If you can put it off until tomorrow, why do it today? Well, eventually you'll run out of tomorrows.
It's one thing if you keep putting off the grocery shopping until the only thing in your refrigerator is a jar of moldy pickles, but when you procrastinate at work, you cost your company money--something corporate trainer Rory Vaden calls "expensive and visible costs."
So why do we procrastinate? The New York Times interviewed productivity experts and came up with four reasons.
1. We're overwhelmed.
So many of our colleagues have been laid off that there is more work for those who remain--sometimes so much work that it can be paralyzing when the boss wants us to be both creative and efficient at the same time.
2. We worry what others think of us.
Sometimes the job is just too hard. After all, if you never finish that difficult project, you won't be judged. Some people think it's better to be accused of lacking effort or having poor time management skills than lacking ability.
3. We're distracted.
The average employee admits to wasting as much as two hours a day on non-work tasks. Facebook, Twitter and personal e-mail can be very distracting.
4. We have a fear of success.
If you do a job very well, the boss will expect even more of you next time--and you know deep down you might not be able to deliver. The end result? You procrastinate on the immediate task.
So how can you overcome a tendency to procrastinate?
- Focus on progress instead of perfection.
- Set goals for yourself and when you achieve them, give yourself a reward.
- Break up big projects into small steps that take between 30 minutes to two hours.
- If you don't have the self-discipline to turn off Facebook and Twitter at work, install software that will do it for you.
- Identify the specific areas in which you procrastinate and map out steps required to achieve your goal.
--From the Editors at Netscape