How to Stop Procrastinating at Work

Procrastination is a common facet of human behavior.  In fact, it is so universal that we wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised to find it evidenced in everyone from a farmer of the mesopotamian era to a corner cubicle of modern times. The basic fact of the matter is:  People have a tendency to get bored and distracted. In the course of your daily grind, you’ve probably experienced some form of monotony and agitation more times than you could easily count. Interestingly enough, this is likely regardless of your profession or income level.

At this point, we have to step back and acknowledge (from both a worker standpoint, as well as from a managerial perspective) that we’re dealing with a near-fundamental trait of human nature. Conversely, this is not to say that we should just throw our hands up, unfettered of any notion of improvement.

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Here, we try to gain a better understanding the ‘why’s’ and ‘how’s’ of procrastination so that we can get a more firm grip on it (and ourselves) for the overall benefit of not only our careers, but the workplace we occupy.

The Two Types of Procrastination

Overload

Becoming overwhelmed is a very common cause for what may appear to the outside observer as simple procrastination. When you are overwhelmed, the mind can tend to shut down a bit. Yet, this isn’t always a bad thing, since ‘shutting down’ serves the purpose of giving your reeling mind time to reassess, reevaluate, and figure out a new (hopefully more viable) approach to the problems being faced.

Boredom

A high percentage of disengaged procrastination very likely results from simple boredom (aside from, perhaps, one would hope: Nascar drivers and airline pilots). However, this is really no great surprise. The typical workday for the average mid-level office worker is a far enough cry from an action movie; but even if it weren’t, human beings have the capacity to turn just about anything into a humdrum habit once it’s been repeated enough.

The Solutions

It all comes down to you. To understand the problem and move to address it, you have to understand your own reasons for doing it. Potentially, the largest single aspect to all of this lies in the observation of your patterns, moods, and behavior; which is absolutely necessary before you can hope to enact any real change in them. After all, that is the entire point. You’re reading this piece in the hopes or interest of understanding how to address your (or admittedly, your employee’s) issues with procrastination. If you fall within the former category, then this piece should speak to you directly. If the latter, then it is not a huge leap to take the material and put together some quick in-office practices that may help.

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Here are a few tips and tricks to remember that can help you minimize excessive procrastination:

  • Acknowledge and identify what’s blocking you; whether it’s fear, financial concerns, tedium, etc.
  • Make yourself accountable, to yourself, first and foremost.
  • Set goals; keep them small and follow through with them, on a daily basis.
  • Actively and intentionally reward yourself for achievements, no matter how small.

Don’t let procrastination hold you back, from either excellence in your career or pursuit of growth in and for yourself.

 

Fred Coon, CEO 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

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