Three Steps to Conquer Procrastination

by Rebecca Barnes-Hogg

Meriam-Webster defines procrastination as “to put off intentionally and habitually.” Most of us suffer from this affliction. I confess that I procrastinated before writing this blog.

Why do we procrastinate? The three most popular reasons we habitually postpone tasks are:

  • We lack clearly defined intentions, making it difficult to know where to start.
  • We are uncomfortable, which causes negative feelings that make us resistant to the task.
  • We get sidetracked chasing squirrels or bright shiny objects, telling ourselves that dealing with the distraction will only take a few minutes. (And we all know those few minutes morph into hours.)

Do any of these strike a chord with you?

While some procrastination is harmless, it can cause serious problems. For example, what happens we when become habitual procrastinators when it comes to recruiting the right employees? Here’s how that goes.

Most of the time, you end up hiring quickly to relieve the pain caused by having to do all the work yourself, for longer than necessary. That creates other, bigger problems, caused by a bad hiring decision that you also procrastinate about solving. It becomes a vicious cycle of endless problems: procrastinate about recruiting the right person to fill your jobs, then hire quickly only to later realize you’ve hired the wrong person. Procrastinate about handling tough disciplinary actions and the decision to terminate your bad hire. Then you procrastinate about starting all over and recruiting a replacement.

In a recent CareerBuilder survey, 60% of CEOs reported the inability to find qualified candidates prevented their company from reaching its full potential, 35% said that their recruitment process was inefficient (takes too long to fill jobs), and 48% of CEOs said their companies lost money due to inefficient recruiting.

So, you see, the costs of procrastinating are high. Yet, we continue to procrastinate because it feels easier than solving the underlying problem. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. Your procrastination causes you to accept this formula for insanity:

    Average or subpar results

+ The same process                                    

  The same average or subpar results.

You’re not insane, so why do you keep procrastinating even though you know you need to stop?

  • Because it’s easier to do the same thing.
  • Because you never have enough time.
  • Because change is hard.

So how can you stop the cycle? Easy. Take action! It can be as simple as reading this blog and taking one small step each day to become more aware of how you can learn to recruit and hire the right people for your business. Here are three small steps you can take this week:

  1. Identify job responsibilities.

You need to have clarity about what essential tasks your employee will do and what results they must achieve to be successful. It’s deeper than a list of tasks; it is a results or outcomes list. Grab a pen and some paper and draw a line down the center. On the left side of the page, list all the tasks you need completed. On the right side of the page, list why you need them done (the result of the task). Leave lots of space between tasks so you have room to go back and add in more details later.

  1. List the knowledge, skills, and abilities of successful employees.

Next, use your task list to identify what knowledge, skills, and behaviors a successful candidate must possess to achieve these results. Write those in the space you left between tasks. Some examples of knowledge and skills might be a license, certification, or degree, years of experience, or experience using certain equipment. Behaviors are harder to define. This is the hardest part so spend some time thinking about these. Examples might be that you want someone who is positive, friendly, a problem solver, or flexible. You’ll want to define what these behaviors look like for your business. If you don’t know exactly what your needs are and what a successful employee looks like, how will you know when you find him or her?

  1. Write a job description.

Recruiting the right people starts with a job description that incorporates the tasks and outcomes, and the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to be successful in the job. You did the hard work already and now you can take what you’ve done in the first two steps and write a job description that you can use to keep you focused on your ideal candidate.

See how easy that was? You can break the choke hold procrastination has over you by taking these three small steps to hiring the right people.


Are you ready to stop procrastinating and take action? Give me a call at 1-843-779-9656 send me an email, or text MOMENTUM to 480-418-1411 to get more in-depth, step-by-step recruiting help by becoming an advance reader of my upcoming book on recruiting for small business.