Outcomes

At the end you should be able to:
  • Know when and why you procrastinate.
  • Work towards more effective strategies of managing procrastination.

Procrastination

Procrastination

What makes you put things off for another time? Time robbers/Time wasters
Imposed on us
  • Interruptions
  • Shifting priorities
  • Phone calls
  • Unplanned tasks
  • Poor communication

Self-inflicted

  • Failure to delegate
  • Negative attitude
  • Personal disorganisation
  • Failure to listen
  • Socialising
  • Inability to make wise choices
  • Lack of self-discipline
Causes of Procrastination … continued

  • Avoiding unpleasant tasks – Do you find that you put off unpleasant tasks? Avoiding unpleasant tasks is one of the biggest reasons why people procrastinate.
  • Fear of failure – Do you put a lot of pressure on yourself to do tasks to a high standard? Perfectionism or very high standards can create unrealistic expectations. Statements such as “I must not fail” or “I have to do this perfectly” may paralyse you. Unrealistic expectations lead to the likelihood of disapproval or the fear of failure. Overcome this fear of failure and get things done.
  • Overwhelming task – A common cause of procrastination is facing a gigantic task and feeling overwhelmed. To confront this big task you should adopt the strategy of a good project manager and break these tasks into smaller milestones.
  • Unclear goals – Common causes of procrastination. A lack of goals are the weeds that strangle and uproot motivation. Clear goals are meaningful and desirable to you and are the spark that ignites your motivation and passion. Set clear personal and career goals.
  • Lack of focus – Distractions are everywhere. Minimise it. Switch off your cellphone if you have to. Find a quiet space where you can concentrate on the task at hand.
  • I don’t know how – If you lack the skills to complete certain tasks it is only natural to avoid doing them. Being a slow reader, for example. If you have several articles to read before you can write an assignment, you may postpone the reading because it is difficult. You might not even admit you have poor reading skills. Procrastination seems better than facing your need to improve your reading skills. Identify the problem and seek help. When you know the problem, you can take action to correct it.
To manage procrastination:
  • Begin with one, small task.
  • Answer these questions.
  • Keep the answers before you as you mark your progress.
What do you want to do?
What is the final objective, the end result? It may be obvious, or not.
What are the major steps to get there?Don’t get too detailed: think big.
What have you done so far? Acknowledge that you are already part of the way, even if it is through thinking! The longest journey begins with a first step.
Why do you want to do this?
What is your biggest motivation? Do not concern yourself if your motivation is negative! This is honest and a good beginning. However, if your motivation is negative, re-phrase and re-work it until it is phrased positively.
What other positive results will flow from achieving your goal? Identifying these will help you uncover benefits that you may be avoiding: Dare to dream!
What stands in your way?
What is in your power to change?
What resources outside yourself do you need? Resources are not all physical (e.g. tools and money), they include time, people/professionals/elders, even attitude.
What will happen if you don't progress? It won't hurt to scare yourself a little ...
Possible solutions
  • Don’t invite interruptions.
  • Break things down into small tasks.
  • Set deadlines for yourself.
  • Don’t let perfectionism get in the way.
  • Do the unpleasant part of the task first.
  • Reward yourself when you’ve completed the “unpleasant” task.
Reflection
  • Identify 3 reasons for procrastination and the time robbers that mostly influence you.
  • What will you do to change these factors?