by CIO Staff

Study Finds 90% Executives Don’t Procrastinate

Jan 13, 20063 mins

While at work, the overwhelming majority (90 percent) of senior executives and managers say they are good at getting started without undue procrastination and in a timely manner, according to a new nationwide survey by NFI Research. More than a third consider themselves extremely good at being able to begin tasks or projects without undue procrastination.

However, getting started on projects at home is another matter. Fewer than one-fifth of executives and managers consider themselves extremely good at getting started at home, with more than a quarter saying they are not very good or not at all good at getting started.

“Work is so consuming that when I get home the last thing I want to do is projects,” said one survey respondent. “The exception is making tee times.”

Said another: “I enjoy the rewards of a wonderful spouse who takes care of the home business without any undue pressure on me to react quickly. We must have worked out a fair balance a long time ago as we’ve been at this for 37 years and are still not at each other!”

Getting started also can be easier if what is being started is of interest.

“Even though I hate to admit it, I like to procrastinate,” said one respondent. “I would much rather work on the fun, quick wins than work on the important, time-consuming tasks.”

“The ability to get started is directly linked to two influencers: my expertise in the topic and my interest in being involved in the project,” said another.

Getting started may begin from above but those below in turn get started as well. Slightly more senior executives than managers say they are extremely good at getting started, both at work and at home.

“I believe that a leader needs to set the pace, which means being decisive,” said one survey respondent. “Getting started for an executive means that his team will progress only when he initiates action.”

Office politics at work also can delay someone from getting started. “Checking the direction of the wind before proceeding and getting the input you need in order to start takes up most of the time needed to begin anything in business,” said one.

Of course, the downside of getting started is the implication that something will be finished. Just because someone is good at getting started doesn’t mean they always will arrive at the end of a project or task.

“I’m very good at getting started,” said one survey respondent. “It’s the completion where we get bogged down, most times not of our own doing.”

Said another: “I think the 80/20 rule will apply: things get about 80 percent completed, then lay in a pile on the desk.”

“Keeping multiple efforts on track is usually more of a challenge than getting a new one started,” said another. “Maintaining the enthusiasm and discipline that comes with anything new is the key.”

So before someone gets started on that next task or project, perhaps it would helpful to determine if what is getting started will actually get finished. After all, many in business already are under great pressure to deliver on things already started.