I think that there is something very human about procrastination! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t occasionally, (or more often than that), give in to procrastination. We come by it honestly and in the course of our lives we have all procrastinated to some degree or other about … doing homework; studying for tests; completing application paperwork for college, passport, loan, bank account; asking someone on a date; breaking up with someone; setting resolutions; developing goals; completing work tasks; doing paperwork; cutting the grass; clearing the snow; painting the kitchen and almost any other task you can think about!
The thing about procrastination in the workplace is that if you let it get away from you, then your personal productivity is eroded until at some point you are just not doing your job. Personal productivity is how you demonstrate your worth to a company, and how you earn your pay cheque! Procrastination becomes a way of life, and that is NOT good!
You can see the signs …
You have to do some cold calling … but maybe Tuesdays are better, you have a couple of meetings out of the office Wednesday and other things to do (any other things) so maybe you’ll start next week. At some point next week never comes.
You have to call a client or contractor with a tough message or bad news. Well maybe later in the day is best but by then “she’s probably gone home by now” so I’ll do it tomorrow. By the time you get around to it they heard from someone else and they don’t want to know you any more!
You have a hot order to fill and you’ll get “right on it … tomorrow”. This is common in the staffing industry and the kiss of death, because by tomorrow all the best candidates will have been scooped by the competition.
You have some not so exciting tasks to complete so you go for a smoke, or walk to the coffee shop … by the time you have done that 3 or 4 times in a workday you have burned an hour of productive work time. How can you do your job effectively if more than 10% of your time is wasted this way.
If you adopt the philosophy that you will put in a FULL day of work, for every day AT work, then you will have a very productive and fulfilling career. If you beat the procrastination bug through sound time management techniques then you can truly be effective in your job … whatever that job is.
So … start NOW! Look critically at what you are doing throughout the workday and if it is not 100% work related and focused on your work objectives then don’t do it! It is a very satisfying feeling to be crossing off those completed tasks on your “to do” list and you can bet that management will notice too!