Help! I'm a Procrastinator!
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Posted by: Mary Colak
is about putting off (or deferring) something to a later time. We all do it
occasionally: procrastination is normal. However, if procrastination starts to
interfere with your life and work more frequently, then it needs to be
many reasons why people procrastinate, but here are six of the top reasons that
I have discovered that could impact your work productivity.
Perfectionism. I confess that I,
too, am sometimes focused on getting things done perfectly so much so that it
takes me much longer to complete something (and makes me tired as a result!).
Where this may be a more serious problem is when perfectionism causes one to
not start work on tasks/projects because of a perceived need to wait to get
something exactly right. "If it’s not right, then I’m not going to do it” can
cause project paralysis.
Another reason why people procrastinate is that they anticipate the worst. They
imagine disaster as an outcome of their performance, so they don’t proceed with
it. This can also be related to perfectionism.
Let’s face it. Sometimes tasks or projects can be too much or too little. If
tasks and projects are perceived as overwhelming or underwhelming, sometimes
procrastination can set in. If you’re working on a large project and really
have no idea how to get started or just see the project as one massive "to do,”
then you may be afraid to start the work for fear of failure. Likewise, if the
project or task is so mind numbingly boring, you may be tempted to put it off
in favour of doing more interesting work.
Some people may need to see immediate results from their work. If this isn’t
possible, then they procrastinate on getting started. This is particularly true
for procrastinators working on projects with long timelines. If the results of
the project won’t provide immediate satisfaction of a completed job, the
tendency is to delay starting the task.
Passivity. Sometimes an
individual may have difficulty starting a task until they get a push from
someone else (especially if the task is too big or too small and, therefore,
overwhelming or underwhelming). This is called passivity.
Hostility. Perhaps one of the
worst reasons for procrastination is hostility. People who are angry at the
world for their lot in life may decide they just won’t do anything at all. This
is really the worst reason for procrastination and if it’s a habit may require
If you’re a
normal procrastinator, here are three ways to combat procrastination and get
back on the road to productivity:
- Use project management principles
on all tasks (large or small).
- Stop worrying about what might
- Just do it.
Here is a
simple guideline on how to use project management principles on all tasks:
your deadline, if there is one.
the steps needed to complete the project by breaking down the project into its component
parts. For example, if the task involves interviewing, writing reports, and
reviewing reports with stakeholders, then write down all of those tasks in the
order that they need to be done.
determine how long each component part of the project will take. In our
example, determine how long it will take you to conduct interviews, write
reports, and review reports with stakeholders. If it will take you five days to
conduct interviews, ten days to write reports, and 15 days to review reports
with stakeholders, you will need a total of 30 days to complete the project.
on your estimated required time to complete the project in our example, count
30 days backward from your deadline. This will be your absolute "must” start
date to ensure that your project is completed.
finally, get started as scheduled on your starting date. If you can start
sooner, that will be even better because it will provide a ‘cushion’ for any
to your schedule. No matter what.
Now that you’ve
got your project laid out and your task(s) is scheduled, the best thing to do
is to start. Starting something helps initiate momentum and the more you work
on a task, the more momentum you will build, making it easier to stick to the
task. If perfection creeps in and makes you worry about the outcome, help
yourself to stop worrying by challenging your thoughts to find the evidence for
your perceived outcome. Ask yourself: "What would I say to a friend who had
this worry?” You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly the worry will
just get on with it and do it! There’s no better way to overcome
procrastination than by getting into action. Action is the enemy of
procrastination. Make action your friend.
If you follow
these three easy steps to overcoming procrastination, you will be more
productive, more efficient, more creative, and more energized not only at work,
but at home as well.
CMC, is the President and CEO of the MNC Consulting Group. For over 20 years,
she has used her unique ability to scan an organization’s work methods,
immediately identifying areas for improvement. This includes helping executives
and leaders to improve efficiency in workflow of tasks and projects, office
layout optimization, and implementation of methods for the management of
records and information resources that enable staff to be more productive. She
also continues to act as coach and mentor to individuals within organizations
to help them manage and overcome obstacles to job performance.
information, visit www.mncconsultinggroup.com.
"Dramatically increasing efficiencies that
immediately boost your profit margins”