It often happens with us that we realize that the clock is ticking are we are yet to accomplish our tasks in time. We work furiously to get the job done as soon as possible, while silently cursing ourselves why we didn’t start it sooner. We start questioning ourselves how it happened, what went wrong, and why did we lose focus.
The major reason behind people lagging behind schedule is ‘procrastination’, the habit of avoiding tasks that need to be completed. They spend crucial time in re-reading emails, browsing through social media sites, and waiting for coffee breaks. Instead of wasting time in such activities, they could have completed the task at hand, or prepare for important meetings.
Most of us knowingly or unknowingly fall into the trap of procrastination. Research states that 95% of people procrastinate to some degree. We all fall into its trap at one point of time or another. While one may be happy to know that they are not the only ones practicing it, but they should be concerned about how much procrastination is holding them back.
Procrastination is Different from Laziness
People often consider procrastination and laziness as the same thing, but actually, they are very different. Laziness is the inactivity and unwillingness to act. On the other hand, procrastination is an active process, where the person is doing something else instead of the task that they are supposed to perform.
Procrastinating usually involves ignoring an unpleasant and boring task, while performing another task which is easy and enjoyable. Although it may seem impulsive, but this act has serious consequences. We may feel guilty or ashamed after minor acts of procrastination. It can affect our productivity and cause delay in achieving the goals. Procrastinating over a long period of time can make individuals demotivated and disillusioned with their work. In extreme cases, it may also lead to depression and even job loss.
Dealing with Procrastination is of utmost Importance
Like most habits, procrastination can also be vanquished. Individuals can overcome this bad habit by following the below mentioned steps:
Recognizing the Habit
Individuals should make sure that they are postponing a task because they need to re-prioritize their workload. Delaying a task because of a genuinely good reason doesn’t fall into the category of procrastination. But if they switch focus immediately from one task to another, leaving things unfinished, then they are definitely procrastinating.
Procrastination also includes:
- Filling the day with low priority tasks
- Leaving items in the to-do list and not completing it, even if it’s important
- Going through e-mails and messages several times without deciding what to do with them
- Starting a high-priority task and then suddenly going for a break
- Completing random unimportant activities, instead of focusing on urgent task
- Waiting for the ‘right mood’ or the ‘right time’ to get the job done
Identifying the Plausible Reasons
Individuals should figure out the reasons why they are procrastinating. It will help them to efficiently tackle with this habit. For example, if an individual is avoiding a particular task because it is boring or unpleasant, they should take steps to engage in that activity and complete it as soon as possible. This will give them enough time to engage in an activity that they are more interested in.
Also, poor organization leads to procrastination. People should properly plan all the activities. They should prepare to-do lists, create effective schedules, and prioritize things so that they complete the assigned activities well in time. Many people worry about failure or incomplete objectives. Hence, they avoid those tasks which they are doubtful about, and seek comfort of completing those things that they are confident about. People also avoid completing things at hand due to poor decision making. Some individuals can’t decide what to do; hence, they refrain from taking action in case they do the wrong thing.
Adopting Anti-Procrastination Measures
Procrastination is a deeply ingrained human behavior. It is not possible for anyone to get over this habit overnight. Constant practice of avoiding procrastinating can help individuals in the long run. Forgiving oneself for delaying tasks in the past can make individuals feel positive about them. It will motivate them to avoid committing the same in the future.
Commitment to the task at hand can also be helpful. Individuals should focus on the urgent tasks; they should write down the tasks and specified time in which they have to be completed. It will help them to get the job done efficiently. People can also treat themselves with a sweet or snack if they complete the task without any delay. This will act as a motivating factor for them to finish their assigned work in time. Also, they will realize how good it feels to finish things properly. Moreover, avoiding distractions and doing the work in an organized manner can also be very helpful for individuals.
Procrastination is the habit of delaying important task, while focusing more on less important task. It can restrict our potential and creativity, while hampering our quality of work. It can also create hindrance in team work, reduce morale, and may even lead to depression and job loss. Hence, every individual should take proactive steps towards overcoming this habit for their own betterment and growth of the team as well.