Procrastination in Business

Hourglass and calendar

Procrastination is a horrible trait to have in life and especially in business.  Putting off tasks that should be done today until tomorrow may be detrimental to your company.  Finishing tasks on time is essential in business, especially since we do not always know what tomorrow will bring.  Getting off task could mean losing a business account or missing the opportunity to shine in the business world.  Procrastination usually occurs when tasks are difficult, boring, ambiguous, unstructured, or frustrating.  Here are some tips to keep procrastination out of the workplace.

Prioritize – Set up a list of tasks to be completed, in order of importance, and try your best to finish these tasks prior to lunchtime.  If your most productive times are in the morning, consider moving important tasks to the top of your list.  Ensure that the list that you create has a beginning and an endpoint and that it is achievable in one day.  Be reasonable with what you expect from yourself in an honest day’s work.

Baby steps – When you are very unmotivated to complete tasks, set a small goal to accomplish.  Set a limit of 20 minutes to complete a small task, so once you achieve it you will feel productive.  Productivity is catchy and can lend way to even more tasks being completed in your day.  If the goals that you set are too lofty, you will always feel defeated and that will hinder your productivity.

Positive – Think about positive actions and consider the reward you will receive for completing tasks.  It may just be the reward of satisfaction or it may be a large paycheck at the end of your hard work.  Either way, use rewards as incentive to work harder and work smarter and to instill urgency that doesn’t lend to procrastination.  Having a positive outlook is the best way to run a business and stay productive.

Shut out distractions – If you are easily distracted by people, sounds, or events, consider moving to an isolated room without the regular distractions.  If you work from home, you may need to leave and go to a coffee shop so you can focus and leave things like the dishes and laundry for distractions on another day.

Schedule procrastination breaks – If you set up a schedule and stick to it, reward yourself with a procrastination break.  Assign yourself a list of tasks to complete and then give yourself a break where you get to do whatever you want.  This could be online shopping, video games, or just a relaxing walk for your break.

Be responsible – Leaders must set examples in their daily work.  Performing tasks and working with your staff is a way to show true dedication.  Do your part and put in the time and others that work for you will respect you for it.   Offer feedback, but do not micromanage your employees.  Incentivize those who work above and beyond.  Always keep an open door policy, so your staff will find you approachable.