Procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something, even when we know that there will be negative consequences. It comes in many (many) forms: sleeping in, not preparing for an important call, or waiting until the very last minute to complete a project. According to the American Psychological Association, about 20% of adults in the US are chronic procrastinators.
It can happen for a number of reasons, but the general gist: we’re geared to think that we should work when we feel energized, inspired, or motivated to. Rather than building the habit of getting into a flow state (the feeling of immersiveness while we work), we tend to put things off until the very last minute, thinking we have more time to complete a task than we actually do. Here are a few reasons why you could be procrastinating ⤵️
- Not fully understanding what needs to be completed
- Lack of prioritization — working on other tasks rather than the most important one
- Not feeling up to the task
- Thinking a task can be better completed under pressure
Procrastinating can be detrimental to your mental, social, professional, and financial health once you start getting into the habit of it. It can really affect your day-to-day life if not addressed. Here are some ways you can solve it:
- Break up your tasks and work through them step-by-step.
- Utilize time blocks (set them in your calendar) and use a pomodoro timer.
- Minimize your distractions (time limit blockers on your phone/specific apps).
- Co-work with a friend! If you see someone else working, you’ll get inspired to work, too.
Working too much
Popular to contrary belief, “going the extra mile” creates more problems than you actually think. When we overwork ourselves to meet an unrealistic standard that’s been set by others, burnout creeps up faster than we think.
We like to think that the more work we do, the less work we’ll have to do later. In some cases, this is totally correct. But in other cases, definitely not. We fail to recognize that there’s always going to be something to do, whether you finish your other tasks (or not). Here are a few ways you can start setting boundaries between you and work ⤵️
- Don’t work on your phone. It’s easy to get sucked into your phone already, but don’t worry, everything will be completely fine if you’re not tuned into your work.
- Be mindful of the time. Notice that it’s getting a bit late in the day and you haven’t finished your task or project yet? Don’t sweat. You’ll have tomorrow to work on it.
- Take a break, but not just any break. Be mindful of how your body needs rest— how do you recharge?
Being an “independent” worker
There’s no “I” in the word team. When we were children, we were graded on our independence and got praised for it if we worked well alone. In the working world, independence doesn’t necessarily mean much anymore. Rather than focusing on how independent we are, we focus on how well we can collaborate with others and how well we can analyze and think critically about complex situations. We’re not being graded anymore, but we’ve learned that working for praise (even when you’re doing something that doesn’t require it) is the best way to flourish within your career (so, so wrong).
It’s within our innate human personalities to crave social interaction. In fact, if we’re starved of it, it can lead to serious mental and physical complications down the road. With COVID-19, it’s easier than ever to self-manage and work alone because that alone is easier than having a sync call with one of your teammates. But because of this work habit, we’re feeling lonelier than ever before.
Here are some ways you can collaborate with your team without exerting extra effort ⤵️
- Remember that your team is always there to help you succeed, so lean on them whenever you need help. 🤍
- Review and understand your responsibilities within your team and organization to get clarity on your work. You don’t have to do this all alone.