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Understanding Procrastination, Part 1: Defining Procrastination

Understanding Procrastination, Part 1: Defining Procrastination

Procrastination is one of the banes of any productive employee, and as such, it’s worth examining why procrastination surfaces and what you can do about it. In this series of blogs, we’re going to take a deeper dive into procrastination, with this week focusing on the concept of procrastination and what might cause it.

Explaining Procrastination

In its most general sense, procrastination is unnecessarily putting off a task, even knowing that there might be negative consequences for doing so. It’s something that we have all done, whether we like to admit it or not, but we all know better and still do it anyway.

People might fall victim to procrastination for any number of reasons. In fact, some people actively procrastinate, claiming that they work better under pressure of a looming deadline, and will postpone a task until it is the very last minute. There are other passive forms of procrastination, too, which will be the focus of today’s blog.

The Different Forms of Procrastination

Let’s look at some of the more widespread reasons for procrastinating and what you can do to solve them.

Malicious Perfectionism

Holding out for the best is often seen as a positive trait, but when things really need to get done, this kind of perfectionism can be toxic and hold people back. This is the Nirvana Fallacy, or the idea that the only way you can make completing a task worthwhile is if you can do it perfectly. This need to control every aspect of the thing in order to get it done can be seen all over the place in our culture, and because of it, there is a fear of failure that ultimately holds people back from doing the work they need to do.

This fear becomes the root of procrastination, as people cannot fail if the task hasn’t been completed. If you put off the task, then you’re maintaining control, even if putting the task off is going to make things considerably more difficult in the near future.

Disorganization and Distraction

Procrastination can often stem from a lack of time management. If individuals are incapable of breaking down large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones, then things can go south pretty quickly. Furthermore, if tasks are misunderstood due to a lack of direction, disorganization, or distraction, this can mean tasks are not getting done in a timely manner. Of course, working in a distraction-free environment is practically impossible in today’s office landscape, so this is an issue which requires some creative problem solving to address.

Fear and Overwhelm

Procrastination is also, of course, a result of stress caused by the idea that there are just too many tasks to accomplish in a given window of time or due to a fear of failure. Avoiding these tasks that cause so much anxiety is a safety mechanism, but this of course doesn’t help businesses and employees who need to complete various tasks.

Procrastination is a Result of Systemic Issues in a Business or Workflow

Next week, we’ll discuss how procrastination shows up in different forms depending on the individual, as well as how you can look for it. If you’d like some more information on how we can use technology to make procrastination less likely, we’re happy to help with this, too. To learn more, call us today at 734-927-6666 / 800-GET-XFER.

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XFER Communications, Inc.
31478 Industrial Road Suite 200
Livonia, Michigan 48150