“Sorry, I had something unexpected. Shall we reschedule our coffee tomorrow? ”.
“I’m going long in another meeting, can we move our meeting to Friday? Go ahead and fix it, my diary is already up to date ”.
“I swear: I’ll write you an email tonight”. And clearly, it won’t.
Who among us has never had to deal with a friend, colleague or acquaintance who is as adept at making a commitment as quick to make it slip continuously?
And you pass when the episode is sporadic, but when the procrastinator is serial, the matter becomes more complicated.
Even worse if we are the culprit: if we recognize that we have the habit of “postpone” it is time to understand the behavior and correct it, quickly. Because the risks are high.
Chronic postponement arises from the fear of disappointment
It is precisely the desire to please others, the lever that triggers the momentum to make a commitment.
Those who asked us for feedback by the evening could be disappointed when we said no, just as those who invited us to have a coffee to talk about a new project deserve our attention.
When we answer affirmatively to others’ requests, we try to appear approachable and compliant, but we are underestimating the effort required to carry out that task – even if it takes 30 minutes to leave the office and sitting at a bar – and the shortage of working hours we have available and which, often, are already completely full.
Faced with a request, therefore, we should reflect concretely: can I manage it, and if so, in what timeframe?
Only after having really quantified the effort, is it advisable to give an answer on an objective and truthful basis. Even at the cost of saying no.
Yet, in order not to betray expectations, or not to face rejection right away, many tend to say: “no problem, I’ll take care of it first thing tomorrow morning”.
But when they arrive under deadline, they collide with reality: they haven’t even had time to open the file on duty, let alone read it and develop an evaluation. And so there is the “postpone”, the “reschedule”, the “shall we do tomorrow?”.
And the disappointment in the other is even more scorching.
Postponing: easier with new technologies
Those who have the habit of postponing and constantly breaking the commitments made have an incentive factor on their side: technology.
Hidden behind a screen, whether desktop or mobile, sending an apology message to reschedule the commitment is not as difficult as doing it in person: the exposure is less and the embarrassment is contained.
The risk? That of letting oneself get carried away and enter a vortex of deadlines that are not met and that, gradually, are crowded.
Serial postponer: can’t be a leader
How does someone struggling with a chronic replan feel? Certainly betrayed and undervalued.
Perceiving that the agreed commitments have not been met makes the sense of trust and respect we have towards the other person disappear.
A leader, evidently, cannot afford such a reputational collapse, appearing unreliable and sloppy.
Without considering that those who do not shine for punctuality and respect for their word certainly cannot impose precision and maximum commitment on deadlines on their team.
The solution? Rediscover the meaning behind the word commitment: every promise is a duty, especially in the workplace, and as such must be honored. Make it a point to complete every task you have exposed yourself to, at the cost of spending the night in the office. The extra work will help you to really understand the time needed to carry out the activities, helping you to better evaluate in the future.
And even “I can’t” will be welcome.