How We Can Beat Procrastination. Seriously.
by Radhia Benalia, PhD, PMP, PMI-RMP, Green Project Manager
We're often haunted by the idea that it is very likely we would have gotten much more done in our lives hadn't we procrastinated repeatedly.
I have suffered from selective procrastination a number of times. It became quite an issue as I have a family, a full-time job, and had-Just Happily finished a Ph. D. using Grounded Theory-, so I decided to analyze my own reasons and habits. What I mean by selective procrastination is that I would work incessantly on some tasks while totally delaying others. Here are the reasons but also solutions I've uncovered by keeping a mini-journal:
1- I procrastinate because my expectations of what I want to get done are always very high, often too high. In other words, I've realized that the reason I often delay working on a task is because I think I'm not going to do as well as I would like.
I definitely lower my expectations and focus on progress rather than perfection or even excellence. My most important indicator became "Did I progress?" , not "How good is this?".
2- I procrastinate when I'm not sure of what I'm doing next.
Solution: What has worked for me was to consult with others on how to approach the task and write a series of steps accordingly that can be totally adapted through progressive elaboration.
By the way, calling it a task doesn't really help. I found that approaching it as a project instead made it more approachable. Don't even think about calling it a chore.
3- I procrastinate when I'm overwhelmed by the size of the work and "forget" I can delegate some parts to someone else.
Solution: I scrutinize to identify all parts that can be delegated and keep what only I can do.
4- I postpone when I have personal or family concerns. I feel overwhelmed and less productive. Notice how I have changed the terminology.
Solution: I approach the "mission" not as an additional burden but as a pressure valve instead and release stress through an accomplishment.
5- I put off work when it feels or looks uncomfortable.
Solution: Organize my work space. I also Invested in a light laptop and I now always use a wireless mouse. Incidentally, with Windows 10, the lock screen is much more engaging, and I often get to turn on my laptop to see some very inspiring images. An extra bonus.
6- I "defer" work when I don't see much significance in what I do.
Solution: I negotiate. I either identify or add a significant part to it so I can internally regulate myself to be motivated, put it in a "whole picture" context, or simply decide not to do it.
7- I delay when I just make assumptions about the work to be done. I think it's going to be too tedious or too hard.
Solution: I try it out for a short period of time, and I often change my mind.
What I 'm trying to say there is that we can beat procrastination together by sharing lessons learned and trying different things out.
Written by Dr. Radhia Benalia on 15 December, 2016 - Edited 15 January, 2019
Reach for her directly on firstname.lastname@example.org