If advanced degrees were given out for procrastination, would you possess one? According to one article, the answer is probably. Approximately half of Americans procrastinate on a regular basis, with up to 95% saying they do so on occasion. While most of the procrastinating we do may not hurt us, it can prove really detrimental not only to our careers, but also our psyche.
Procrastination feeds on our confidence. The more we procrastinate, over time the less secure we will feel about our capability in completing projects. This isn’t a good thing when most of us want to grow our skills set and expand our career prospects. In the study mentioned above, there are three types of procrastinators: 1. Those who have difficulty getting started; 2. Those who spend too much time on the details of a project; 3. Those who “value today over tomorrow,” meaning they will put off a project when something comes up that sounds more to their liking. Such as going to a party instead of studying for your econ test. Do any of these sound like you? Maybe even a little of each?
So, you’re a procrastinator. You go to work, you have your to do list, but you leave each day not having accomplished nearly the amount that you set out to do. And it’s because you didn’t keep yourself on task. What can you do to change this cycle?
First, know the things that throw you off track. This may be harder than it sounds because it means we have to be really honest about what it is that derails us from our course. There may be an inclination to place the blame on your coworkers. They do not get their end done so you cannot work on yours. They interrupt your flow with questions and requests for assistance. There are a lot of ways that outside forces can interfere with your efficiency but most likely it still your responsibility to somehow work around these.
Once you know what factors are at work in your procrastination dilemma, the next step is eliminating them. Do you constantly check Facebook? Do not open the site during work hours. Do email notifications constantly go off on your phone? Turn those off and limit checking your email once every hour or two and for only five or ten minutes at a time. You might be surprised about how non-urgent most of the emails are. Are coworkers barging into your office regularly? Set up office hours for them to come ask you questions. Again, you’ll be surprised how non-urgent most of these interruptions have been.
It takes being honest, and then a little creative, to come up with solutions in combating procrastination but as you complete projects and watch how efficient (and skilled!) you can be, you’ll see that it was worth the effort! Employers look for individuals who can stay on task and complete assignments within a given deadline. It is a valuable skill that will serve you well, that is guaranteed!
Jessie Williams, Marketing Coordinator
Article: A Formula for Procrastination by Stefanie Olsen