Even the most productive people can hit a horrific snag in their lives —- it’s called procrastination. I am that ‘get it done’ type of person that loves productivity but like everybody else, I occasionally hit this concrete barricade where I can’t make my way through some task or project. And let it be known that I don’t take it at all well.
Before sharing the dark side of procrastination with you though, it can in fact sometimes be a blessing. Has it ever happened that you postponed completing some task and it turned out to be a good thing? Perhaps the situation and factors changed, demanding a different solution. Good thing you didn’t waste your time, right?
There are times that if something doesn’t feel right and you are forcing yourself to move forward, it could be a sign to stop and think things through. Are you really procrastinating, or are you not in alignment with what you actually want?
But procrastination is a very real paradox. In ‘The Procrastination Equation’, author Dr. Piers Steels surveyed more than 24,000 people around the world and discovered that 95 percent of people confess to at least occasional procrastination. About 25 percent of those surveyed are chronic procrastinators; five times the rate in the 1970s.
Procrastination undoubtedly becomes a problem when it reaches a chronic state and the same survey shows that workers now typically spend a quarter of the day procrastinating.
Recognizing when it starts, understanding why you procrastinate and taking steps to move forward are paramount to breaking the cycle.
Procrastination can occur for reasons such as:
- Postponing in favor of doing something that you would rather be doing.
- Waiting for ‘enough’ time to tackle certain tasks.
- Fear of failure.
- Poor organizational, time management or decision making skills.
- Reacting too quickly to urgent tasks that might in fact not be jobs that need to be handled immediately.
- The need to do it ‘perfectly’.
But nobody likes being stuck so here are 7 tips to kick off the cement boots and emerge on the other side of the procrastination barrier. CLICK TO TWEET THESE 7 TIPS!
- Create a list of tasks and projects, along with action items.
- Prioritize each action item so that you have a guide of what is most urgent.
- Schedule action items into your calendar and stick to it. A common trait of procrastination is being late to start and figuring that you don’t have enough time to get it done so why bother?
- Don’t let yourself get distracted by time wasters (lower priority emails and phone calls, office interruptions).
- Getting ready to start the task and then taking that break before you even dig in (the cup of coffee or checking emails, etc.)
- Create a reward for yourself when you complete the task.
- Use peer pressure. Ask someone to check up on you.
So are you an occasional procrastinator or is your constant dilly-dallying a more serious problem? To find out, take Dr. Steel’s survey for a detailed diagnosis of your procrastination profile.
For what it’s worth, the survey reveals that I’m an Average Procrastinator. One of the telltale descriptors was that I “likely get the work done but could probably do it sooner and experience less stress.” Yes, I know!
Now it’s your turn: Take the survey here then come back and tell us — WHAT IS YOUR PROCRASTINATION PROFILE AND WERE YOU SURPRISED AT THE RESULTS?