August 29, 2016

Tips to avoid procrastination

What is procrastination?, you say while you postpone your tasks... It is usually confused with laziness, but it has nothing to do with it. So, what do we really mean by the term procrastination? The fact of making the decision to delay a task that you have committed to without no valid reason.

It is a decision that is usually made very quickly, almost automatically, as one more habit, which is why we tend to do it without realizing it. It is delaying work to, generally, do something more pleasant or that makes us feel more comfortable. It is what is recommended to you by that imp who leans on your shoulder and encourages you to avoid certain chores that we do not usually feel like at all. Procrastination is a fairly typical behavior in people, we've all done it. If you sit down to work on something and soon you're standing up drinking a coffee, reread your emails ten times but don't work on them, or start several things at once but don't finish're not alone!

Why do we procrastinate? Depending on the case, it may depend on ourselves or on the tasks we avoid. It is important to understand what reasons we have and which one is the most weighty in order to find the best solution and overcome procrastination.

1. The most common reason is that we find certain tasks heavy, boring, or simply we are demotivated to the point of being continually moving away from them.

2. Another cause is disorganization. Whether it is one person or a team, if we are organized we always work better, since we will always have different tasks with different priorities on our lists. Although even being organized, we can feel overwhelmed by certain tasks.

3. It can also happen to us when we don't have the necessary resources or skills to carry out these jobs.

4. Related to the previous one, a main cause is also usually that of depending -understanding it as needing- of another person to make decisions. If we don't know how to decide what to do for ourselves, we will continually postpone decisions about what is beyond us.

5. Or perhaps it is perfectionism, if we never believe we are ready to perform certain tasks or wait for an ideal moment that may never appear.

No one is immune to the tendency to procrastinate, but it is not avoidable. From the HRider team we suggest these simple steps to identify and combat procrastination:

  • Prioritize
    Write down a list of tasks you need to do and the goals you are working on. Depending on your circumstances, it can be a daily, weekly, monthly list or even have several, one list for more long-term goals and another more immediate.
    This way, you will always know where to start and you will not be able to base yourself on what you feel like doing, but on what is most urgent and important.
    It is essential that you be realistic in the times you set yourself, it is much better that you do not rush with a date and that you finish the task.
  • Crumble up the tasks
    Each task is made up of many others. If it's a big task and you don't know where to start, breaking it down into chunks can make it less overwhelming. In the event that it is a simpler job, seeing it divided will give you the feeling that it is even easier and will motivate you to finish it soon.
  • Identify the consequences
    Whether or not you finish your pending activities, it will have consequences. Think about the negative effects on you and your team if you don't finish them. The time you have invested and the time you have not been able to dedicate to other things, take their toll on your motivation.
  • Create your own rewards
    They can be things as normal as rewarding yourself with a coffee and some cookies when you finish everything on time or you can go to the bar for a drink or make a tower of pancakes when you get home from the office, all to reward good work!
  • Know your tasks
    Sometimes we postpone activities because we think that they are not really necessary or simply because they do not depend on us. The first thing an organization should do is clearly communicate to your employees what their roles are or what is expected of them. Sometimes we forget the most basic things in people management!
    Many companies use methods such as Performance Evaluation or Feedback 360 with the sole objective of establishing channels in which to communicate to each employee where they should direct their efforts helping them to focus on what really matters and avoid wasting time on unproductive tasks.
  • Focus on your strengths and you will be invincible
    We could easily solve some procrastination problems knowing what are the difficulties of each employee, their best and worst abilities and their problems when solving certain tasks. It is not just about doing what we are good at, but helping everyone get to know each other and know how to rely on our strengths to overcome others that we have to address.

Remember that great feeling of successfully finishing something we thought we'd never achieve... (and the cake we'll eat to celebrate!)