Procrastination is one of the biggest obstacles to productivity in the workplace. The tendency to keep putting things off can lead to office conflict, disorganisation, and stress when you have to always finish tasks at the last minute. In the age of instant messaging, emails, and social media, it seems that the potential to procrastinate is greater than ever.
From time to time, we are all guilty of procrastinating. We may have to do unpleasant tasks, confront a difficult situation, or try to achieve long-term goals. Of course, putting some mundane or less important tasks off until a later time can have its benefits. But what are the reasons to stop procrastinating today?
First of all, it’s important to differentiate between procrastination and laziness. The journal Personality and Individual Differences says that workplace procrastination is defined as follows:
So, the procrastinator actively chooses to do something else (or, do nothing) rather than the task at hand. On the other hand, a lazy person can’t get motivated or is just apathetic to the situation.
When you look at the reasons to stop procrastinating, it soon becomes clear the dangers of procrastinating. Here are a few reasons:
Because a person who habitually puts off work is constantly busy, it could be difficult to recognise signs of procrastinating. In fact, the procrastinator may even feel that they are overworked and have too much to do.
Some ways to spot procrastination can include:
If you have spotted signs that you are falling into the habit of putting thing off, what can you do about it?
Here are some ways to get into good habits to avoid procrastinating. These will actually give you more time in the day and make you more productive.
Having a prioritized list of tasks to accomplish is the first step to getting important jobs done first. This will prevent you from forgetting tasks that are unpleasant but need to be done.
You also need a schedule to give yourself a timeframe when a task needs to be completed by. Sometimes, for larger tasks, you need to break them down into smaller ones and identify which are the most important ones.
You know yourself when you are at your peak during the day. So, schedule the most unpleasant tasks for those times. Tackling tough assignments when you are feeling motivated and alert will help you get through them effectively.
Turn off instant messaging, e-mail notifications, or other distractions that you can’t control. You may also need to resist the temptation to take a break during an important task to catch up on your Facebook feed or check the latest headlines. Put those non-important tasks into your schedule so you know you will have time for them later.
If you find that you are getting tired during an important task, take a break to clear your head. This will help you avoid the temptation to start wasting time on smaller, less-important activities.