Merriam-Webster defines procrastination like this:
Procrastination: To put off intentionally and habitually.
Everyone is guilty of the bad habit at one point or another, but some individuals are more guilty than others. People often procrastinate in order to avoid facing a situation, to put off making a decision, or because they “work best under pressure.” Some people enjoy the feeling of putting something off until the last minute because they perform well in a time crunch, but let’s face it: Procrastination stresses everybody out.
Procrastination can cause a number of problems in the office, even when only one worker is guilty of procrastinating. For example, procrastination can cause other employees’ workloads to pile up as they wait for the procrastinator to get around to doing their part. This can cause serious anger and resentment issues, which can result in significant workplace tension. As responsibilities and burdens fall on others, coworkers may lose respect for the procrastinator.
Putting things off can also cause nervousness and anxiety among others. This anxiety can lead to slower productivity as work fails to get completed due to distraction in the office. The biggest downfall of procrastination is that no matter how well the other employees perform under pressure, productivity in your company is likely to decline.
Avoid the excuses and the negative attitude, and get things done on time. Below are five simple tips for reducing procrastination among employees:
Prioritize all tasks. Make yourself a list of daily, weekly, and monthly to-dos, and know their order of importance (based on time constraints, client importance, etc.). If possible, simply work your way down the list, as this forces you to complete even those tasks that you would rather not tackle. Or if you’d prefer, get the worst task done and out of the way first, as this will prevent that grey cloud from looming over your work and dampening the rest of your day.
Many times, procrastination is the result of someone simply not wanting to start a given project. It might bore them or cause them stress, but regardless of the reason you’re avoiding a project, letting others help you can solve the problem. Consult with coworkers, and find out their thoughts on your to-do list. You might just find that they have absolutely no problem completing the task you find most loathsome. This gives you an opportunity to accomplish other tasks (ones that you don’t dread working on), which can significantly reduce both your stress and your risk of procrastination.
Every day before you begin the task of the day, make lists. Know what needs to be done and when each item needs to be completed. Set timers or alarms if needed, or keep a planner to schedule out blocks of time. Avoid over-planning, as this can cause you to feel overwhelmed, and be sure to allow yourself time for interruptions or delays throughout the day, as these are largely inevitable. Planning will help to relieve last minute stress and frustration.
4. Keep goals
Set goals for yourself. Whether these goals are daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, or for five years from now, write your goals down, and monitor how and when you accomplish them. This can be a great way to find ways to improve and to avoid procrastination.
5. Reward yourself
Each time an item on the list is accomplish, be sure to reward yourself. A simple pat-on-the-back or the satisfaction of checking an item off your list should suffice. This will encourage you to keep up the good work; and ultimately, it will help things get accomplished.
Procrastination is not a fun game to play, so it’s important to try to prevent it as much as possible. If you see an individual struggling with procrastination, lend a hand and offer advice. Your office’s productivity levels will thank you.