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.
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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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!