Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bad news vs. bad surprises

When I was working as a Communication Manager, one of my Managers told be he'd rather get bad news than bad surprises. That sentence stayed with me from that day and I still reflect on it.

His point was very simple: telling him bad news right away, rather than waiting for him to discover about it too late. As a project manager, this is a key to success: being proactive and mitigating risks instead of waiting for the disaster to happen. It also means improving the relationship with my manager / project sponsor. They need to know I'll tell them about it, but also that I'll do everything I can to right the situation. Trust can only increase with that kind of behavior.

I've obviously failed that saying a few times at work since then, but even more often at home. As many people, I am very talented at avoiding doing what I don't like to do. Going through the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People helped me deal with procrastinating. The first habit is the habit of choice, and is all about how doing, or not doing something, is a choice you make. Being lazy is a choice. Not cleaning your desk is a choice.

Dealing with a tense situation is not easy nor pleasant. Though, doing nothing about it won't make it better, but most likely will make it worse. It will only take you making the choice, being courageous for a couple of seconds to start dealing with the report you don't want to prepare, the cleaning you have postponed too much, the unpleasant phone call. 

That's what I try to remember every time I'm reluctant to perform a task, stick to my diet, have to pick up the phone, etc. What are your techniques to avoid procrastination?