What is Procrastination?
To procrastinate is to stop doing something and focus on something else, at least for a moment. Procrastination reflects our continuous struggle with self-control and is said to have direct relationship with our productivity both at home and work. It may either reduce or increase our performance depending on circumstances and time.
Why People Procrastinate
It all begins with making simple choices between working on a particular task and doing something else, which may either be having fun, rest or doing things of less importance.
It also reflects how we prioritize work or order of completing tasks.
In a situation where you give first priority to things that are of “less importance” over important things we would say you are procrastinating.
It is true that as much as some do it knowingly, some find themselves in it without their knowledge. Such people need further training to gain proper skills on planning, organization as well as self-control.
Effects of Procrastination on Productivity
There are effects which can be devastating to our health and work, and cause damages beyond repair while others may be of positive consequences.
Positive Effects of Procrastination
Procrastinating for a long time is bad and has direct effect on productivity, but regular breaks between work makes you more productive.
Working on a project for a long time without rest does not make you productive. Instead, it makes you inefficient in that in between, you may get tired and lose focus on your work.
If you can break that pattern and briefly switch your mind to something else, then come back to work, you are likely to have rejuvenated energy and refreshed your focus.
There is less risk of unnecessary efforts. Suppose you are assigned a task and only to be told later that it is no longer needed or needs different specifications long after you have completed it.
Do you feel good? Of course not.
Your efforts shall have been wasted and you will feel used and less motivated a scenario which could be avoided if you took some time to go through work, understand it and take necessary clarifications.
It helps address the issue of anxiety. If a task makes you anxious or uncomfortable, it is advisable you take some time and think over it. This enables you to get prepared mentally and tackle that work when you are ready.
As you take some time off work, there is a higher probability that new ideas on how to improve work on a pending task can be generated and this might lead to better outcome.
Procrastination may lead to self-realization and actualization. As you take time to relax your brain, you may decide to do something else altogether for yourself which might be beneficial to you. This may make you do what you enjoy and comfortable with and hence live up to your dreams.
Negative Effects of Procrastination
Procrastination causes stress. If you are stressed, you are likely to lose focus and concentration, resulting into less productivity. This may lead to loss of company’s time and revenue.
Chronic procrastination is dangerous as you may find yourself engaged in useless activities that you end up unable to accomplish daily tasks. It also causes acute stress which may result into more serious health conditions such as hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.
It is also a threat to job security. This happens when you are unable to meet set deadlines, causing poor relationship between you and your bosses. As a result you are seen as unproductive and consequently job loss. This may cause desperation and permanent loss of happiness to you and your dependents.
Forms of Procrastination
The most common ones are:
- Perfectionism – Perfectionists tend to delay finishing their work because of the urge to make it perfect to their expected standard. They have fear of rejection and as such try to get into detail and make unrealistic goals which might never exist.
- Fun procrastination – Fun procrastinators prefer being engaged in more fun and exciting activities to stressing themselves in doing more demanding and stressful tasks.
- Anxious procrastination – This is caused by poor work ethics like poor organization and planning. It comes as a result of fear to start or complete given tasks making work to pile up and eventually causing stress and anxiety.
- Plenty of time procrastination – There are people who are reluctant to complete given tasks because they know there is still plenty of time before deadline. This often leads to rush hour effect which can lead to poor quality work.
- Chronic procrastination – Chronic procrastinators make it a habit to postpone things. They tend to focus their energies lazing around and do not think of work at all. This leads to idleness and eventually, may find themselves engaging in harmful activities like gambling and drug abuse.
There are numerous ways on how to deal with procrastination problems. These include:
- Setting yourself realistic goals – It is advisable you set SMART goals that you can easily achieve without too much stress or anxiety.
- Performing duties when you are still energetic – You are advised to do most of your tasks in the morning when you are still fresh with energy and ideas.
- Creating an action plan – This might involve breaking larger tasks into smaller ones and working on them one at a time, starting with simple and more manageable ones.
- Create a “To-Do List” – This will help you plan your work well and start with urgent tasks that might create pressure. Failing to plan brings a lot of confusion and disorganization and this is more likely to reduce your performance at work since a lot of time may be wasted doing good-for-nothing stuff.
Wrapping it Up
Generally, if you are struggling with the issue of how to stop procrastinating, you simply need to identify how severe the problem is.
You might need the services of a professional coach or counselor if you cannot deal with the possible causes of procrastination discussed above.
If you cannot cope up with the problems associated with it, you should avoid procrastinating at all costs.