The Real Cost of “Maybe Later”

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In the automotive service industry, the workday is typically full - from bell to bell.

Daily tasks involve stressful situations such as dealing with irate customers, working through scheduling conflicts in the shop, and making several phone calls that may be upsetting to the customer. With so many uncomfortable tasks to do daily, it’s no wonder that procrastination is on the rise. 

And rising it is. Popular research on procrastination spells out its five-fold increase in the past three decades, with 26 percent of the population admitting to chronic ‘not nows’ and ‘maybe laters’ in their day. 

Putting off tasks is something everyone does from time to time. In the auto service industry, as in every industry, the decision to procrastinate has a price tag attached to it. It’s important to know what the cost of delaying an inevitable action or decision has on the workday. 

Calculate the Value of Time

It begins with understanding not just hourly pay, but much smaller increments. A front-line service team member will need to break down that hourly pay into smaller segments, like five or ten-minute increments. Here’s a quick reference point: earning approximately $60,000 annually breaks down into roughly $30 per hour, $7.50 for every quarter-hour, $5 for each 10-minute break, and $2.50 every 5 minutes.

It doesn’t seem like much until you consider how many times per day you tell yourself, “maybe later”. Is it five times per day, ten times per day, or more? That sounds like an opportunity for serious improvement to the paycheck. 

Counteract Procrastination

Understanding the tendency to procrastinate will help deter those momentary decisions to postpone actions. These three things can help keep a chronic procrastinator focused. 

•    Relate time to money. Whether it’s a difficult task or an uncomfortable conversation, understand the cost of putting it off. Typical procrastination lasts from 5 to 20 minutes for most people. 

•    Avoid common time traps. There’s a common time-waster most people go to repeatedly. Identify what that is as an individual, whether it’s social media, a smoke break, or chatting with a co-worker. Resist the urge to fall into the time trap.

•    Think about it less. It’s a tendency to project the result of a hard conversation or a perceived negative. However, it’s impossible to know a person’s true reaction beforehand. It doesn’t change the outcome, and the result could be surprising – and rewarding financially. 

Kill the urge to procrastinate and the effect will be noticeable on payday.

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