Procrastination. The single biggest killer of a working day.
Procrastination is the art of delaying action on something that needs our immediate attention: 88% of the workforce admit to procrastinating at least one hour a day. Some college students procrastinate for weeks. The result is people don’t reach their full potential.
Why do we procrastinate?
- Too many distractions. Be it the smartphone, emails, small talk, we allow interruptions we know are taking up time we could be using more constructively.
- Inner conflicts. Many of us have jobs that don’t align with our skills and values. We may have priorities pulling us in different ways. The inner conflict results in a lack of motivation which makes it easy to put off what we know needs our attention.
- Lack of productivity skills. If we don’t know how to get work done, how can we expect to achieve results. Organizations and entrepreneurs need to take productivity training seriously.
Procrastination results not only in loss of productivity, it also has a destructive effect on our mental and physical health. Procrastination is about emotions not productivity. Our brains are always looking for relative rewards.
Procrastination may haunt us throughout our lives, but there are techniques that can help us change this wasteful habit:
Write down what you do instead of what you need to do. You will find pointless things like checking social media and playing games, but you will also find that writing down the higher priority things you accomplish reinforces being more productive.
Work when you work best. No one works with the same momentum all day; we are more productive at different times. Pay attention to when you have the most energy. Structure your work accordingly.
Pomodoro Technique. Work in short, high concentration stints of 25 minutes with no distractions, followed by a 5-minute break. Repeat.
Break down bigger tasks. People favor small jobs over big ones. When possible, split big projects into smaller parts.
Avoiding procrastination is easier said than done, but with attention and effort you can minimize the impact procrastination has on your day.
Watch this hilarious and informative TED Talk by Tim Urban “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator”