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Inside The Mind of a Master Procrastinator

14 min
Average Score

Tim Urban

Founder of Wait But Why

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In the fast-paced world of sales, the ability to manage time efficiently and stay focused on tasks is crucial. Sales reps often find themselves juggling multiple responsibilities and facing deadlines. However, procrastination can be a significant roadblock to achieving sales success. In this guide, we will explore effective strategies to overcome procrastination and boost productivity for sales reps.

The Procrastination Challenge in Sales

Sales reps face a unique set of challenges when it comes to procrastination. The allure of short-term gratification, distractions, and the pressure to meet sales targets can make procrastination a common issue. The consequences of procrastinating in sales can be severe, leading to missed opportunities, lost clients, and decreased revenue.

Understanding the Procrastination Brain

Before diving into strategies to overcome procrastination, it's essential to understand how the procrastination brain works. In the famous TED Talk by Tim Urban, he illustrates the battle between the Rational Decision-Maker and the Instant Gratification Monkey in the procrastinator's mind. This insightful video provides a visual representation of the inner struggle faced by procrastinators.

The Rational Decision-Maker vs. the Instant Gratification Monkey

The procrastinator's brain contains two main players: the Rational Decision-Maker and the Instant Gratification Monkey. The Rational Decision-Maker seeks to make rational, long-term decisions, while the Monkey craves immediate pleasure and fun. In sales, this internal conflict often leads to choosing short-term gratification over long-term success.

The Dark Playground: Where Procrastinators Linger

Procrastinators often find themselves in what Tim Urban calls the "Dark Playground." This is a place where leisure activities happen when they shouldn't, resulting in feelings of guilt, anxiety, and self-hatred. The procrastinator prefers easy and fun activities, avoiding the harder, but more important, tasks.

The Panic Monster: A Procrastinator's Wake-Up Call

The Panic Monster is the procrastinator's guardian angel, only waking up when deadlines loom or when faced with potential disasters. In sales, the Panic Monster can provide a surge of productivity when a deal is at risk. However, it's not a reliable long-term strategy.

Two Types of Procrastination in Sales

  • Short-Term Procrastination: This occurs with impending sales deadlines. The Panic Monster comes to the rescue, but it's not a sustainable approach.
  • Long-Term Procrastination: Sales reps may procrastinate when there are no immediate deadlines. This type of procrastination can lead to missed opportunities, personal frustration, and career stagnation.

Overcoming Procrastination in Sales

1. Set Clear Goals and Prioritize Tasks

  • Create a daily or weekly to-do list with clear objectives.
  • Prioritize tasks based on their impact on your sales goals.
  • Use time management techniques like the Pomodoro technique to stay focused.

2. Eliminate Distractions

  • Identify common distractions and find ways to minimize them.
  • Use website blockers and productivity apps to stay on track.
  • Designate a distraction-free workspace for sales activities.

3. Break Tasks into Smaller Steps

  • Divide larger sales projects into smaller, manageable tasks.
  • This makes the workload seem less daunting and helps you maintain focus.

4. Leverage the Panic Monster Wisely

  • Use the Panic Monster as a motivator for essential tasks, but avoid relying on it exclusively.
  • Create artificial deadlines to simulate the presence of the Panic Monster for long-term projects.

5. Accountability and Self-Monitoring

  • Share your sales goals with colleagues or mentors who can hold you accountable.
  • Regularly review your progress and adjust your approach when needed.

6. Self-Care and Well-Being

  • Prioritize self-care, including regular exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate sleep.
  • A balanced and healthy lifestyle can improve your overall productivity.

7. Continuous Learning and Improvement

  • Stay up to date with the latest sales techniques and technologies.
  • Invest in professional development to boost your confidence and abilities.

8. Seek Guidance and Support

  • Don't hesitate to seek guidance from sales coaches, mentors, or colleagues.
  • Collaborative problem-solving can help you overcome procrastination hurdles.

9. Use Technology to Your Advantage

  • Implement sales and productivity tools that can automate repetitive tasks and streamline your workflow.

By applying these strategies, sales reps can overcome procrastination and achieve their sales goals more effectively.

Embrace the Life Calendar

Imagine a Life Calendar with a limited number of boxes representing your weeks. Each box represents a week of your life, and as you progress, those boxes disappear. This visualization is a reminder that time is finite. Embrace the Life Calendar concept to motivate yourself to take action and stop procrastinating on your sales journey.

Remember, procrastination is a challenge that even the most successful sales reps face. By understanding your procrastination tendencies and implementing these strategies, you can take control of your time, boost your productivity, and achieve your sales goals more effectively.

Don't let procrastination hinder your sales success. Watch this session to learn more about overcoming procrastination and start taking proactive steps toward achieving your sales goals. Your future success depends on it.

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