Fight Procrastination Day (yes, apparently that really is a thing) was on 6 September. It’s an unofficial holiday to encourage us all to get things done without delay, so it’s only fitting we procrastinated for 3 weeks before writing a blog about it!
Whether it’s putting off chores that seem unimportant, avoiding a conversation that we fear will be uncomfortable, or finding any excuse not to do a boring task, we’re all guilty of procrastinating.
It’s not always a disaster, and it doesn’t always lead to a job falling by the wayside. Some of us are last-minute people, we work better under pressure and eventually the things we need to get done do get done.
But procrastination can become a problem if time-wasting activities end up preventing you from planning, productivity and, ultimately, acting earlier.
So, in the spirit of the day, we thought we’d offer some advice to anyone with procrastinating tendencies (this blog writer included!) – we recommend you put it into practice immediately!
Face the facts
They say recognising that you have a problem is the first step to recovery, so we suggest you put your hand up right now and admit: “Yes, I am prone to procrastination.”
Identify what you typically do to avoid getting a job done (it might be endless list writing, Instagram checking or tidying your sock drawer), and make a note of those behaviours so you know when you’re procrastinating.
When you next reach for your phone or to-do list instead of turning to the task at hand, make a commitment to changing that behaviour, even if it’s for 10 minutes at a time. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can break a time-wasting habit with a little bit of discipline.
Write a list
A to-do list is a great way to keep track of the important jobs you want to get done. Just don’t let the list become more important than the tasks on it!
There’s something satisfying about being able to tick off work you have completed, so write down all the jobs you’ve been putting on the backburner and give each one a deadline.
Every time you cross off a task, you will be reminded of your mastery over procrastination!
Make a commitment
It’s much harder to go back on your word when you’ve made a public declaration that you’re going to do something.
When you’re faced with the prospect of a task that you’re not keen to tackle, tell someone what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it (sooner, NOT later).
Recognise the negative impact
Having a job you don’t want to do hanging over you inevitably creates stress and affects your own morale. And in a workplace, it can also damage your professional reputation.
Saying you’re going to get something done and failing to act on it may be overlooked once or twice, but eventually your inability to deliver will be noticed. A good work ethic and dependability are traits that are appreciated throughout the business world, and by continually procrastinating you’re offering neither.
Furthermore, you’re likely to miss out on opportunities if you’re unable to act quickly or are too “busy” wasting time.
There are in the vicinity of a million inspirational quotes about not procrastinating, but we’ll sign off here with just one from author Karen Lamb:
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”