According to Wikipedia, procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished by a certain deadline. It could be further stated as a habitual or intentional delay of starting or finishing a task despite knowing it might have negative consequences.
I don’t know a single person who’s never procrastinated in their life. I’m actually pretty sure that you’re supposed to be doing something instead of reading this post. And I’m 100% aware of my procrastination. This text was sitting in my drive as a draft for several ways, just waiting for me to come around and finish it.
It’s strange and unproductive, we’re all aware of it. Yet, we’re still procrastinating.
Why Do Procrastinators Procrastinate, and How Does It Affect Their Productivity?
The thing with procrastinators is that they only tend to focus on the present. They’re ignoring lessons from the past, and aren’t really thinking about the future. The only thing on their mind is how to maximize the ease and pleasure of the current moment.
Some people see this as a minor issue, and for them it usually is a minor mishap. But there is a second group of people - those whose procrastination causes permanent stress and anxiety. Such behaviour affect them, but it also influences their interpersonal relationships with people who work with them. Eventually, this leads to a decrease in productivity and efficiency levels of the whole team.
The biggest problem with procrastinators is that they usually feel remarkably optimistic about their ability to complete a task on a tight deadline, which is often accompanied by expressions of reassurance that everything is under control.
What you need to understand is that procrastinators rarely do absolutely nothing; they rather spend their time completing marginally useful tasks.
How Can We Beat Procrastination?
People often follow the wrong path when trying to beat procrastination. They tend to minimize their commitments, assuming that if they have fewer things to do they’ll just get them done. This works against them since it destroys their most important source of motivation.
If you’re looking to fight your own procrastination, we have three tips to help you out.
Admit to Yourself That You Are Procrastinating
Most procrastinators aren’t aware of their habit, until they’re faced with facts. I was pretty ignorant about it until I saw the data in my own employee monitoring data. Workpuls showed me that I would spend the first 30 minutes of the workday reading news sites, checking my social channels, reading emails, and so on. The bad thing is - this was happening on the days I had a lot to do, too.
This is when I truly understood what my procrastination is doing, so I decided to make an effort and minimize it.
Figure out Why Are You Doing It
The reasons for procrastination vary from person to person. Some people postpone the task because they find it unpleasant, others feel overwhelmed by it. On the other hand, there are those who are just disorganized, while a portion of them believe they work the best when faced with a deadline.
Think about the reasons you’re procrastinating. I’m not saying it’ll be easy. Be honest with yourself, because you’re the only one who knows the real source and who will be able to deal with it properly.
For tangible data about your procrastination, I recommend using a work time tracker and see why you’re being unproductive.
Implement Anti-Procrastination Strategies
Procrastination is a habit, which means you won’t break it overnight. There’s no such thing as a “single best way to beat procrastination”. It depends on you, and the way you usually break bad habits. You’ll have to figure out what works best in your case, but I can recommend a few strategies:
- Make a “To-Do” list
- Create an action plan and stick to it
- Measure your productivity
- Face the most complicated tasks first
- Set deadlines
- Block out distractions
- Plan your breaks
- Don’t be a perfectionist
- Motivate yourself
- Reward yourself
- Get an accomplice
What Are the Benefits of Overcoming Procrastination?
If you get to the point where you can manage your procrastination, you’ll get a feeling of strength and purpose, powered up with a feeling of being in charge of your life and work duties.
Procrastination can make you feel weak, useless, and helpless; but overcoming it will make you feel strong, competent and capable.
So, stop reading this article about how to overcome procrastination and just get to work.