We started a series on procrastination last week and how you might address it within yourself and your business. Last time, we covered topics like how procrastination shows up in everyday work, so now we are continuing the conversation by helping you identify how you can address it.
Procrastination Varies By Individual
There are countless ways that people will put off important tasks, and there are plenty of ways that people can address their poor habits as a result. Here are some of the more common ways procrastination manifests and how even a small change can make a big impact on the habit.
1) “It Has to Be Just… Right…”
Sometimes people have the tendency to make things just right, and they focus on the small details rather than the bigger picture. This type of procrastinating is called perfectionism, and it can be detrimental to productivity.
Perfectionism can often be the reason people will get stuck in a process, or even avoid starting it in the first place. It’s a sinister little thought process, and by limiting results to the perfect outcome, you stymie productivity altogether. Perfectionism could therefore be twisted into procrastination, as it is postponing a task indefinitely until the perfect process is developed, which we all know is going to be impossible.
One way you can get out of this perfectionist mindset is to eliminate any unnecessary tasks that aren’t helping you achieve the desired outcome. Basically, you have to know your desired outcome, then work your way toward that outcome with minimal distraction.
2) “I Love This Plan…But, Can I Make It Better?”
You might find yourself thinking through a process, only to then have a stroke of brilliance that causes you to pause, refine, and polish it. Of course, the process is never going to be helpful if you don’t take action, which is where the next form of procrastination comes into play.
Much like perfectionism, the urge to endlessly tweak and optimize your processes can provide an excuse to never actually start using them. Doing something without doing it the best way possible causes people to put off finishing a task or even start in the first place.
If you want to cut down on this procrastination, then the best way to do it is to use the SMART goals method, which is an acronym that stands for smart, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. If you build goals with this framework in mind, you’ll be more likely to focus on refinement after the process rather than in the middle of it.
3) “EVERYTHING is a Priority.”
How do you determine the importance of a task or project? If everything is important, then nothing is important, which is a bit of wisdom that many business professionals need to hear and remember from time to time. This kind of mindset can actually be seen as procrastination, as it means that work is being postponed because of an inability to prioritize tasks effectively.
The inability to effectively prioritize tasks is therefore a shortcoming that you will want to address in your business before everyone is involved in workplace theater. To change the way you look at your tasks and priorities, consider which ones will produce the most good for your business and which ones are most effective for your goals and objectives. Remember that tasks that are both important and urgent trump the others.
4) “I Work Best Under Pressure.”
Some people put off important tasks to the last minute, placing a lot of pressure on themselves in an effort to get things done right before the deadline. This places unnecessary pressure and stress on an organization and the individual performing the task, and it can even be seen as a form of procrastination.
This kind of procrastination ultimately undoes its own justification, as it leaves no time after the fact to review and improve upon your work product. You can fight back against this impulse by breaking down your task into smaller pieces, then working on completing them one by one until the task is complete. No one does their best work while stressed and pressured, so remember that spreading out productivity in this way will be more effective than one mistaken-ridden sprint to the finish.
5) “This Seems Too Hard.”
The final form of procrastination is this risk-averse form where people avoid the task outright to avoid the criticism and judgment that might come from doing the task poorly or incorrectly. They simply lack the confidence to do the task well, which means they don’t want to do the task at all. They will instead do anything else they can think of, pushing the hard task away at every turn.
As a result, this form of procrastination is a massive time sink and energy drain if not addressed appropriately. You can overcome this method of procrastination by making the tasks more manageable and approachable. You can, therefore, make smaller goals that will help to build confidence and overcome the initial fear of how difficult the task might be at first glance.
How Will You Overcome Your Procrastination?
Next week, we’ll discuss ways you can deal with short-term procrastination strategies. If you want some help with managing procrastination from a technological perspective, we can help with that in the meantime! Just call us today at PHONENUMBER.