Procrastination can be an addiction. It stops you from achieving your best and it disrupts your career. Procrastination is putting off or deferring an action. You can even procrastinate procrastination!
It is a problem that affects many entrepreneurs and employees alike. It affects work and personal life. And it can’t be treated until you recognize you have it. Procrastination is a habit. And once you understand why you feed this destructive habit, you can take steps to manage your time and your outcomes. Do you want to give procrastination control over your life?
People who procrastinate work just as many hours in the day as everyone else, and sometimes longer. But, they invest their time doing the wrong tasks. They end the day feeling discouraged or disappointed in the amount of work they finished.
There can be many reasons why people procrastinate:
• The task is unpleasant
• The person making the most noise gets attention
• The task is overwhelming
• You doubt your skills
• It’s not the ‘right time’
• Fear of failure (or success)
• Poor time management skills
• You suffer from ‘Perfectionism’ – if it can’t be perfect, it shouldn’t be done.
Everyone can identify with a one or more of these reasons but procrastinators act on them daily. The two main motives that most relate to are: the task is unpleasant or overwhelming.
Whatever the cause behind procrastination, it must be recognized, dealt with and controlled before you miss opportunities and your career goes off track.
Most times, you know when you’re procrastinating. However, the habit may be so well developed that even you don’t recognize the signs! So, take caution if you are ignoring priority tasks, reading emails two or three times, leaving important jobs on your ‘to-do’ list, and saying yes to other people when your list is already full.
If you are putting off a specific task and that is creating a roadblock to your success, you have a choice. If you can’t delegate it to someone else, then you need to motivate yourself to just get going. Below are several techniques to motivate your actions and improve your attention to the task.
Make up a reward for yourself in advance for completing the task. Rewards are great motivators – especially when they mean something to you personally. Choosing your own reward is much better than someone else’s paperweight with their name on it!
Accountability partners are a great way to stay on task. Ask someone to keep track of your progress, but set the rules ahead of time. Ensure that they stay on task too. You don’t want to be accountable to someone who distracts you from the task at hand.
Write down what will happen if you don’t finish the project. Being faced with unpleasant consequences can be a great motivator.
Break the project up into small, more manageable pieces. Start with a quick task that will boost your motivation as you finish it. When you work from a daily to-do-list, the whole project won’t be so overwhelming.
If you really want to conquer procrastination, first admit that you have a problem, identify when you are doing it and take action to overcome it. It won’t be long before your productivity increases and your boss notices – even if your boss is you!