Updated: Dec 9, 2022
Procrastination at work means putting off completing work-related tasks until the last minute or letting deadlines slip by.
According to Joseph Ferrari, a professor at DePaul College, twenty percent of Americans are chronic procrastinators. For college students, the statistics are even worse: 80% to 95% of students constantly put off completing their assignments.
The reasons for procrastination can be many, including feeling overwhelmed with the task at hand, boredom with the work, fear of failure, or simply not wanting to do the work.
After all, the instant gratification we get from easier tasks or from gossiping, surfing social media or watching TikTok videos is much more enjoyable!
Procrastination can have a negative impact on your career, as it can lead to missed deadlines, poor work, and lower productivity.
How can you prevent procrastination?
Here are five tips:
1. Make a list of things that need to get done.
When you have a lot to do, it can be daunting to figure out where to start. That's why it's important to sit down and make a list of things that need to get done (a simple to-do list or Google calendar works best).
This will help you prioritize and create a plan. A to-do list with priorities and your own deadlines before the actual deadline can help. Every time you check off a task on your list, be happy that you have accomplished something!
2. Set smaller goals
If you have a huge project in front of you and feel overwhelmed, break it down into smaller goals. This will make it more manageable and less daunting.
For example, if you are working on your company's strategic marketing plan for the upcoming fiscal year, it would be best if you could break it down into smaller parts. Plus, this way you can celebrate each accomplishment!
Also, do not wait until you are "kind of" motivated or in the mood to complete the task. Just start anywhere and you'll be amazed at the progress you have made in just a few minutes.
Just a side note: You can also delegate some of the tasks to your colleagues in your team.
3. Take breaks
When you feel overwhelmed or like you are stuck in a rut, it can be helpful to take a break.
Pull back from your work and take a few minutes to clear your head.
You can also use this time to think about new ideas or approaches to the task at hand. However, do not spend too much time talking to your colleagues at the water fountain so that the break does not become another excuse for you to procrastinate!
If you complete your tasks or projects on time, you can enjoy your day off at the beach without guilt or worry.
4. Find an accountability partner.
Whether it's a mentor, a colleague, a supervisor, or even a friend or family member, finding someone to hold you accountable can be a big help. Someone checking in with you and making sure you stay on track can make all the difference.
Further Reading: Why You Need a Mentor and How to Find One
5. Eliminate distractions
To prevent procrastination at work, you need to eliminate anything that could distract you from completing your tasks.
This means turning off your phone, putting away all personal items, and closing all tabs on your computer that have nothing to do with work. If you are having a hard time concentrating, try working in a quiet place or listening to soothing music.
So what can you do to overcome procrastination at work?
The first step is to admit to yourself that you have a problem and that it can hurt your career.
Once you are aware of the tendency to put things off, it will be easier to do something about it.
In short, break your work into smaller tasks, set deadlines and reward yourself for completing tasks on time, create a regular routine, and find someone to hold you accountable.
Putting these strategies into practice may take some effort at first, but over time they will help you be more productive and successful at work.
Is there any strategies you follow to prevent yourself from procrastination?
Write in the comments down below for others to learn.