Almost nobody can escape it. At one moment or another, whether working at the office or in our personal business, we all succumb to the temptation of putting things off until tomorrow, but how can we resist it?
Right before Christmas, while surfing on the Internet looking for gift ideas, I came across an article titled “Technology boosts procrastination.” It started as such: “Are you always buying last minute Christmas gifts?”That was definitely me…
Like a growing number of people, I occasionally “procrastinate.” A study published in 2007 by the American Psychological Association highlighted that—compared to 5% in 1971—26% of Americans report suffering from chronic procrastination. The Internet is largely at fault and, admittedly, easily distracting by giving us the illusion of productivity.
Even if we are always prone to needlessly putting off plans, we are not chronic procrastinators. Nevertheless, in every case, procrastination is a way to avoid facing our responsibilities. We are fooling ourselves with late deadlines and drowning in other pointless activities. How do we escape falling into procrastination? Here is my action plan to escape.
Quiet the little voice in your head saying “I’ll do it tomorrow; I still have time.” Even though temptation is strong, recall this proverb and resist it, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Make a contract with yourself and respect it. If you planned to work, you must have a serious reason to postpone it. Satisfaction from accomplishing a task is worth more than the guilt from from failing your commitment.
Know the different between delegating and unloading unwanted work. There are files only you can do or should resolve. Delegation is not a way out of your responsibilities; it is a management method designed to carry out projects by pooling skills. Giving boring work to others will not achieve this goal. Without taking into account that they will discover your little game, they will no longer want to work with you.
Stay concentrated. If you are working on a file, ensure that your emails (deactivate incoming email alerts) do not distract you. If you have to use the Internet, avoid aimlessly wandering on the web and stay focused on your search. If you work from home, stay far away from the refrigerator and other distractions. At the office, make sure you are not disturbed by closing your door if you must. Having an “open door” policy should not be the perfect alibi to escape work under the pretense that you are listening to your colleagues or employees.
Wanting to produce perfect work on the first try will drag out the work on the file because we cannot settle and this stops us from moving on.
Be confident; do not fear failure, the looks of others, or your work’s final evaluation. Fear of judgment is actually paralysing. Spending more time diagnosing your successes instead of working will waste energy needed for your tasks.
Procrastination is not a sign of power. Some people unconsciously adopt this behaviour to show independence and control over their environment. For example, arriving consistently late to prove their importance or deciding their own schedule.
Meditate on the above, but do not lose track of your work.