

(The term is derived from a Swedish expres­sion con­cern­ing the tasks and projects which are par­tic­u­lar­ly dif­fi­cult to get going with and which we hence tend to procrastinate.)

But if some­one else has made a sour­dough” out of what they are sup­posed to deliv­er to us, we can feel both frus­trat­ed and that there is noth­ing we can do about it. We need that mate­r­i­al pron­to! Why can’t they just get it done?

Every­one else are just like you
For­tu­nate­ly we can do some­thing about it. We can elim­i­nate oth­er people’s sour­doughs in the same way we go about elim­i­nat­ing our own; divid­ing it into small steps and above all for­mu­late what that first, tiny step we could get start­ed with should be.

Do this
If you have del­e­gat­ed a task to some­one else (or asked some­one to do some­thing for you), and the per­son in ques­tion is slow in get­ting it done, help them get rid of their sour­dough and do what you need them to do.

  1. Decide what a first appro­pri­ate piece of the task or assign­ment could be, and tell who­ev­er is being dila­to­ry some­thing along the lines of:

    We have to get that which I have del­e­gat­ed to you done soon and I under­stand that it is tak­ing some time. I could real­ly use your help in get­ting things mov­ing on my end, so if you could per­haps just do … [cho­sen part of the task] …, it would be great.”

  2. If the per­son in ques­tion is like most peo­ple (which they often are), it will moti­vate them to get that small­er por­tion of the task done at once since it would make them feel much bet­ter as well and ease their con­science which most like­ly is heavy from the pro­cras­ti­nat­ed task.

    Per­haps the relief of check­ing that first part of the pro­cras­ti­nat­ed task off the to-do-list will be the spark that ignites their moti­va­tion to want to do more and even­tu­al­ly fin­ish the assign­ment completely.

  3. If you are sus­pect­ing that the per­son you have del­e­gat­ed the task to has a ten­den­cy to pro­cras­ti­nate, it might be a good idea ask­ing them to com­plete short­er tasks in the first place from now on. Or, if worst comes to worst, ask some­one else to do it for you instead.

Few­er sour­doughs with a com­mon effort to elim­i­nate them
If you help oth­ers get rid of their sour­doughs in this way, you will receive what you need soon­er and not as close to dead­line as you usu­al­ly might. The per­son you have helped will sure­ly be grate­ful for your assis­tance and for hav­ing few­er things to feel stressed about, and if you con­tin­ue work­ing togeth­er, this will def­i­nite­ly ben­e­fit you as well.

What is your trick?
How do you ensure that you get what you need from oth­ers faster and with less has­sle, espe­cial­ly with regards to the pro­cras­ti­na­tors you work with on a reg­u­lar basis? Tell me!