Stop Procrastinating -- But Feel Free To Defer Work When Necessary

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Procrastination is putting things off for another time - shelving things you do not really want to do right now - even when you have the time.

Whenever you procrastinate you are not working efficiently because you are essentially borrowing against your time in the future. The things you put off today will still have to be done later on but you may find you have to deal with tasks you put off for a rainy day when a work crisis pops up when you are sick or want to take time off.

If you procrastinate a lot, you are not managing your time wisely and assuring yourself of at least two things: you are adding to your workload burden with each task you put off and are making it harder on yourself to get done in the future.

Putting Things Off Until Later

Everyone puts one thing or another off until a future time. We do this for a variety of personal reasons, and sometimes we really do need to put things off because something more important needs our attention in the present, or because waiting could actually lead to a better outcome. But if you are a habitual procrastinator - especially about specific tasks, you need to ask yourself why.

If you routinely put things off until later you will probably discover some emotional reason is attached rather than just being lazy about getting work done.

You Are Avoiding Someone In Particular

If you hate talking to a particular client because they chat away and take up too much of your time you may put off returning a call to avoid a 30-minute call you do not have time for that should only take five minutes. Instead of simply not returning the call, call after hours and leave a message or email your response. This may not resolve the issue - at some point, you will still have to talk to the client, but it does buy you more time by putting the return call back in their court if they need more information from you.

It's Not My Job

Many of us put things off because we resent having to do them in the first place - especially if we feel like it is someone else's responsibility.

Delaying a task won't get it done and will only add to your frustration. If it is not your job to do something, give it to the person whose job it is! This may sound simple but we often become control freaks when overworked. Instead of sending the document down to word processing, we type it ourselves. Instead of asking sales to resolve a problem or an assistant to locate information, we go off on a mini research project. To avoid doing things we should be doing, we sometimes let ourselves get sidetracked with other peoples' problems.

If we cannot solve our own problems - women naturally work on solving those of others.

Hating Your Job

If you really hate your job, work on finding another job. If you put things off because you hate your job you may end up on probation, getting demoted, or even let go.

Too Busy

If you are really just too busy to get something done then you are not procrastinating -- something else is going on. You may need help meeting your work goals or better organizational skills -- you may even just need to learn to say "no" to new assignments until you are caught up.

If you have taken on too much at one time tell your boss, ask someone for help, or sit down and see what tasks you can delegate.

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