The bad habit called procrastination
Do you ever put off doing tasks that you really should do right away? Do you find yourself playing solitaire when you should be writing a report? Or chatting at the water cooler instead of getting down to business on those first quarter results? If you do, you’re not alone.
This bad habit is called procrastination. Say you’re a financial analyst for an insurance company. And you’re supposed to fact- check the organization’s financial results before they’re published in two days’ time. You know that to get it done right, you’ll need to work on it most of today and tomorrow. But you’re a serial procrastinator.
Things don’t get done when they should
So, you convince yourself that it would be better to start tomorrow morning when you’re fresh, and you relax by going for coffee with a coworker. You likely already know that your behavior will have consequences. The results won’t be ready on time and you may find yourself in deep trouble because of it. That’s the most obvious consequence.
When you waste time, things don’t get done when they should. But there are other consequences, too. You’re probably often stressed and anxious, and your colleagues probably get frustrated with you. And the constant delays in your output cause problems for your company, too.
Make a plan and you avoid getting distracted
On the other hand, if you can manage to overcome that bad habit of procrastinating, you’ll find that you’ll reap several rewards from doing so. This week, you’ve been assigned the task of assessing investment opportunities for your organization. And you’ve decided that you’re going to beat procrastination. So you make a plan and you avoid getting distracted.
And for once, you deliver a project on time. That decision to keep your plan shows the first reward of overcoming procrastination. It helps you achieve more. Over the next two weeks, you get your day-to- day tasks done quicker.
The quality of your work improves
And now that you’re not always in a rush at the last minute, the quality of your work improves. This shows the second reward of overcoming procrastination. People who don’t procrastinate do better professionally. Remember when you didn’t check those financial results? Well, that caused a company-wide emergency.
The press didn’t get the results when they were meant to, and stocks fell. But now that you’ve changed your ways, you can avoid crisis in the future. The third reward of overcoming procrastination. Within a few months, your stress levels drop. Before, when you were still a procrastinator, you used to spend weekends worrying about looming deadlines, because you knew you hadn’t done what was necessary to meet them.
Now you can take that time for yourself. That’s the fourth reward. When you overcome procrastination, you have more time for yourself and to relax. Getting more done, doing better in your career, staying out of crisis, and having more time. All those rewards of overcoming procrastination sound good, don’t they? So what are you waiting for?