One of these days, is none of these daysProverb

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses have had to regroup and restrategize because dynamics in the business world have changed and are still changing. Leaders are having to be more forward-thinking so they can skillfully anticipate what is going to happen next and plan to respond with strategies while being on the offensive. Waiting to respond on the defensive may well cost an organisation’s resources in several areas.

The opening quote says, “one of these days, is none of these days”. This quote implies that without specific steps in a plan, we may end up doing none of what we should be doing. This is disastrous for any organization because then, it would point to a lack of direction for the entire organization.

The title of this article is a favourite saying of a friend of mine. She maintains that once you know what to do, you should do it right away because procrastination can push it far off your radar.

Get the Foundation Right

Before you get to do whatever it is you must do now, you would have to have sorted out certain details including, but not at all limited to the following:

  • Have clear objectives: you should be able to communicate these to team members with no ambiguity. Having clear objectives for every member of the team allows the organization to move in a certain desired direction. It allows for even mistakes to occur within a certain spectrum of thinking and work.
  • Have a plan to accompany the objective and goals. This plan provides a broad framework for the organization. Break this broad plan down into manageable chunks for each sector or department of the organization. Ensuring that team members understand how their input, no matter how little, feeds into the bigger plan encourages members to contribute their quota because they can see clearly how the shirking of their responsibilities affects the entire plan and objectives of the organisation. This plan would also include who is responsible for what and some timelines. It allows teammates to own the shared vision.
  • Have a reward scheme clearly spelt out. It pays to let team members know exactly what is expected of them but also what they can expect of their leaders or the organisation in terms of rewards for working towards organisational objectives.
  • Have clear communication channels so that information is free-flowing. Bottlenecks concerning information flow stifle progress at the workplace. Clear communication back and forth acts as the lubricant or oil for the moving parts of the organization. It will be difficult for any group of people to achieve anything of significance when they do not speak the same language – in other words, clear communication should be encouraged through and through. Team members should be at ease to communicate their challenges, make suggestions and feel valued for whatever input they make towards the progress of the organization even if after brainstorming, their ideas do not see the light of day.

Let’s Do It

There may be a few more things to sort out before taking off but these few points listed above provide a good enough footing to launch out head-on. Denis Waitley says, “Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the ‘someday I’ll’ philosophy”.

Many will agree with Denis Waitley. We procrastinate, most times, without appreciating the effects of our inaction on the value chain of work. Success certainly comes with responsibility and once we have the foundation right, putting in the building blocks one at a time and according to plan certainly move us a step towards our objective(s).

Why not decide to

  • Have a realistic daily and personal plan and stick with it
  • Prioritise
  • Start early in the day. “When the morning’s freshness has been replaced by the weariness of midday, when the leg muscles give under the strain, the climb seems endless, and suddenly nothing will go quite as you wish-it is then that you must not hesitate.” – Dag Hammarskjold. Do what you are to do without wasting time or getting distracted. Identify distractions and boldly/ruthlessly get them out of your way. For example, if you are to read up on an area of your job for an hour a day, it may be helpful to switch off your phone entirely during that period or regulate it in a way that helps you focus on the task at hand.
  • Finish your tasks – finish what you start. “There is nothing so fatal to character as half-finished tasks” – David Lloyd George. Cultivate the habit of being a finisher.
  • Be accountable to someone so s/he can spur you on.
  • Review your progress and pat yourself on the back when you successfully eat the elephant piece-by-piece. Reward yourself for the mini-milestones on your way to achieving the major one(s).

Conclusion “One of these days, I will…” If this phrase characterizes you as a team leader or as an individual, it may be helpful to put into practice a few of the points listed above. Refusing to procrastinate despite the inevitable setbacks we may have from time to time, puts us at an advantage and helps us be consistent with the progress of work and progress in our lives in general.

Freda Abah-Dakou