Do you always apologize for delayed work? Do you feel guilty that you missed the deadline again, for the umpteenth time? And if you did finish the work, it was at the last minute after scrambling with time?
Well, let’s cut to the chase. You are a serial procrastinator who pushes the production of any work forward to the next day, next week, next month, next year and eventually to never, instead of pulling it forward. For that reason, procrastination is the opposite of productivity.
Many people are procrastinators, and they do not even know it. Sometimes procrastination can be good. For example, I sometimes have to push forward writing an article because I just don’t have the right word or phrase to start the piece. But once I get the inspiration, I embark on writing and occasionally, I have to type it while on my toes.
Do you really need to procrastinate?
If you can’t push forward looking good before going out for a date, you shouldn’t hold back writing that proposal that you have been sitting on for the past three months. Today is the time!
To make sense of procrastination, its effects and how to deal with it, I caught up with Ken Munyua, a business support and training manager at Talent Recruit Limited in Nairobi, Kenya.
According to Mr. Munyua, who is also a psychologist, “Procrastination is the inability to undertake urgent duties with the haste they deserve.” He adds that it could be as a result of a habit — “choosing not to take things seriously and execute them promptly, which later turns into bad behavior.”
“Procrastination is both a behavioral and a psychological issue. It starts as a habit and turns to uncontrollable aspects.”
Apart from degenerating into bad behavior, extensive inactive procrastination can also contribute to lowering one’s self-esteem. How, you ask?
Munyua notes that the inability to perform necessary tasks always leads one to be in problem be it in school, at home or in business. “The constant reminder and backlash from the seniors make one feel as if they are victimized or segregated from the others.”
What’s more, this can cause you to loathe yourself for not being able to meet individual or collective goals on time.
No one wants to feel less of a person for always being late in doing something, and when one does, they may feel unwanted or unloved, leading to a downward trend of one’s self-esteem.
Many women in business are caught up in the procrastination web due to a few reasons. Munyua outlined three major reasons why procrastination is common:
- The wish to be perfect: Some people wait to do work to its best. At the end, they do it in a hurry to the point of not delivering it well.
- Poor planning: Some business women like to plan work in terms of urgency and importance. Thus, there are delays on the important aspects of work.
- Others are easily swayed away by distracters.
How to overcome procrastination
“A habit which grows over time becomes a bad addiction. Do not form it; learn to concentrate on what is your task before any other duty,” advises Munyua. He adds that people should learn to avoid distractions, be they human or technological.
- Avoid delays: Always live to do what is expected now and not tomorrow!
- Draw a plan: It is advisable to set priorities and consider the urgency of the work.
- Write it down on paper: When it is written on paper, work becomes real and demands commitment.
- Set personal deadlines before the stipulated ones. This ensures that you are always ahead.
- Reward yourself: Rewarding yourself for achieved goals, motivates you to work harder to achieve more in future. Rewards can be as trivial as ticking an achieved activity, to a chocolate bar or a holiday in Hawaii. The choice is yours.
- Avoid distractions like social media, and friends who do not share in your vision.
- Endeavour to learn from those who had the same issues and were able to resolve them.
When all is said and done, procrastination can be a symptom of an underlying technical or moral failure. It is important to check and recheck why you need to push work forward.
Could it be due to the fact that the work isn’t working for you? If so, you should plan to change the work or your approach to it.
This article was originally published on Sheleadsafrica.